Tuesday, December 20, 2011

International Travel Goals Jan 4th - August 13th, 2011

I shared this list with my friends on Facebook before I left on my globe-trotting internship tour at the beginning of 2011. Considering the feedback I got there, I decided to share a summary of what I achieved, (and will have to go back for the next time around) here on this blog; I hope you enjoy: [x] = objective accomplished [ ] = yet to be accomplished Descriptions and/or pictures accompany the some of the more exciting achievements. Below is my itinerary and trip goals. Let me know what you think and if I should add anything onto the list! I consider everything under main and secondary goals achieveable. Bonus goals are things that have come up unexpctedly and/or have been suggested to me and piqued my interest enough to consider making plans for them.

Trip Dates

4th Jan to April 9th – Australia: Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns April 2nd to April 7th – New Zealand 10th April to 8th June – India 9th June to 2nd July – U.S. 3rd July to 13th August – Hong Kong/Macau/China Lots of weekend trips

Main Objectives

[x] Get to Australia (Jan 4th) First Time Abroad; So Far From Friends [x] Get to India (Apr 9th) [x] Get to Hong Kong (July 3rd) [x] Work for a Private Equity company (Equity Partners) [x] Work for one of the big four (Ernst & Young - April 12th) Last Day At Work in India! [x] Work for a financial consulting firm (FactSet Research Systems)

Secondary Objectives


[x] Scuba-dive SCUBA-mask Close-up

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Worldly Travels: Australia - Brisbane and Cairns

Brisbane Trip:

So I only spent 4 days up near Brisbane, but considering what I was able to do, it seemed much longer (but went by way to fast). All told, I drove a rented Suzuki GSR-600 400 kms (240 miles) at a top speed of 240kmh (145mph), dove 3 times from 14,000 feet above sea level and 5 times down to 90 feet below sea level. Oh, and I accomplished one of my big goals in life: skydive, drive a motorcycle, and scuba dive within 24 hours. Now to do it all within 10 minutes of each other (i.e. drive a motorcycle out of a plane/off a cliff with modified scuba gear, deploy parachute, land in body of water and dive down).

Brisbane Map

The Brisbane trip started when I landed at the Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport (A). I was technically staying at the Gold Coast for the weekend (B), though I was really only there to sleep. I went up on a Thursday for an operational due diligence meeting with a tech start-up. The private equity company I was working for wanted to know more about them before moving forward with more intensive investment discussions and I made a four day weekend out of it. The founders of the company were pretty cool, gave me a lot of tips on where to visit around Brisbane and Carins, and I actually met up with them later that weekend. After the meeting, I went to get the bike and had it for the rest of the weekend.


My first stop was some skydiving out in Mutdapilly Queensland at the Brisbane branch of Sydney Skydivers. I finished my third, fourth and fifth stage jumps and the instructors there were way more fun than down in Sydney; Greg Bennie and Stephen Cowan are legit. They let me screw around on the second and third jumps of the day, doing some flips and barrel rolls, since I was doing well with all of the technical stuff.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Worldly Travels: Australia - Sydney

Sydney, Australia, three times farther from home than I had ever been on the east coast in Boston, and boy did it get off to a rough start. Not only did my bags get lost between LAX and SYD (A on the map below), my phone didn't work internationally so I had no way of telling my uncle who was waiting for over an hour to pick me up that I was dealing with the Quantas baggage claim desk.

Lost Luggage...

On the bright side, once I dealt with Qantas and told them where to send my bags when they arrived, I blew through customs without any baggage to slow me down. On the other side, I was met by my uncle and two Aussie cousins who had waited patiently for me to arrive (I think my uncle had placated them with a box of donuts). They were in the middle of a summer vacation that starts in December and runs into February, so we went straight to the vacation home they were renting in Palm Beach (B) with friends and another one of my uncles and his family. (click on the map below to see it full size)

Sydney Map

We spent a week there fishing, sailing, and generally messing about. After that, I moved down to my uncle's place in St. Ives (C) and started to look for housing of my own. I spent a week searching and eventually happened upon a house in Bondi beach (D) where 26 other backpackers and travelers were effectively shacking up. Some people were living 5 and 6 to a room, but I lucked out and had my own room. Anyways, I lived with the crazy kids below for three months and had an absolute blast. (In this photo: 4 Frogs, 3 Swedes, 3 Germans, 2 Swiss, 1 Irish, 1 Pommy, 1 Canadian, 1 Brazilian, 1 South African, 1 Peruvian, and 1 Yank)


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Worldly Travels: New Zealand

What can I say about New Zealand other than: IT IS FREAKING AWESOME! I only spent 144 hours (6 days) in New Zealand, but I was able to make it around the entire south island and hit quite a few high points. I'll definitely have to go back, several times, to accomplish everything there is to do there, but I think I did alright for the short amount of time that I was there. Let's review.
April 2nd

I arrived in Christchurch on April 2nd without anything pre-booked. I had a rough idea of where I should go, but no idea what I was going to do when I got there. Renting a car was no different. I strolled up to the information counter and asked, "Where can I rent a car for cheap?" After being directed to an ad board with many local services listed and an airport phone, I put my passport, along with several others papers, down on the ledge and proceeded to I call several companies. Finding one that was reasonably priced and could pick me up at the airport, I went outside, got picked up, signed the papers, and proceeded south to Lake Tekapo.

About 20 minutes into my journey, I did a mental self-check, something I do quite often, probably as a minor case of OCD, and couldn't remember where I put my passport. I pulled off to the side of the road, just wanting to be secure that I knew where it was, and started looking through my backpack. After turning my backpack, luggage, and the rest of the car inside out, I called the car office, the airport, drove back and proceeded to freak out for about an hour. After leaving my number with the car agency and the airport (an Australian number, so it was international for them to call me, another important point in my journey), I went back to the car, noticed the GPS case on the seat, not knowing what it was, and brought it back into the car office thinking it must have been left there by the last person. When I went back in, the office lady was on the phone with the airport and told me, "Someone found your passport and turned it in!" I guess I got a little pseudo karma for the trying to turn in the GPS case. Anyways, I rushed over to the airport, picked up my passport, gave many thanks, and finally got on the road to begin my 3 hour journey to Lake Tekepo.
Lake Tekepo

Lake Tekepo is a beautiful place. A lake out in the middle of nowhere, it's one of those places that's so quiet that if you stopped rowing your kayak and glided to a stop, you wouldn't hear a thing. No airplanes, no cars, no wildlife even. Just sitting peacefully in the middle of the lake. I arrived about two hours before sunset at the Lake Tekepo YHA and with no plans, just like with the car, asked, "What is there to do here?" I was able to rent the kayak for those two hours of daylight and afterwards made a trek over to the hot springs where they have three pools ranging in temperature from 38-42 C (100-108 F). It was a fantastic way to end the day and the view of the lake from the pools was gorgeous. (Also of note: the night sky over lake Tekepo is in consideration for World Heritage status because you can see so many more stars without any light pollution for hundreds of miles.)
April 3rd

I went to bed early and woke up early the next morning because I had a lot to get accomplished. I knew I wanted to visit Mt. Cook, 1 hour away, and then move onto Queenstown, another 3 hours away. So at 7:30am, I rolled out of bed and began my journey.