By Chelsea Swenson | Australia

The lights of Sydney Harbor made my heart beat faster as I knew that an exciting adventure was upon me.  This would be a 3 week excursion spending two weeks in Sydney, Australia and then one week on the North Island of New Zealand. While staying in Sydney with friends, we had the chance to experience the city from the local’s perspective instead of the tourists’ view.  We embraced the charming hole-in-the-wall Thai food restaurant that we couldn’t get enough of and made it a point to try Panang curry everywhere we could.

From the majestic Blue Mountains, to the coastal walkway on Bondi Beach, to the excitement in Sydney while the World Cup played on, everything about Australia was fascinating.  Including their accents, I knew they were speaking English, but it was unlike any English I had heard in awhile.  When I wasn’t in public, I would secretly try to speak as they do, unfortunately it never seemed to be quite right.

Continuing our journey in New Zealand, my husband and I rented a car planned a few choice destinations and let the rest of the trip unfold during the in-betweens.   Once we hopped into the car, adjusted to driving on left side of the road and left the city, everything looked like Lord of the Rings; it now makes sense why they filmed there. There are so many different terrains to experience.  One of our favorite spots was a local swimming hole where two streams connect.  The one stream brings warm water from all the thermal activity in the area and the other is cool.  Where they meet is a perfect natural hot tub.

It’s memories like this that stir me to travel.  There are so many places left to discover and so many new foods to eat.   Who knows maybe our next trip will be to Thailand to continue our saga for the best Panang curry?  Whatever it is, traveling is a love that will always cause my heart to flutter.