When I first arrived in Broadbeach, everything was unfamiliar and difficult. It was a huge contrast from Cairns, where we had spent a week for orientation. Cairns had been easy to navigate as it is set up in a grid formation and everything you need is just a few steps away. Broadbeach was initially much more difficult as the streets are busier and more complicated. It seems that every intersection involves a traffic circle where you are never sure where each car is going. Even getting to campus was difficult as this journey involves a 20-minute bus ride assuming you get on the correct bus. However, after several trips to campus and the surrounding towns and beaches, the public transportation system became second nature. Moreover, simple tasks such as going to the food store or out to dinner allowed me to familiarize myself with the streets of Broadbeach and so the city became much easier to navigate. I found I got lost much less frequently and discovered tons of interesting restaurants and shops. This truly exemplifies Slimbach’s theory as he states, “Space changes utterly when we experience it on foot. We can stop at a place, focus attention on a particular person or object, wonder, and ask questions to discover clues about something we desire to know or understand”. (2010, pg, 182)
For my walk, I choose to walk to one of my favorite gelato shops. On the way there I walked through the busy streets, smelling the delicious food emanating from the surrounding restaurants. I strolled by a few street performers and stopped for a while to listen to the pretty melodies. I passed several families, couples, large groups of gossiping teenage girls and noticed people seem to be much happier here than at home. People are much more friendly and smile much more often. I’m not sure weather it’s the constant sunshine or the different culture; however, it seems to be a much brighter place. On the trip back I decided to walk along the beautiful beach that is just a block from my apartment. Despite the fact that the sun had set, the beach was still surprisingly crowded. People were playing games, throwing balls, or simply watching the waves. I couldn’t help but smile at how much I truly loved my new home.
The travelogue I choose recounted the author’s, Bill Bryson, three trips to Australia. Each trip took him to a different region of the country, which gave me ideas of possible trips I may want to take. For example, during his third trip one of his destinations was the city of Melbourne, which I am planning on visiting when my parents come to visit in February. However, before venturing into Melbourne he stopped at the Mornington Peninsula, located just south of the city. To reach this peninsula one must drive along the Great Ocean Road, which is a scenic costal highway with absolutely beautiful views. This is definitely something I want to add to the itinerary during this trip. However, one of my favorite aspects of this book was the history he provided. For example, he recounts “…in 1967 the Prime Minister, Hard Holt, was strolling along a beach in Victoria when he plunged into the surf and vanished. No trace of the poor man was ever seen again. This seemed doubly astounding to me-first that Australia could just lose a prime minister (I mean, come on) and second that news of this had never reached me”. (2000, pg. 3) This quote truly stuck out to me as it made me realize how little I knew of the history or even current events of Australia. However, after reading this novel I feel I am much more informed on both of these topics. I also found it motivated me to look into Australia’s current events on my own.
The picture below was taken during one of my adventures exploring the surrounding beaches. We had come across this beautiful view where you can see the city of Broadbeach in the distance. From far away it looks much smaller and less intimidating than it did the day I arrived here. However, after being here for a few weeks the city feels how it does from a far, smaller and not so frightening. I look forward to familiarizing myself with the surrounding beaches, towns, and everything the Gold Coast has to offer.
Bryson, Bill. In a Sunburned Country. New York: Broadway, 2000. Print.
Slimbach, Richard. Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub., LLC, 2010. Print.