My name is Philip Kirkbride. I’m a college graduate from Ontario studying at AU. I’ve always wanted to do an exchange program or study abroad but never found the right time to do so. This is the story of how Athabasca University has allowed me to create my own study abroad program. In the last issue Matt ended up buying a beat up station-wagon in Sydney, Australia.
By the time we packed everything into Matt’s new station-wagon both of us were sweating profusely. It was 9:45am and already the temperature was 32C. The combination of Sydney traffic, driving on the left side of the road, and scorching temperatures made for a stressful escape. But despite the mood, passing over the Sydney-Harbour-Bridge always feels like a picture perfect moment.
If you look closely you can sometimes see workers painting the bridge with its brown colour. Painting the bridge is a full-time job, once the bridge is completely painted it’s time to start on the other side again. From the bridge you get a perfect view of the Sydney Opera House. I snapped a few quick shots of the Opera House and its surroundings of sparkling blue water.
On our way out of Sydney toward Young we stopped at BCF (Boating Camping Fishing), the go to place for camping equipment in Australia. We each purchased a massive four-man tent. By the time we got back in the car the temperature had risen to 39C. I wasn’t complaining, though; winter was just starting back in Canada. It was odd to think of that while we were listening to an on air personality announce that Bondi Beach was packed.
We had the kind of energy that many Canadians get approaching the first long weekend of the summer. That moment when you realize you no longer have to worry about shoveling the driveway, pre-heating your car, and the April days when you wake up to find the ground completely covered in snow.
The drive from Sydney to Young was just over four hours. The land we drove over was mostly fields of grass, trees, and the occasional farm. Despite being the cherry capital of Australia, Young is a blip on the map. The city’s population is normally around 7000, but thousands of travellers like ourselves visit Young every season to work, taste, and buy cherries.
By the time we made it to town the sun had started to go down. Matt, having been to the city before, knew of a free campsite. We pulled up to a large empty lot with a few fireplaces and tents set up. It had been a long day and, despite not having bought blankets or a sleeping bag yet, I was happy to get some sleep.