Farewell Australia, Hello World!

Kim Formato, Michelle Riel, Fiona Fahey (Impact Events), Anna Speakman & Carol Mills (Travel Counsellors)

I have finally claimed the world as my permanent residence for the next 12 months.  At first it felt too much of a dream come true but it eventually felt real when I boarded QF11 on 4th of September 2010 bound for Los Angeles.  I had the best seat on the plane, A380 airbus – First Class suite, the “heavenly bed” on air.  And if there was a small PJ available, comfort would have been perfect.

While on board, you definitely can’t go wrong with anything when it comes to food – their star quality menu features eight delectable mini tasting plates each complemented by the finest and award-winning Australian wines. Truly, nothing can beat heavenly food while soaring through the heavens in a heavenly bed.

More than the food, however, Linda, the flight attendant on board, was also very polite and attentive. The attention to detail and service she provided throughout the flight was superb.  Alas, she was surprised that I managed to get through the 8 eight dishes.  From check-in, to the beautifully designed lounge and throughout the 13-hours 40-minutes flight, the service was impeccable.  Overall, it was a very pleasant experience.  Special mention to my best friend, Lisa who convinced me to upgrade my flight using my frequent flyer points, otherwise I would have regretted if I hadn’t done it.

To fulfill this 12-month journey, I gave up a job that is close to my heart and left Australia to follow my lifetime dream – to travel around the world, an adventure and experience that one day I can call my own.  I want to thank my friends and family for being very supportive of my decision.  The farewell lunches, dinners and drinks were endless.  I am glad that I was able to catch up with everyone.

Dining at Nu’s Restaurant

Sydney was my last stop prior to flying to Los Angeles and I am glad to have visited Sydney and dined at Nu’s Restaurant in McMahons Point. The food is flavourful and exceptionally good. Lunch was also enjoyed by a lychee martini as a starter at Mad Cow Restaurant, a fabulous New York style grill with special mention of Robert, the waiter who was very friendly.

I arrived in Los Angeles International Airport on 4 September and drove straight to Anaheim, not to see its most famous icon and premier tourist attraction, the magical and original theme park of Disneyland, but to attend a family reunion of my Aunt’s 80th birthday.  The event was full of surprises and the highlight was to see a family slideshow picture of myself when I was 4 years old and my fathers at his very young age.  Often it is in looking back that we find the hope and drive to look forward.  That was indeed a tear-jerking moment.

We stayed at WorldMark Anaheim by Wyndham, situated a short walk from the entrance to Disneyland.  On my first night, the family enjoyed the primetime view of the Disneyland fireworks from our hotel balcony.

Monday, September 6, was Labour Day, and is one of the most celebrated public holidays in the US.  It marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall.  My cousin Elliot, volunteered to drive my mom and I to the San Francisco/Bay Area to visit my uncle whom I haven’t seen for more than a decade.  Traveling from Anaheim to SF/Bay area took a six-hour drive on Highway 5.  This highway is known to be the lifeline of the California state. It connects to most of the major population centres, including Southern California, the Central Valley, Sacramento, and Northern California.  The scenery was a combination of valleys, vineyards and farmlands. There was a portion of the drive where the smell of the cows’ dung was prominent – and reminded me of the happy cows of California.  It was already dusking when we arrived at my uncle’s place. The night was culminated with a buffet dinner in a local restaurant.  The Buffet was a bit “big” for me and after a long road trip all I was looking forward to was a nice and comfortable bed.

September 7,  was a trip to San Francisco. I have previously visited San Francisco in 1992 and 1996.  We’ve seen it in movies and TV, postcards and magazines. I made a list of places to go but I told myself not to leave San Francisco this time without crossing the Golden Gate Bridge by foot.

Walking along the bridge was a breathtaking experience. The views are great. On the opposite side you will see downtown San Francisco. Visiting the bridge, I would say, is basically one of those requisite things to do as a tourist in San Francisco. I also spent time walking around the Fisherman’s Wharf.

I culminated my adventure in the Bay Area by visiting Santana Row. Located in San Jose, Santana Row is an upscale shopping, dining and entertainment complex.

The design of the ‘mall’ is great;  flowers and palm trees were everywhere and look really nice.  It’s definitely a beautiful place to hang out in, a great place to window shop, grab a bite to eat, sip a cup of coffee and/or just chill and chat. I  spent two hours just doing a combination of these activities with my mom, my two cousins, Elliot and Mark, and my Aunt Ayeth.  What a fun and relaxing family reunion activities!

I will be flying to New York this weekend and will stay there for a month.  I will aim to give you more updates of my travel every Friday via e-Travel Blackboard. This is my personal experience and my intention is to share the highlights of my adventure and to provide useful information to my friends not only within the travel group but including outside the industry.

Thank you for reading.

Comments courtesy of etravelblackboard.com

Posted by Ian Miller 10 Sep 2010 12:49:12 PM
Dear Michelle. Having just retired after over 50 yrs in the travel industry and been so lucky myself in travelling the world, I can just imagine the thrill for you in starting your journey. Take care you look so young travel safely and may your travels be a wonderful experience. Regards Ian
Posted by Claudia 10 Sep 2010 3:45:14 PM
Looking forward to your weekly updates. Enjoy the adventure and all the best on your travels.
Posted by Lisa Minuzzo – American Express Business Travel 10 Sep 2010 7:25:15 PM
Sounds like a fantastic trip so far, and its only the beginning! Cant wait to hear more.
Posted by Sonny 10 Sep 2010 7:38:57 PM
Great blog – so well written and descriptive. I shall wait in anticipation in reading about your adventures. Still waiting for the despedida pics.
Posted by K 10 Sep 2010 8:28:47 PM
Hello Ninang! It was a breeze reading your first entry. I will be waiting for your future posts and stories! It looks like you are having fun, and Im glad you also decided to write about it. Enjoy the world. Til the next stop!
Posted by Moks 10 Sep 2010 11:28:03 PM
I love your article and I look forward to reading your next blog. Have a safe journey.
Posted by Linda Hille 11 Sep 2010 6:53:15 AM
Dear Michelle, Glad to hear you had a great family reunion when you arrived in the States. It was a pleasure to have you and your Mother on QF11 from Sydney to LA. I will continue reading your exploits over the next 12 months. Thanks for the great write up. Travel safely, Linda your flight attendant on QF11
Posted by diane steed-chentrens – seriously successful resumes 11 Sep 2010 10:44:30 AM
Michelle, you are an inspiration! I am so proud of you and happy for you. How wonderful to be in NYC again, enjoy every nano second. cant wait for the next installment. Take care and lots of love I live on the Sunshine Coast now, married my Astrologer Ias you do! and run my own company writing resumes. Say a prayer for me on 9/11 if you are at the site! lots of love and good wishes. Diane
Posted by Regie Tirol – Regie Tirol 11 Sep 2010 11:38:13 AM
GO Girl,,, enjoy
Posted by Celia 11 Sep 2010 4:24:41 PM
I commend you for chasing your dream and turning it into reality. My hats off to you, girl! I enjoy reading your travelogue…keep them coming!
Posted by Jeanette – Travel Counsellors 11 Sep 2010 5:03:02 PM
your trip so far, sounds wonderful. I am looking forward to reading what you have been doing every week. Take care.
Posted by diane steed chentrens 12 Sep 2010 10:03:27 AM
wonderful news Michelle, glad you are living your dream at last. Enjoy every nano second. diane
Posted by Heath 13 Sep 2010 8:47:53 AM
Hey Michelle, Awesome!! Love the piccys and glad youre having so much fun. Cheers Heath
Posted by Claudia Silk 13 Sep 2010 12:34:07 PM
Sounds like you are having a great time! Hope youre Mum is enjoying it as well!! Look forward to reading the next instalment! Take care and we miss you xxx
Posted by Rosemary – Travel Counsellors 13 Sep 2010 2:07:41 PM
Hey Ask Michelle, Classy start to the trip or what? What did you do with your Mum??? Safe travels and look forward to the next installment. Cheers
Posted by Kirstin Laraia – Educational World Travel 13 Sep 2010 5:11:18 PM
WOW Michelle, glad to read your update on your once in a lifetime trip, sounds fantastic thus far. Photos of San Fran are great, lm off to San Fran this time next week. Looking forward to reading more about your travel journeys. All the best Kirstin and Carl
Posted by Ruth Walsh – TC 14 Sep 2010 11:06:44 AM
Wow! Best, Ruth x


© 2012 by Michelle Riel, retains sole copyright to her contributions to all the contents of this site.

admin September 10th, 2010 0 comments North America

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