What better place to start trading off pines for palms than my homeland, Southern California?
I spent a lovely week surrounded by friends and family in Southern California. After an emotionally fraught and painful departure from Seattle, it was just what I needed to put some distance between a place so close to my heart and my new home in Sydney. It was familiar, but I had already said goodbye to it once, so this time around wouldn’t be as difficult.
My wonderful girlfriends flew in from all over the country to see me off, and a good number of my friends still based in SoCal also made an appearance. Not to mention I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my family. I went to the beach, enjoyed the 80-degree weather, went to the Sawdust Festival, and made sure to get plenty of In N Out in my system (since I won’t have the opportunity for more in at least a year!). My sister and I enjoying my last meal in the US before my flight:
I managed to keep the move from sinking in until two days before I left – the morning after my big going-away bash in Laguna. I woke that morning with my heart in my throat, realizing this was really, really it. the last two days went by very quickly, with all the last-minute preparation, paperwork, etc.
Next thing I knew, I was on a plane 36,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean, Sydney-bound. I was lucky to be in Premium Economy on Qantas (I was able to combine what was supposed to be two one-way tickets into one – a long story that shouldn’t be told without a stiff drink), so I got the “royal treatment,” more or less and actually managed to sleep without the aid of narcotics (!) for at least 7 of the 14 hours I was in the air.
As the sun rose over the International Date Line, I couldn’t help but think how my last view of Seattle as I departed looked similar to my first sunrise in the Southern Hemisphere.
Last sunset as I flew out of Seattle:
First sunrise about 2,000 miles out of Australia: