Keeping active abroad

Upon telling everyone I was going to the USA, the one comment I heard more than anything else was ‘you’re going to gain a lot of weight’. They even said it with extra emphasis when I told them I would be in the South. Rather than using these presumptions as an excuse to eat to my hearts contention, I am already on my way to becoming a changed women… For the better of course! Everyone who knew me before I came over knows I was ‘allergic to exercise’ to say the least.

I am in such a strong place of mind here. Since day 1 of starting classes I have been going to the gym every day with my suite mate, who is as much as an amazing person as an amazing motivator. Without her I may not even know where the gyms located, which would be a tremendous shame as Georgia College has done a truly incredible job with the gyms layout and facilities (my jaw dropped). I even went for a 5km run yesterday with a friend to an area in Milledgeville called the ‘Green way’ (the name suits the location perfectly). The friend also just so happened to be a personal trainer, and let’s just say the word ‘please’ had no effect on him. For a girl who does not sweat easily, I was REALLY sweating.

Even before I got to college and was traveling around the West Coast I was always on the move. Hiking the Grand Canyon was not a walk in the park, that’s for sure. Even walking the pier, up Lombard Street and hopelessly around San Francisco in general is a big deal for me! (I am even considering buying pre-workout ‘stuff’… who am I!?)

Changing countries does not mean you let yourself go, it is a chance to become someone even better. Someone you always knew you could be.

San Francisco, where do I even begin…

Here I did a lot of getting lost and a lot of getting found.
Google maps your killing me, I can not work out if you want me to go left or right!

By this stage in my travels I had been blindly following a tour guide and moving with my friends as a group, not paying attention to how, when or where I get from point A to point B. San Francisco was a whole new story.

For anyone who has not been to San Francisco, it is ridiculously expensive. Good cheap accommodation is almost impossible to find. I booked a place called The ‘Adelaide hostel’, and my first impression was how the heck am I meant to get my luggage up those stairs… It was a struggle, but I pulled through. But to be honest that is probably my only complaint, who doesn’t like complimentary breakfast and a place with a bit of character.

Before I forget, MY PLANE GOT DELAYED AGAIN! I had one hour sleep in Vegas before I had to leave for the airport, only to be stuck in the airport for an extra 5 hours. I was dying for a snooze on the plane, but of course that’s when you sit next to someone who wants to have a conversation with no pauses.

Back to San Fran,

My first morning in San Francisco consisted of a bike tour around the most stunning areas, and was enlightened about the strong hippy history that circulated the area. Shout out to the company I did this through, ‘SOSF’ your great. (Streets of San Francisco Bike Tour). The neighbourhoods I visited were Hayes Valley, Civic Center, Mission, Lower Haight, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury, Nopa, Alamo Square. https://sosfbiketours.com/tours/heart-of-the-city/

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I have decided that I am never booking anything in the morning ever again, trying to find where my tours started was a struggle and a half. I was so excited when I finally found the bus I needed to take only to find out that I needed to get on the one on the other side of the road…
I am actually pleasantly surprised about how I handed myself in these situations. I just took a deep breath and kept on trying, and finally I would succeed. If you know me, you would know that I have little patience at the best of time so this is a big deal!

I believe I got a little bit better at finding my way around on my second day… or just at paying people to walk me to the right bus (only happened once!). But either way I made it to Alcatraz on time, and I will own that. I am so surprised at how much I enjoyed visiting Alcatraz, I literally could have stayed there for another 2 hours if it wasn’t for getting hungry. Who would have thought you could get such an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge from a prison? certainly not me, but low and behold it does.
Dinner was had at Pier 39 at ‘Bubba Gump Shrimp’ and I was so ecstatic to be reunited with my long lost Contiki pals! I loved pier 39, and would definitely recommend a visit there.

Well that’s me for now 🙂

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I cannot believe I have officially been in the USA for over 2 weeks, if this is how quick it is going to go I’ll be home before I know it.

I wish I could have given daily updates about what I have been experiencing but I literally have not stopped, not to mention the reception I receive through my phone provider over here T-Mobile is shocking (apparently Horizon is the one to go for).

There is so much I could write about but I will try to summaries my time so far as well as possible by listing 3 things about each place I have.

ME TRYING TO SUMMARIZE

LA – Explored downtown LA, I think it’s nicer than it is given credit for
– I made a friend just by walking across the road. The friendship led to me getting treated to the best tacos I have ever eaten, all a friendship needs right?
– Visited Venice Beach with a friend I met at the hostel ‘Stay on Main’ and received free spray tans!

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San Diego – First day traveling with Contiki (I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with)
– Watched my first game of baseball; Arizona vs. Miami (officially a San Diego supporter due to buying a hat…)
– Visited the San Diego Zoo, and oh my gosh it was exercise and a half. If your going to go wear runners, and also visit the panda first if you don’t appreciate 30minutes waits.
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Arizona – You know when you open up a hot oven, that is what Arizona felt like.
– Dealt with the heat in the best way possible by having a pool party
– Went to Sedona to do Jeep tour riding in the Wild West! (highly recommend visiting Sedona)

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Grand Canyon – Finally had a vegetable here and my body loved me for it! Never been so happy to see broccoli

– Went for a hike down, and more importantly back up the canyon. Vegetables and exercise, grand Canyon was looking good.

– Witness the most beautiful sight I have seen to date; the sun rising over the Grand Canyon. You cannot visit the Grand Canyon without doing this, trust me.

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Los Vegas – Loved the shopping here, and didn’t my wallet know it. Fell in love with the store ‘Banana Republic’ – found it similar to Witchery.
– I went to a club with an amazing roof top Terrance called Omnia. The price of drinks and even water ($11) gives you an indication of how nice this club was, worth a visit just to see the view from the top.
– My last night of Contiki will always be remembered. Who wouldn’t remember a limo ride in Vegas right?

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I think San Francisco deserves it’s own blog. It would be impossible for me to only write 3 things about my visit here. Let me know if you are planning to visit one of these places and want more information on it.

START COLLEGE TOMORROW!!!!

Flight day

The day I have been waiting for finally arrived today ‘flight day’. I’m not sure if I am the only one, but I had the whole ideal mapped out in my head.

1. Have my toast with vegemite for breakfast

2. Put on my carefully selected clothes

3. Arrive at the Canberra airport for a 7:35am departure to Brisbane “

4. Visit the TRS so I could claim my tax back for my tablet

5. Depart Brisbane and head to LA

But if only it was that easy,,, The only things that went right were the first 2 steps. (p.s. I did thoroughly enjoy the vegemite sandwich) At midnight I awoke to a text message from Virgin alerting me that I would no longer be flying to Brisbane but in fact Sydney and that I had to arrive at the airport 30mins earlier then intended… Okay that’s fine. It’s when I got to the airport that things got a little unhinged. One word ‘DELAYED’. Normally a delay wouldn’t bother me, but due to the delay I was told that LA would have to be put off till another day, as I would miss my adjoining flight.

Here I need to apologies, as recently when watching the news concerning flights being cancelled in and out of Bali due to the ash cloud, I was found saying “I would prefer the cancellation than risking anything whilst it is such bad conditions! Horray for safety measures”. I wanted to get on the plane. And now here is where I thank Virgin Australia. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU for finding a plane for me to board! (Back story: The plane was delayed due to the fog being so bad in Canberra overnight that no planes were able to flying into the airport… Besides one. One very special one which I was offered to board. MY SAVIOUR) Sure it was a rat race from one plane to the next, meaning no TRS for Jess L and only a split second for a toilet break (it was that intense!), but it has all been worth it, for as I write I am on the plane to the USA!

I also must admit that the plane has exceeded my expectations, for I am currently spread across 3 seats quite comfortably, enjoying a vodka and orange juice (big deal as I am not going to be legal in 10 hours!) , and surprisingly also the lunch meal; a mushroom tortellini I would happily eat again.

Next stop LA!

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Why not throw in a Contiki?

Gosh,

my first post was only 2 second ago and here I go again already!
I just thought I might give a little insight to my plans prior exchange. CONTIKI. It has not even begun yet but I feel as though I have already meet so many amazing and interesting people, I thank Contiki for the way they put us all in contact with each other. It is only an 8 day contiki starting on the 26th of July (SO SOON!), but I think it will give me the welcome I need into America, as well as a little confidence before I head to San Francisco where I intend to do a little solo exploring.

I will make sure that I give you all updates along the way, but here’s my itinerary so to give you a little idea 🙂
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Meet Jessica S

Hi all!
So just a little about me…
I am a 3rd year business marketing student who up until now has been happily studying away at Charles Sturt University, however this semester there is going to be a little change, as I will heading to the U S of A!
As of the 11th of August I will have the honour to complete student exchange at Georgia College and State University, and I am currently in a world of excitement.

This blog will be dedicated to my journey and be governed by the fact that I allowed a long time dream to become a reality,1656117_760130243999061_697712718_n

Je ne sais parle vous francais???????

G’day peeps,

Lots to say, here we go.

The French side of Canada is VERY French. This is not just something they advertise to the world, so if your headed this way learn how to pronounce that title and then just start speaking English… That’s what I did anyway. As you might have guessed we ventured to Quebec, Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Tadoussac, Piedmont, St Felicine and many more. Some of those are probably spelt wrong. All fantastic places.

We had a great time over there. We explored the capital of Canada in Ottawa which boarders the Province of Quebec. I competed in an international Karate tournament which was great and I managed to get 2nd place in 2 divisions for Australia. =)

Shortly after exploring the east coast of Canada we were west again but in the United States of America! We have done all the cool things in Las Angels including exploring Hollywood, Venice, Santa Monica, Disney Land, Lagoona Beach, Universal Studios and spent lots of time with some family that we have this side of the world. We have also been to Las Vegas and kinda the Grand Canyon. I say kinda… I’ll explain a little further down.

I also have a little news for those of you thinking about exchange. If your not completely sold reading through these blogs then if your still around start of session 2 at Bathurst campus, you can ask the global office for when some previous exchangers including myself will be giving a presentation about our own experiences and you’ll also have the chance to ask us any questions you want as well.

Check out some pics from our adventures below =)

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So I forgot to mention that we went to Niagra Falls. I don’t know how, it was so amazing. If you get the opportunity to see this and you have the choice, definitely see them from the Canadian side, not the New York side. The view is way better from Canada. And also go on the boat not the helicopter. Its no fun if you don’t get really wet =P

We also got to visit a really cool wild life park as you can see. All very open and well trained staff helping to protect and grow different species of animals and stuff.

That random photo of me with a bunch of fog is the best view we had of our only chance to see the Grand Canyon =( Could not see a thing and it was poring with rain in the middle of the desert people!!! Like the only day in its entire history it decides to do that. Anywho we’ll try to get back in 10 years and see it lol.

Anyway guys we have about 3 weeks until we return. I will do one more post at the end of our trip and then remember I will do a presentation at Bathurst CSU for perspective exchangers. You can comment on this post if you like or contact me via email. Please ask CSU Global staff for it, I don’t want to post it up in case I get heaps of junk from somebody with nothing better to do =/

Thanks for reading guys.

Grant.