Seeing is Believing – People Watching and Observations

When I heard that I was going to Australia and British Columbia, I didn’t know if I should believe it or not. I didn’t want to get overly excited and jinx myself so I carried on my days prior to the trip as if I wasn’t really going. Deep down, I worried that something would happen and I would not be able to make it. Surprisingly (and not so surprisingly), only 3 days before the flight, I found out that my visa to Australia hadn’t been accepted yet. We applied a while ago and my husband’s came back almost instantly but mine decided to take a painstaking long time. Figuring that it was a smart move that I didn’t announce it to anyone, I planned to just stay back…sad and disappointed.

However, great news came the day before the flight and the visa finally came.  I still didn’t want to let the thought of this trip materialize at least until I was finally in the passenger seat and the plane takes off. So, until then, I held my breath.

When the flight did finally take off, I expelled all the fears and worries I had accumulated in my mind 2 months prior to the flight.

E . X . H . A . L . E . . .

Flying over the Pacific Ocean.

Flying over the Pacific Ocean.

We were on our way to the land “down under” – to a place I only dreamed of and read about. I was overjoyed but still in disbelief. Was I really going?

Welcomed by the beautiful coasts of south Australia

Welcomed by the beautiful coasts of south Australia

After nearly 21 hours in flight alone (plus the 2+ hour stop-over in Vancouver), the shores of Australia finally came into view. It was gorgeous…and well worth the anticipation.

View of Sydney Harbour from the plane.

View of Sydney Harbour from the plane.

Soon enough, the Sydney Harbour came into view. I could even see the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Bridge with boats going about their morning business.

Patience, dear heart, patience.

Trying to take it all in...

Trying to take it all in…

We didn’t want to miss a moment once we landed and found ourselves living according to Sydney and Toronto time zones simultaneously. I’m not sure if it was adrenaline or jetlag to blame but we hadn’t slept for 2 days straight. I was trying to take it all in without a blink of an eye. Every image before me was seeming sharper than the average eyes can see, every colour seemed more vibrant as though it were jumping at me, every new sound seemed so much louder…

I was overstimulated – it was time to slow down.

Cafe in Sydney

Cafe in Sydney

It’s great to have a blast but there comes a time we need to slow down. Running on overdrive doesn’t last too long and we were also running on empty. So busy for the first few days, we realized we hadn’t eaten a proper meal aside from the first one we share with a friend when we first landed. We needed to refuel…and breathe.

Manly Beach winter surfing

Manly Beach winter surfing

Once we gained some perspective, we went to Sydney Harbour for the day and in the late afternoon took a ferry to Manly Beach – a lively surf suburb. By the sands, it was so calming and cool as the winter waves gently washed up the shore. Despite the cold waters however, we saw a handful of faithful surfers in their wet suits riding the low tides.

After a long day out, it still hadn’t quite kicked in that we were on the other side of the planet – far, far away from home. It wasn’t until we visited some friends at a farm one day, when the realization came.  As we left their home late at night, I look up to the skies and what I saw finally let it sunk in. I saw was a completely unfamiliar set of constellations scattered across the dark heavens. There was no Big Dipper or Orion’s Belt in sight. It was then and only then I realized I was in a very different part of the world’s hemisphere. I was in Australia.

The thought was overwhelming…

True guardians of the galaxy...

Watching the real guardians of the galaxy.

True guardians of the galaxy...

True guardians of the galaxy…

However, what moved me most was this elderly couple in Melbourne. The dear woman was standing in front of her husband, holding what seemed to be folded newspapers by his face successfully blocking the mid-afternoon sunlight from his strained eyes.  As she stood there with her cane, she lovingly rubbed his back while the bus arrived. Their unconditional love and kindness at such an old age made them the true “Guardians of the Galaxy” in my eyes. It is love like theirs that makes the world turn. We have so much to learn about true love…

Whirling Dervish graffiti in Auburn.

Whirling Dervish graffiti in Auburn.

And as Mevlana Rumi says,
“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”

‘Til next time,

Sobia

 

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Inspiration from Australia and Beyond

Recently, I went on a whirlwind of a trip to Australia and British Columbia, Canada. With all the sheer beauty surrounding me, I had plenty to photograph.  After editing the photos, I found common themes running through most, so over the course of a few days I’ll post the photos accordingly. Please mind you, I am not a “photographer” and just do this as a hobby so you will definitely find flaws and rules being broken – but that’s all good!

Great Ocean Road.

Great Ocean Road.

I don’t have fancy-shmancy equipment.  Just a simple point-and-shoot. Maybe one day, I’ll reward myself with a cool camera but I don’t feel I have exhausted the features on this little one to abandon it just yet. Until then, this loyal camera stays by my side and has been with me through all my major travels since 2010. It has served me well.

So let’s start here.  The one behind the camera.

Me at The Twelve Apostles, Australia

Me at The Twelve Apostles, Australia

I like to shoot photographs left, right and center.  Whatever inspires me, I shoot.

Snapping "one last shot" at The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park.

“One last shot” at The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park.

I’m not sure how my dear husband puts up with it. But he’s been ever so supportive, alhamdulillah.

There's something about long train tracks and vanishing points that gets me every time, especially if there's a mountain at the end.  Near Whistler, BC.

Near Whistler, BC.

Then there’s awe-inspiring moments when you somewhat lose yourself by the mountains…

Less than 1 minute later, a train comes speeding by the same spot I was sitting...

Speeding train near Whistler, BC.

But a minute later, find this in your tracks. Whoa, that was close! I look back at this moment now and am freaked out even thinking of what could have happened. But when you are surrounded by so much nature and mountains, you just lose your fear of everything. Everything.

Lesson learned.

My camera goes flying out of the truck window and onto the highway on route to Whistler, BC.

Rescued camera near Whistler, BC.

Well, sort of. Soon after that thrilling brush with the train, I somehow let my camera fly out of the vehicle and land in the middle of the highway on our way to Whistler, BC, Canada.  I ran back barefoot to the middle of the road and reclaimed it. Luckily no cars were speeding past. I took this shot walking back to the truck just to make sure it was still working from the terrible impact. I guess this little guy made it, minus the nicks and scratches. Phew. I blame it on the ecstatic nature. Honest.

There’s something about nature that brings out the childlike wonder in me.  I also flew my smartphone off the roof of a car after shooting photos by the Dandenong Ranges in Australia – that too survived.

Well, that’s a little behind-the-scenes of my so-called photography. Tune back for more photo sharing.

Until then,

Keep Smiling!

Sobia