There’s nothing like returning to work after a long holiday to bring you back down to earth with a bump.
After spending a month in Indonesia and one week in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, the holiday is over, the tan is already fading and returning to work has been a shock to the system. I had become accustomed to lounging on beaches in the sunshine with an occasional stroll to the bar – a lifestyle in stark contrast to 6am alarm calls and running around a busy Sydney restaurant five days a week. But, as they say, what goes up must come down, and that is certainly the case for bank balances when on holiday, so back to work it is.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. I have returned to Sydney, an amazing cosmopolitan city that likes to have fun and make the most of its assets. For example, even though it is now winter in Australia, and I am living in a coastal city, there is still so much to do. The current highlight is the Vivid Festival, an annual celebration of light, music and ideas which has become famous for projecting images onto the Sydney Opera House. The lights are switched on at 6pm every night for the duration of the festival and by 5pm the harbourside is lined with photographers (amateur and professional), all eager to get the perfect shot of the illuminated building while others stroll around the lighting sculptures and installations dotted around Circular Quay and The Rocks. And the best part? It’s free. All you have to do is turn up and watch.
That is one of the reasons I have fallen in love with Sydney – it’s almost impossible to be bored here. All year there are events held across the city. Some are free, some have to be paid for, but there is always something going on. In November last year, there was an art festival, called Outpost, held on Cockatoo Island showcasing incredible graffiti art in an industrial setting, complete with an open air bar and views across the city skyline. The New Years Eve fireworks are famous worldwide but there are also fireworks every Saturday night in Darling Harbour – just because it is Saturday. Sculpture by the Sea is an exhibition held annually on a stretch of scenic coastal walkway leading to Bondi Beach every summer and the opening night of the Sydney Festival in January was a huge (free) extravaganza with parties in Hyde Park, live music and dancing in the streets. If you’re craving culture, this is the place to be, particularly with the Sydney Film Festival and a jazz and blues event just around the corner.
All this makes it even harder to comprehend that I will probably be leaving this vibrant city in a few months’ time when my visa expires. Unfortunately, that is the life of a traveller, but I feel privileged to have been able to call Sydney “home” for several months and I would recommend it to anyone. It may not have the historic buildings like Europe or oriental mystique like Asia, but it does have a vivacious, young energy that is hard not to get caught up in. For a long time I dismissed Australia for not appearing interesting enough, but Sydney has definitely surpassed my expectations and just seems to be getting better.