Ok, so I last blogged in November after a wonderful trip to India:

And then life got BUSY.

So let’s give you a scattershoot about what’s been going on with some cool pictures to make up for lost time, I promise I’ll dive deeper into the coolest parts of the experience soon!

Life in Sydney

I continued to explore the Manly area of Sydney and enjoyed the laid-back vibes.

a street with palm trees and buildings

a stone wall with a hole in it

a beach with a body of water and a cloudy sky

An underrated part of life in Australia is the amount big concert acts that come through here.  I enjoyed seeing Electric Callboy, Devin Townsend, and the Foo Fighters here.

a crowd of people at a concert

a man playing guitar on stage with spotlights

a large crowd of people at a concert

a band on stage with purple lights

And then my family came to visit!

I’ve posted before about how points and miles seem to mean the most when it involves family.  The only thing I really underestimated was how intensely I missed my family back home.  Many of you know this and some of you don’t, but I lost my dad to colon cancer when I was a young bloke so I’ve been really close with my mom and brother ever since.  What better way to solve my Missing Them problem than to use AAdvantage miles to bring them down under in Business Class for free!

What an emotional greeting it was at the airport, I always love seeing families reunited at the airport and I finally got to be in one of the big reunions 🙂

a group of people posing for a picture

I loved showing my family around “my” Sydney.  I’m still learning about the city of course, but I’ve picked up a few highlights that I enjoy taking people to.

First things first, we hopped on the Manly Ferry, which is my main commute into and out of Sydney’s city centre.

a man and woman looking at a building

We went all around Manly and then we did some road trips so they could see some areas outside of Sydney, including seeing wombats and kangaroos in Kangaroo Valley and the Three Sisters at the Blue Mountains.

a small furry animal in the grass

a man and woman looking at a view

My mom knows I’m terrible at home decorating so she brought along a Christmas tree for me to decorate and hang up at my place.

a man holding a christmas tree

And then we went on a cruise with Virgin Voyages

My brother had to fly home earlier than my mom (have to say, the Australian holiday allotment is much better than in America), so my mom and I decided to take advantage of her being able to stay a bit longer and went on the maiden voyage of Virgin Voyages in Australia!

a large cruise ship in front of a building

a cruise ship in the water

We even got to meet Sir Richard Branson!

a man and woman standing together smiling

The cruise was wonderful, the highlight (besides being there with my mom) ended up being spotting the Aurora Australis from my balcony as we turned towards Tasmania!

a view of the northern lights from a cruise ship

And then I had to say goodbye to my mom again as she flew back home.  It was honestly a harder goodbye than it was at DFW last June.

And then some friends came for New Year’s Eve

I sent out a text to some travel buddies and said “hey, I’m thinking of getting a boat for New Year’s Eve fireworks, who’s in?”

Those of you who know my friends shouldn’t be surprised that we ended up with 7 people on a boat in Sydney Harbour for the best fireworks show in the world!

fireworks over a bridge

I also took them touring around to see koalas and other great Aussie wildlife, like this Rainbow Lorikeet.

a bird on a branch

And then I went to the Australian Open

I’m trying to hit all the highlights I can, and I had heard that the Aussie Open was one of the best sporting events in the world, and I completely agree.  It’s well-run, it’s right next to the Melbourne CBD, and they let you bring in nice cameras 🙂

a man playing tennis

And through it all…

I’ve loved getting to know this country more and more.

a man taking a selfie with a kangaroo

a beach with large rocks and water

a group of people walking along a beach

a waterfall on a cliff

a building with a large structure with a large body of water and a body of water with a cloudy sky

a group of people on a beach

a bridge over water with a building and a city in the background

I’m officially back to blogging, and let me say this…

Thanks for the time.  There have been so many wonderful parts to this expat experience alongside some very difficult ones.  I’m looking forward to digging deeply into the aspects of Aussie life I find fascinating and sharing them all with you.  I’m also looking forward to some very unique experiences I have coming up, as well as plenty of travel and great photography as always.

To 2024, the story ain’t over!

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