The greatest trip of my life, so far!

Hey everyone!

For post number three I’ve decided to tell you all about my favourite adventure so far.

There are a lot of reasons why my second trip with Topdeck holds the fondest memories. Firstly, it was the first future decision I made after my breakup with Tom. That was a very challenging time for me (and those around me who had to mop up the mess I was at the time!). It was March 2015 and I thought I was heading in one direction, which ironically I still did, but it certainly wasn’t in its original form.

I really wasn’t sure what my path was anymore. All plans I had made were now up in the air. So what does Leigh Leigh do when she’s going through trauma? Book a trip of course! But why did I choose this one?

I’d always had it in my head since starting Flight Centre that I would one day work at Infinity Domestic. I love talking to agents, I love our company, industry, and most of all – I love Australia! At that point I had only done most of Queensland and the coast from Brisbane all the way down to Melbourne.

Midway through my 567th viewing of Priscilla Queen of the Desert I had an epiphany: I needed to climb Kings Canyon.

I have always loved the red dirt. We all know I’m a girly girl but the idea of wearing my big boots and staring out in to the vast outback with the sun on my face was absolutely intoxicating. Australia is amazing. We literally have every landscape imaginable all in one country. I had to see it!

So I did my usual research, compared itineraries and came across the Down South and Outback.

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I had travelled with Topdeck the year before, after my first break up (Hmmm…) and did the Surfari from Brisbane to Sydney. I fell in love with the company; this had a lot to do with my beautiful tour leader Lauren who I’m still good friends with now.

It was an easy decision once I spotted this itinerary. Then the question became: How can I do this trip, get my dream job and start fresh in a new place all in one year?

Just do it. That’s how.

So I contacted my resources: the amazing Kate who I had boozed with recently in Tropical North Queensland, my wonderful bossman at the time, Mark, and my area leader, and essentially begged them to help me make it happen. They sure did deliver. I’ll never be able to thank them enough.

~

Moving swiftly on so this doesn’t end up being the longest post of all time, the count down began and four months later I was sat on a Qantas plane on my way to the outback.

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Alice was everything I hoped it would be and more: hot, dry and wild. After infiltrating the group the night before I was due to join them, the adventure began. First, we headed out to the most spectacularly spiritual place I have ever been.

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I shared bubbles and canapes with some of the best ladies I have ever met: Lea 2, Anita and Lisa. This is one of the billion reasons I love travel. You find soul sisters all over the place!

We did the full 10km base walk. The first of many hikes on this trip.

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I miss being this fitness level. Anyway….!

Next was my version of heaven. King Canyon.

I got to live my dream.

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Honestly, look at that. How can anybody not find this country beautiful?

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The outback is a wondrous place. I felt instantly at home. The locals were brash and funny, the hotels were basic and cosy, the sights were breathtaking.

I truly hope that every single person gets to experience what it’s like to truly be in the middle of nowhere. I feel like I found myself out there. I was alone with a bunch of other alone people and never felt lonely for a second. We bonded over our mutual love for Australia and the funny scenarios we found ourselves in.

My personal favourite was the time, right before the end of the tour, when Lisa, Anita, Emily and I walked in to a little tavern in Princetown on the Great Ocean Road for dinner. A group of long haired yahoos sat hovering around the fire and all looked our way as we sat down.

Oiled up after a few wines we invited them to play pool with us and a bunch of jokes about what they must do for a living ensued. Lisa insisted they must be tradies; most likely carpenters. They agreed we had guessed it and we felt rather proud.

It wasn’t until I sent Anita back in to grab one of their numbers (what are we, 12?) until we found out the one whose hair I had just finished plaiting happened to be the one and only Craig Anderson. Pro Surfer.

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Good job Leigh. Well done.

~

There were honestly so many highlights to this trip it would take me hours to write about it, but there’s one place in particular that really captured my heart. The Great Ocean Road.

 

From start to finish this segment of our trip took my breath away. My relief to hit the water again after ten days of bush outweighed the heavy shivering I would be doing for the next few days.

Yes English family. It gets really cold here! We were dealing with 8 degree days and strong arctic winds which is very fresh for a West Aussie like myself.

I think the scenery speaks for itself:

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In my humble opinion, it topped the Amalfi coast. Just.

So this, my loves, is my plea to you. Please see Australia. At some point in your life, designate a few weeks and instead of that annual Bali or Thailand trip, drive the coast from Brisbane to Sydney. Spend four nights in Ayres. Detour from that shopping trip in Melbourne and drive the Great Ocean Road.

Australia is not as expensive as you think it is. This tour costs about $2000 for two weeks, and my flights were $600. We had lots of meals and almost all activities included. I literally only spent money on snow globes and food (the usual).

Our country is the best in the world. I’m from overseas so I can say that without the mandatory Southern Cross tattoo.

I get excited every single day in my current job. It doesn’t matter how many I have put together that day, I still get excited every time an agent asks for Tropical North Queensland, Ayres rock or Great Ocean. I feel myself transport right back there. I literally relive my trips and share that passion with people who want to know all day. How lucky is that?

Moral of the story: Book a trip, find yourself, live your passion, see Australia.

~

Love you all

Harleigh Q

xo

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