Ah, the wait. Man...this has got to be the longest period of time in my life! A lot of thought went in to choosing Sydney as my destination. I wanted to be somewhere tropical...somewhere gay-friendly...and somewhere not economically limited. Rachel and I had discussed Mexico, Grand Cayman, the Canary Islands, Malta, and many other destinations. She wasn't too fond of Aus because of it's distance from home. Once I left the U.S., all flights were pretty much the same flight so that didn't bother me; plus I was using miles for my flight.In regards to economic limitations, Grand Cayman is expensive for a lot of things because it's so small and everything has to be imported...let alone Little Cayman. A friend of mine, Justin, went to stay there and they sent a boat out once a week for groceries for everyone on the island...that's a bit too remote for me.
Speaking of economic stability...anytime you make a move this big I'm an avid believer that you should have some sort of "oh-shit" fund in case things don't go well. I had already been saving my desired amount by the time I applied for my visa back in September, and I think it was going pretty well; Especially since I spent $8,000 on surgery back in April to clean up after my massive weight loss (52kg). I had always wanted to tighten everything up, but I'm glad I waited and lost the weight the right way rather than cheating with lap band or bypass. I also wanted to get my varicose veins fixed so that I didn't run into those medical issues anytime soon. I aligned that one so that I'd max out my insurance deductible and take advantage of all of that money I've been spending on insurance.
I did have a bit of a hiccup with a potential partner (you know who you are) who wanted me to come spend some time with him to see if there was anything beyond friendship only to disconnect when I got there. I still don't know what happened there, but this cost me enough that it's worth mentioning. Don't get me wrong, I had a good time on the cruise once I decided nothing was happening there...but I spent way to much time and money on this trip that could have been saved towards the bigger journey.
After my surgery back in April, I had never felt more fit. I decided to try something I've always wanted to do and take upSpringboard Diving. I would have done it in high school while I was on the swim team, but I'm in better shape now than I was then, and it wasn't offered that I can remember. More on this in blog posts and pictures/videos as I progress. Unfortunately though, this along with my night shift that I took for the differential (more money = faster saving) severely limited my diving with Crazy Scuba. This is the shop that took me from Open Water Diver all the way up to Dive Master. If you're looking for a dive shop in the Dallas area, give them a try.
A number of stressful days at work nearly triggered me to go to the airport instead of going home that day. (not really, but almost) I was trying to make the largest positive impact I could on the company I was working for and being turned down or held back from a number of angles. It's just so frustrating when you've been through a situation before, and the powers that be won't listen to input because that's not the way they've done it in the past.
A bit of a positive experience in all this was my flight only costing $30USD. In preparation for this journey, I signed up for the CITI AAdvantage card to earn miles while buying all of the stuff I shouldn't be buying. I had 25kmiles from traveling for Intuit, the card gave me 50k miles for signing up, and I opened a CITI Gold Checking account which gave me another 30k miles, so I was well over 100k miles. Plenty to get me there and back...and back. So now my $1500USD flight was only costing me $30USD, but I was still going to have to pay for 2 bags (bicycle and dive gear). After I booked my flight, I was talking to somebody who's brother lives in Sydney about possibly renting a room. Unfortunately it wasn't going to be available, but I had another outlet; my family has a timeshare system that uses points to rent rather than just assigning one specific place. We'd paid for it but never used it...so now I'm putting it to use. This gives me a place to "land"; to use the term in more than one way.
The last part of cementing May in as the prodigal month was to book my IDC. I had looked at the dive shops in Sydney and ended up choosingAbyss Scuba Divingsince they were the only 5-star PADI Platinum dive center in the area, and I had read quite a few good things about them; plus, their web site doesn't suck.It did take Daryl (friend from FB) going up to the shop to get Carl (the Course Director) to respond...but he wasn't the only one who didn't respond. Out of all of the emails I sent trying to get more information only one shop responded...and it wasn't very personal considering I was going to be spending $4,000USD with them. Carl at least sounded sincere and apologetic in his response..
So with my savings adding up, my flight now set, a place to land, and my class scheduled, I wait.
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