This is our last blog from Australia, so several of us wanted to write our thoughts about our amazing adventures so far. We still have a full day planned for tomorrow…but probably the next blog to appear here will be after we’re all back home. Meanwhile…
Video courtesy of Tourism Australia
I never thought that I would have to say this so soon, the trip has gone by WAY TOO FAST! But it was an amazing journey that all 15 of us got to participate in!!!!
Today we went on a search for the last Tasmanian tiger. We drove up to the summit of Mt. Wellington. We all were pirates this afternoon as we learned how to sail a real old-fashioned ship. It seems just yesterday that we were snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, yet it seems so long ago that we all first met in the airport. We really are one big family!! And I’m glad we have another day to enjoy!!!
A while back I wrote a poem about Australia. This is it:
Down under is the place for me. I don’t ever want to come back up!
Our trip is nearing its end. I’ve gone through a life full of exiting adventures in just this small amount of time. I am sad to have to go home, but I will still treasure this time that I have had on this amazing expedition.
A while back I wrote an essay out of boredom, and that simple essay became my ticket Down Under! We’ve been here for 12 days and now it’s nearing its end. I heard a poem in my town newspaper about Australia that I really liked, and it went like this. “Don’t worry about the world ending today, it’s already tomorrow in Australia!” HAHA! Yes but I’m oh so sad… See you all soon back in… America. WAAAAA!
“Give me a home among the gum trees, with lots of plum trees…”
This has been the best trip of my entire life! I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I will remember this for the rest of my life!
Wow! I can’t believe the trip is almost over! This has really been a life-changing experience. I am so sad we have to leave. Everyone here has been like a family to me. For example, Ben is like the little brother I never had, and Abbie has been like a big sister to me. I really hope all the friends I have made here will be friends for life.
I will not only miss Australia and all the things I did there, I will also miss the people I have met. From Tracy and all the other guides and representatives, to all the kids, parents, teachers, and staff. Hopefully some of us will cross paths again.
I can’t believe this trip is almost over! I’ve had so much fun with everybody from Nat Geo! It’s like having a whole bunch of new brothers and sisters. It’s exciting that we still have one more day to be together in Tasmania!!!
This has been the most amazing experience of my life, and I have seen and learned things that I will treasure forever! I have made memories and friends to last a lifetime and everything has been absolutely perfect! I know going home will be hard, but I know that I will relive the whole trip through my journal, my pictures and the blogs!
I will miss all of the kids here; we have had so much fun together! Maybe we can start planning a reunion!
I just want to say thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me, especially my mom! Love you! G’day to my grandma and Alyssa too!
WALZING MATILDA, WALZING MATILDA!…
This is the last you will hear from me in Oz. Anywho, today we traveled to Mt. Wellington where we were on a search for the (long extinct) Tasmanian Tiger. It was WICKED fun! I am used to the flat land of Florida, but not mountains! I hiked until my legs felt like spaghetti!! When we arrived at the top of the mountain, I saw REAL SNOW!!! For the first time! I made a small snowman with a huge icicle hat, ate snow, and had snowball fights! When we left the mountain, we went to a river and learned how to sail a square-rigger called “The Windeward Bound!” We worked our fingers to the bone controlling the sails but it was very educational. To wrap it up, this whole trip has been an extraordinary experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. So, if you happen to hear on the news about a father and daughter on the run in the Land Down Under (great song by the way) refusing to return to the US, that would be my father and me.
P.S. I would like to say hello to all my family and thank them for supporting me on this amazing journey! (ESPECIALLY my mom!) I would also like to thank all of the staff for Nat Geo for holding this contest, and giving us this opportunity! And for putting all their effort forward to make this trip possible! (And my language arts teacher Mrs. Foster, who helped me edit my essay! So thank you! You are one of the best teachers that I have ever had!)
P.P.S. And I would like to thank my animals also because they have supported me as well by helping me pick the clothes that I brought my trip including: my dog Sweetie, my cat Tiger, my kitten Jerry, and my duck Aflac!
Well, looks like I’m here to wrap things up again! I know that many others have expressed their gratitude toward National Geographic, however there are not enough words to do it in this small amount of space! I think I’ll start with meeting with the Taroona Primary kids yesterday. We were each paired up with “buddies”. Mine was a nice girl named Celeste. The two of us actually made it into the Australian newspaper “Mercury”! (Woo-hoo, I’m famous here, too!) The picture as well as the article turned out great- for once my eyes were open and my smile wasn’t cheesy!! That will definitely make its way into my scrapbook once I’m at home. While we were at the school, we each brought tokens for the kids–I brought Girl Scout cookies and little American flags! The kids loved them–and all of us big kids enjoyed being a kid again on their awesome playground. I would have to say, however, that my favorite part would have to be the singing. We have learned so many new songs, such as “Walzing Matilda”, “Home among the Gum Trees”, etc. (With which we entertained our other fellow travelers in the airport, earning us $16 towards the Tassie Devil Fund.) Today we traveled to Mt. Wellington–can you imagine snow in July?–and hiked a little way’s up. It was so steep, however it felt great in the end. We even got to see an example of Tasmanian hospitality when, upon reaching a rest site, people BBQing offered us free hashbrowns–”just off the Barbie!” Our few orienteering skills came in handy when we were asked to specify the degrees of certain locations. Then, we used some skills to sail a boat across a river. (Johnny Depp makes it looks so easy in the movies!)
To my family and friends: Thanks so much for all the encouragement, especially to my principal Michael Gauthier, my church family, and my very patient little brother Richie. I would also like to thank my father and mother for the skills they have taught me. And a special dedication to Danielle and her family for all the support you have given me and how proud you make me feel; you are the kind of friends I will always enjoy having around.
I would just like to extend special thanks to our photographer Annie who has joined us on this amazing adventure. She has taught us so much about photography for so many different situations. I feel that I have grown not only as a person, but as a photographer, and hope to pursue both writing and photography in the near future, using Annie as a great example.
Lastly, some advice to all of the readers: This adventure began as a simple essay. You may be the next explorers for National Geographic Society. I encourage you all to do your best and never give up hope just because the task at hand seems hard at first, just get through it. I never believed that I could actually win this contest; never in my wildest dreams have I imagined my summer vacation spent in Australia! So go out and explore your world–nothing’s stopping you! And always give 110%.