Australia: Sydney

When we got to Sydney, Karen and I were trying to decide what other city it reminded us of. Then both areed, that it simply belongs to itself. There is no other city like it. 

We took a tour of the Opera House. The history of the building is really interesting. Like the fact that it was almost never made. The designer was a Danish architect named Jorn Utzon. He had originally just drawn some rough sketches onto a page, and it was thrown into the reject pile until they later happened to pull it back out as an option. From there, it took years to figure out how to build. But what an amazing icon.  

In Sydney, we also went whale watching. If you've never been, it's a little like a group of people at a movie theater if there were no seats and if no one knew which wall they were going to play the movie on. There is a lot of standing and looking and waiting. And then everyone gets all happy at once when you get to see this:


or this: 


In order to pass the waiting time, the tour guide/captain of the boat is sharing lots of  information about these incredible creatures. One thing remarkable that I remember, is that the females choose their mates by picking males that are either strongest or smartest. And one of the ways she determines how smart he is, is by singing a song to him that is unique only to her. Then he has to sing it back to her. I mean, how much do we love that. 


Karen and I both felt compelled to take a picture of the boy who works on a whale boat, whose name was Jonas. Because obviously.


And that's it for now. Tomorrow, Bondi Beach. :) 

Big huge thanks to Toursim AustraliaAir Newzealand, and Go Mighty for making this trip and these amazing memories possible. If you want to read about the goals I checked off my life list while I was there, click HERE

Australia: Hamilton Island 2

I love parasailing because it lets me pretend that I'm adventurous. The truth is that my idea of exploring nature is to bring a glass of wine to my back porch. And people who have gone parasailing know my secret: that it's actually the most non-scary, gentle lift off and landing. You get to feel like you're flying without jumping out of anything or remembering to pull a cord. All you have to do is sit there, and that is what I specialize in. So whenever I'm on vacation in a tropical type place, I try to do it. Because I am super adventurous like that. 

Unrelated: nothing like a photo of yourself to reveal your holy-way-too-light-highlights-batman. 


These were all taken with my little waterproof Olympus Tough. But Hailey was so adventurous that she actually brought her real camera. In case you were wondering, tampons are the official way to make sure your waterproof case is working. 


A few images from a meal we had at Romeo's Italian restaurant. Dinner with photographers is fun.  


Beautiful Hailey


The people who worked there kept telling us about the incredible sunrises. So one morning I decided to take advantage of my jet lag and get up early to see it. I might have been a little too ambitious about it. Note to yourself when you do this: do not wake up at 3:30am. There will not be a big crowd you have to fight for a good picture. There will only be this. 


And this. 


And this.  


And then your driver will ask you three times if you're really sure you want to do this. And you will say, yes of course, because you are adventurous. And then he will leave you alone in the cold, darkness of the wild Australian outback. And you will hear something rustling in the bushes and it will remind you that everything in Australia wants to murder you. Which will force you to non-skype call your husband for six thousand dollars a minute: 

"Honey, I'm all alone in the outback. It's cold and dark and I hear animals." 

"... Wait, what?" 

"Tell the kids I love them. And thanks for being such a good husband over all these years. Don't ever get remarried. Okay, you can, but just wait at least a year." 

"What?! Where are you and why are you alone?" 

"I came to watch the sunrise, because I am adventurous. But it's a little too early (by maybe an hour or more), and no one is here and now I'm probably going to die on this picnic table." 

"Wait... you're on a picnic table? What else is around you?" 

"Well, besides all the deadly animals and poisonous snakes and spiders and baby-devouring dingos, there is one gazebo."

"oh my god, so you're sitting at a picnic site next to the resort? Maile, you are fine."

And you know what? Eventually I was fine. And you will be too, because you are a fighter and a trail blazer and you never give up on things.

And also next time you will set your alarm for two hours later.  


And after the sun comes up,  you might become so excited that you get completely lost walking back. But you won't care because for the rest of the day, you will feel like the sun for at least those 12 (or-so) hours, kinda belongs to you.


As you might imagine, there are a million places to see a fantastic sunrise or sunset on Hamilton island. These were taken at One Tree Hill.  

Big huge thanks to Toursim AustraliaAir Newzealand, and Go Mighty for making this trip and these amazing memories possible. If you want to read about the goals I checked off my life list while I was there, click HERE

Australia: Hamilton Island


I got back from Australia just about two weeks ago, and already it feels like a lifetime away. I've had trouble when thinking about how to write about this trip. Partly because it's been so long since I've blogged consistently. The few things I have written about are just promos or pretty pictures. And I hate the idea that I'm perpetuating some kind of myth that my life is only full of shiny smiles and vacations. For the record, it's not. Just today, (and really, on any average day), I've run the gamut of emotions reading other people's blog posts or status updates and thought, "wow, she has it so easy", or "why didn't I get invited?", or "I wish I had it all together, like her". I'm not sure we're (I'm) made to process so much information. And I hate the way the internet can make us feel sometimes.  

On the other hand, it's not every day that someone calls you out of the blue, and offers you the job of photographing a dream vacation. So I don't want to come across like I'm whining or ungrateful. I am. In fact, I'm still a little dumb-struck and unsure that this whole thing even happened. Every day there was unbelievable, in the best way.


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1st Goal Completed!

I've been in Australia for a week, today. Karen and I are having the best time ticking items off our life lists. I posted about my first goal (Hugging a Koala) here, if you care to read about it.


Will post more as I can throughout the week. You can also see everyone's adventures on twitter or instagram by following #goaustralia and #gomighty.