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After a short but very sweet stopover in Singapore, we hopped aboard our Qantas flight to sunny Sydney ready to kickstart the next chapter of our journey. We hit the runway bright and early greeted by the jolly, jovial banter of Aussie folk. And how good it felt.

I took full advantage of the free bar on the plane, hoping that the red wine would help me sink into a slumber and gently ease by body into yet another timezone. The endless vault of in-flight music and movies put pay to that idea, as did the intermittent turbulence. I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to airplanes so I was pretty happy that we were seated upstairs and, unlike our Sri Lankan airlines flight, were flying long haul on an aircraft that didn’t look like it was going to be displayed as a historical artefact in an aviation museum anytime soon.

There was just one little thing about Australia that had been niggling at the back of my mind, and that was the fact we’d be staying in hostels for the first time. Unless you’re a flashpacker, on a short holiday or get paid an Australian wage, there’s a good chance you’ll be staying in a dorm—because it’s just so damn expensive out here! For someone, like me, who adores their personal space, I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope sharing a room with total strangers. I’ve always had confidence issues – and I guess there’s no better way to tackle them than to be thrown into situations where if you don’t make an effort to be sociable, you’ll just appear plain rude. Which I’m not.

The welcome meeting and $5 fish-and-chips night was the perfect way to get involved with all the action at the Jolly Swagman, and we ended up meeting two girls from Gravesend; a lovely lady called Kelly (or Elly) who’s originally from Maidstone and her partner, Kinder, who’ve come back to take a trip down memory lane and to decide whether to jack it all in and make the move; and a guy called Phil, who used to live about five roads away from me, used drink at the same bars, has mutual friends, and had yet to meet until now. We decided to take the conversation to the pub where it led on till the early hours … can you see where this one’s going?

Today was the day I’d been waiting for for months and months, because I was getting to meet up with the one and only Todd Kelly who I hadn’t seen since he’d left London two years earlier. But before that particular avenue of excitement, it was time to partake in the customary visit to Sydney’s botanical gardens and the Opera House (which was even more impressive than I’d imagined it to be). Paul, Phil and I took our necessary snaps and then headed to the CBD to have a mooch around before our big night out in the city.

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Using his own terminology, I was absolutely ‘stoked’ to see TK. Paul, Phil, Kelly, Kinder and I had an ‘awesome’ time with him and his work mates and Pete – the legend I’d heard so much about but had yet to meet, and who’d been the one to introduce Todd to my London mates. I can’t wait to hit Global Gathering and Ibiza with him and those guys in the summer (job dependent).

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We all bowled into our hostel at 6am, ready for Paul and I to shower, pack and catch our 9am flight to Melbourne to do it all over again with Ashlee and Gareth …

These two guys were the ones who essentially spurred the whole trip when I met them (slightly inebriated) in Ibiza two summers before. How embarrassed was I when they came to meet us at the airport and I was in exactly the same state as I’d left them on the White Isle! The next three days panned out in a similar way: partying and a trip to Melbourne Zoo, and a visit to the top of the city’s tallest building, Eureka Skydeck, to admire its spectacular skyline. Was so great to hook up with them again and I hope to see those possums in London in the not-too-distant future … *hint hint*

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