2013 was an unusually lucky year for me. My winning streak included: free tickets to a concert in Denver, an awesome tote bag from Sweetgreen, and best of all, a three-week trip to Australia sponsored by DoubleTree by Hilton, now just days away from reality.
Just after Christmas, a care package from DoubleTree arrived on the doorstep. Among the goodies, a brand new GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition. And yes, I get to keep it. Needless to say, I am unbelievably excited to head out in less than a week and share my adventures along the way. And get this, Kristen is coming with me!
The stars aligned for five other DTourists, and already I've witnessed three fellow travelers take their turns. Jenn Winter toured Europe, Virginia Stuart-Taylor traversed North America, and Jenny Lowthrop ventured across Africa. Soon it'll be my turn. (Look out for MJ Tam in Asia and Megan Donoghue in South America.)
Here's a quick rundown. Kristen and I will kick off our 20-day trip in the big city of Sydney. Next, we'll go to Brisbane, where I'll be treated to a private surf lesson. Further north, we'll go to Cairns for a first-hand look at the Great Barrier Reef. Our fourth stop will be Alice Springs, epicenter of the Outback. Finally, we'll head to Darwin for more tropical and beachy stuff. It's gonna be epic.
Now that I've read Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" and watched a few DVDs about Australia, I'm nervous and excited all at the same time. The continent sounds incredibly diverse and beautiful, as well as pretty dangerous. According to Bryson, "five of Australia's creatures — the funnel web spider, box jellyfish, blue-ringed octopus, paralysis tick, and stonefish — are the most lethal of their type in the world." Good thing I like extreme things; I gladly accept the challenge. And if a deadly creature does get the best of me, at least it'll all be captured on camera.
Full disclosure: I'm traveling to Australia as a DTourist on behalf of DoubleTree by Hilton, but don't worry, they don't own me. All of the content is mine, and I promise I'll be sharing my honest opinions.