Doing The Things That Scare Me in Queensland, Australia

I was a bit nervous about coming to Australia. Not because of any of the wild creatures it holds, but because that’s the furthest distance I’ve ever travelled.

You see, even though I love love love to travel and it’s my job and I do it a lot, I’m actually kind of scared of flying.

There, I said it.

It makes no sense; flying is such a normal thing and it really shouldn’t phase me, but I dread hopping on a plane. That’s why coming to Australia was such a big deal for me – I would have to take 4 consecutive flights if I chose to come, and it would involve two whole days of travel. I wasn’t sure I could do it.

 

When Queensland first invited Sam and me to come and experience the region, my first reaction was to suggest Sam go by himself.

“Oh, you know, I’ll just stay here in Europe and visit some of my friends…”

Lahhh-deee-daaah…

And he looked at me like, “What? Are you out of your mind?”

He talked some sense into me and I agreed to go, and that’s how last week I found myself flying from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi, to Singapore, to Brisbane, to Townsville.

There may have been a mild breakdown on the plane, but I made it. I took the longest journey of my life and I arrived bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, with a giant smile plastered on my face. I faced my fear and came to Australia.

Little did I know, that facing my fears would become an ongoing theme for the rest of my time in Queensland.

As it turns out, our itinerary held more than one activity that made me question how much bravery I had in me, but then I decided I would stop saying ‘no’ and instead try to handle these new experiences to the best of my ability.

Here’s a look at some of the things the past week held in store:

 

Holding a python around my neck

While I was staying on Magnetic Island, I got to experience a Bush Tucker Breakfast at the Bungalow Bay Koala Village. Bush tucker, or bushfood is the name given to food native to Australia which was consumed by the Australian Aborigines, and this morning’s breakfast came with the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Australia’s most beloved creatures.

There were White Cockatoos, sleepy koalas, and…snakes?!

While eating my breakfast of lamb loins, mackerel, and toad in a hole, I noticed that the ranger was making her way around with a long slithering creature in hand. And then she came towards me.

“It’s a python so it’s non-venemous.”

Did I want to hold a snake?

I took a deep breath. When in Australia…

“Ummm, okay, I think I can do it…. Or maybe I’ll just touch it first…. Aghhh, okay, no, that feels weird. Now I don’t know if I can do it…

I pointed to a stranger, “He can go first.”

He gladly took the snake, but then it was my turn again.

“I’ve been around a lot of pythons. I keep one at home, and this is the gentlest creature I have ever encountered,” the ranger reassured me. “Look,” she said as the put the snake’s head in her mouth, “it’s super gentle.”

I stared at her in mild horror, but I let her put the snake over one shoulder, and then the other, and then I was holding a snake around my neck.

“Smile for the camera!” Sam said, but all I could do was muster up the face you see in this picture.

Click.

Yup, that day I held a python! I doubt I would have done this anywhere else, but there’s something about Australia that mustered up my inner Crocodile Dundee.

 

Riding the Ocean Jet, a.k.a the Roller Coaster on the Sea

While I was down in the Gold Coast I got to experience the infamous Ocean Jet. Sam was thrilled when he saw this on the itinerary; I, however, was more than a little hesitant.

The Ocean Jet is a dream come true for adrenaline junkies. Picture a jet boat with 880 horsepower which can reach speeds of up to 90 kilometers an hour out on the water. The thing is built to race! Oh yeah, and their brochure says this is “not for wimps!” What was I getting myself in to? This is the girl who went to Disney World when she was 12 and was too chicken to go on most of the roller coasters.

Down at the marina we met our boat driver who talked us through the basics before we hopped into the jet boat. We climbed into sleek racing seats, strapped ourselves in, pumped up the music, and set out to the choppy Pacific for some action!

Oh my gosh, does that jet boat live up to it’s name! As we picked up speed, the boat started to bounce on the water and my stomach dropped every time we got some air. I felt like I was on a roller coaster. And then we started with the zig-zagging, the sharp turns, and the boat spins that flailed my legs from side to side while my body flew back against the seat. I was so nervous that all I could do was laugh as I stared over at Sam wide-eyed and with my mouth agape. It was terrifying, but a little fun, I have to admit!

In the end I lasted about 20 minutes out on the water… I had eaten a Mexican burrito for breakfast, which was totally a bad move on my part. (Don’t worry guys, I managed to hold it in!)

While I can’t say I’d want to do this again – leave me on solid ground please! – I am glad I went out there and tried it.

If you’re looking for speed on the Gold Coast, it doesn’t get any faster than this.

 

Catching some waves in the Pacific Ocean

The original plan was to take a surf board out on the water here in Broadbeach, but as it turns out I’m not a strong enough swimmer to quite tackle the Australian waves.

What can I say? You’re looking at a Canadian girl who spent her childhood in the Argentinean Sierras. I mastered the art of climbing trees, hopping on a horse bareback, and building traps in the forest. Water? That’s not something I was quite so familiar with, unless we’re talking about the stuff coming out of the tap.

While I have since spent quite a bit of time on beaches, this has usually involved the still turquoise waters of the Caribbean, or the baby waves you get on a windy day in the Mediterranean Sea.

For me, going out into the Pacific was scary. Especially when the waves were swirling up dark clouds of sand, and pounding the shoreline with barreling walls of white foam.

I knew my instructor had made right choice when he showed up with a boogie board instead of a surf board. Baby steps.

I took the board and held it over my head, and worked my way out into the water trying to hop over incoming waves while others crashed into me. I was totally out of my comfort zone but I went out into the surf.

Then, when I saw a wave that didn’t look too intimidating, I took it and I rode it all the way to the shoreline. Probably not very impressive to any of the surfers out there, but for me it was a pretty big deal.

I caught a few more waves on the boogie board after that, and even got completely pounded by another that came out of nowhere. I swallowed my fair share of salt water and got some sand burns in the process, but I also faced my fear of water; that to me meant more than learning to surf.

After our afternoon boogie boarding I turned to my instructor and asked, “Are the waters normally this rough here in the Gold Coast?”

He looked at me and answered, “Nah, this is considered a pretty calm day.”

Oh, Australia. You’re so badass!

Next week I bid this country farewell, but I’m leaving a little braver than I arrived.

Have you ever forced yourself to face your fears on a trip?

45 Comments

  • Amanda says:

    Haha, well, Australia is certainly the place to go if you want to face your fears, considering just about everything in that country is trying to kill you! 😉

    Love the shot of you holding the snake!
    Amanda recently posted..In My Backpack: Packing for Southeast AsiaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Haha, thankfully I didn’t encounter any of the deadlier creatures. The non-venomous python was enough for me. 😉

  • It would have been CRAZY to miss out on this opportunity!
    And your 1st instagram pic shows it well!! 😉
    Zara @ Backpack ME recently posted..WILLIAMSBURG Flea Market: where hipsters rejoice!My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I know! I am so SO glad I came out to Australia. I haven’t even left yet and I’m already scheming as to how I can come back and explore more of this massive country! 🙂

  • Renuka says:

    That python shot is amazing! I wonder how did you manage that…!!! It’s okay to dread flying actually…that shows you care to chase your dreams despite the fears. Great going!
    Renuka recently posted..Travel Blogs I Loved In AprilMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Haha, yeah, I still can’t believe I held a python! It was one of those “when in Australia…” experiences. 😉

  • Flying terrifies me too and each time I get on a plane I count it as a win. I’ve been on over 50 now and it doesn’t get easier. I’ve travelled from Sydney to London multiple times and hated every minute of the flights but there is such an amazing reward at the end. The only flights I really find unbearable is the ones home because I know the adventure is over.
    Jen Seligmann recently posted..Fun Fact Friday #13My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only traveller and blogger who doesn’t like flying. I try to distract myself by watching movie after movie after movie!

  • Well done on facing your fears and making it to Aussie! You’ll have to jump the ditch to New Zealand next time 🙂 I don’t mind flying once I’m in the air but I’m secretly a little bit petrified of takeoff and landing. Another big fear that I face almost every time I travel is that of big spiders, bugs and SNAKES! I’m lucky to have grown up in NZ where we don’t have any scary animals, but it means I don’t really know what to do other than freak out when I come near them. Once in India I found a giant spider in my room and I was convinced it was going to eat me while I slept! haha!

    • Audrey says:

      I know, I really need to make it over to New Zealand! You guys have some of the best hikes in the world. When I finally do visit, it will have to be a very lengthy trip. 😉

      And I know what you mean about take-offs and landings. My mantra is, “Please let it be smooth! Please let it be smooth!”

  • Hayley says:

    I love that you said Australia is badass haha! That seems to be the impression a lot of people have – I’ve noticed this so much since being an expat in Vancouver. We could be called so much worse 🙂
    Hayley recently posted..Brisbane: Lonely Planet’s Hippest Australian CityMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Yeah, haha! People seem to be very outdoorsy and there are so many offerings when it comes to extreme sports – you Aussies are pretty cool!

  • Posing for photos with pythons sure takes a lot of courage! I was offered to do that in Thailand and I totally freaked out! I guess I watched Anaconda too many times haha
    Raphael Alexander Zoren recently posted..How to avoid Templedom in CambodiaMy Profile

  • Janice Stringer says:

    Hi Audrey,
    In 2007 I left my job, took my children out of secondary school and travelled the world with my husband, as we attempted to put some fun back into all our lives after a horrendous marital breakdown and an extended period of loss and grief. It was the scariest and the best thing I’ve ever done. I learn to scuba dive which was terrifyingly wonderful and still is sometimes depending on the conditions of the ocean we go out in. Its lead me to the world of travel and a desire to work within it professionally as a Writer/Blogger and I’d like to become a Bespoke Travel Specialist of Australia, New Zealand, The South Pacific and North America. I too am scared of flying. I think to keep stepping out of your comfort zone, which you are doing and providing us with interesting and insightful posts about your experiences is wonderful! I’d like to read more 🙂 Janice
    Janice Stringer recently posted..Retreat to the Simple Luxury of an Agrotourism Hotel in IbizaMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      That’s amazing Janice!! That was a very bold thing to do especially with your whole family. It sounds like this experience opened a whole new world of possibilities for you. Wishing you the best with what’s yet to come! 😀

  • I love that picture with the snake. (That is exactly how I would look with a snake.)

    I’m ashamed to admit that I did *not* face my fear the other day in the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn, South Africa … my boyfriend wanted to do the Adventure Tour, but I freak out at the very *idea* of being underground, and so I didn’t make it into the tunnels where you have to crawl and go on your belly. (I did, however, ride an ostrich the day before, so I consider Oudtshoorn a wash.)
    Katie @ Nonbillable Hours recently posted..Tracking the Elusive Animals at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi ParkMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      I think I would also feel a bit apprehensive about going underground – all that tonnage of rock above me… I admire people who have the guts to walk and crawl into the Great Pyramids. But that being said, you have to know how much you can handle. It wouldn’t have been a good idea if you forced yourself to go underground into those caves only to have a panic attack when you’re trying to wiggle your way through a narrow tunnel. Knowing when to say no is just as important. 🙂

  • Mike of Mapless Mike says:

    Facing your fears is always a difficult thing to do, but once you do it, it feels great! I don’t mind flying too much, but my stomach always drops when the plane takes off and begins to level out. Australia is a place that I’ve always wanted to go to and eventually will. Moving to Spain is next for me. Australia will soon follow though. Quitting my job, moving abroad, and carving out a new life for myself is my next fear to get over – the fear of the unknown. While it’s scary, my heart and gut are telling me to do it, so I am!
    Mike of Mapless Mike recently posted..Thoughts of a Prospective Auxiliar de ConversaciónMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      That’s cool that you’re off to Spain! I’m sure that will be a lot of fun. I briefly visited Barcelona and I loved the laid-back vibe and the tapas culture. Wishing you all the best out there!

  • Fiona says:

    Love your expression in the python photo. As far as I am concerned in Australia everything wants to kill you. I remember doing my regional work to get a second year visa and seeing an eastern brown snake, one of the most venomous in the world!
    Fiona recently posted..Throw Back Thursday: Magnetic Island, AustraliaMy Profile

  • Yay for facing your fears! I certainly feel the same way but a new destination is almost always worth it! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..Old Town Chambers: A Hidden Treasure in EdinburghMy Profile

  • Rachel of Hippie in Heels says:

    SOO much fun happening in this post! Pretty cool that you got up on the surf board, that’s awesome, I’ve never been. I would NEVER ever hold a python though, I see them occasionally in Goa in my village- but they are 8 foot long wild ones… and they terrify me. I worry one might kill my dog.
    Rachel of Hippie in Heels recently posted..Camel Safari in Jaisalmer: The Ultimate ChecklistMy Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Well it turned into more of a boogie boarding session, but it was still good to get out in the water even if I didn’t learn to surf this time around. 😉

  • Karyn @ Not Done Travelling says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only person who loves travel but is uneasy about flying!

    And yep, facing your fears is terrifying but it feels so good afterwards, hey!
    Karyn @ Not Done Travelling recently posted..Scrumptious Balinese FoodsMy Profile

  • Rita Santos says:

    I love your blog! Seriously! I just started my own travel blog and yours is one that gives me inspiration and makes me wanna travel the world!! I’m reading many of your posts now, since i just found your blog about a week ago, but I’m loving it. Maybe one day I’ll see as much as you have seen, and also be able to do things that scare me (everything you just told you did would totally freak me out but I would still love to do them)
    Keep writing amazing posts!
    Rita Santos recently posted..The reactions to “‘I’m traveling alone this summer”My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Rita! I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying reading through the blog. I hope you find a little bit of inspiration for future trips. 🙂

  • Franca says:

    Well done Audrey! It isn’t always easy to face our own fears. Take me for instance, I’m terrified of heights and that limits me a lot. I have found myself in situations when I had no choice and I had to keep going no matter how shaky my legs were and how dizzy I felt, it was pretty hard so I know it must have took a lot of courage for you to do this things.
    Franca recently posted..Weekend Photo Theme – Museums Around the WorldMy Profile

  • Rebekah Voss says:

    Oh my gosh Audrey I’m so glad I’m not alone – I HATE flying and everything that comes with it. I hate airports, I hate being stuck on the plane, and I get completely claustrophobic after 4 hours. Of course I also happen to love traveling to the kind of places that require an 18-hour flight from the U.S., so it’s a constant struggle. On my most recent flight to Nepal I actually got some prescription Valium for the flight, and that made the entire process a lot more enjoyable. (:

  • MollyG says:

    I’m terrified of flying too! And yet, Australia was totally worth it. I hope you wore lots of sunscreen, though. That sun is killer! We thought we were being good, but managed to get burned a few times. My poor nose!!
    MollyG recently posted..How to Skip the Gate Fee and Get to the Sydney Airport for Cheap!My Profile

  • Charlie says:

    I’m with you on the flying, I’m absolutely terrified of it. People don’t get how I get on a plane so often even though it scares me so much, and to be honest neither do I! Australia is definitely a place for facing your fears.
    Charlie recently posted..Tea time! Afternoon tea in the British countrysideMy Profile

  • Heather says:

    Australia is definitely the place to face any fears, considering its bounty of poisonous and deadly creatures. I’m impressed you faced so many of yours there! The water is a big one for me, too. I’m a good swimming but have a fear of the ocean, specifically when I can’t see my feet through the water. I think I watched Jaws too many times when I was a kid LOL!
    Heather recently posted..How to Have Fun Almost AnywhereMy Profile

  • Michael says:

    Ha. Great shot of you and the snake.
    Michael recently posted..The best activities in the Galapagos IslandsMy Profile

  • Molly Yonderblog says:

    Australia is such an amazing country – I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed your time in Queensland, Audrey!

  • Nora says:

    Yes, on Rottnest island, WA (near Perth) I learned snorkeling. Considering that I am not a very good swimmer either and my biggest fear is putting my head under water (I am always drinking some water through my nose) this was a huge accomplishment for me. And I felt soooo happy! Since then snorkeling strictly belongs to the any beach holidays. I am still terrified but I just love it at the same time! 😀
    Very nice blog, btw! 😉

  • Ryan says:

    Here’s to you Audrey! Facing your fears is one of the hardest, but fulfilling and exhilarating things you can do! I too am afraid of flying, praying to gods of airplanes and clouds and lightning and seat belts for safety. Take off and landing is the hardest part for me. And also conquering my fear of heights by bungy jumping made me feel more alive than ever!

    Rock on!
    Ryan recently posted..A dwindling travel budget and fear of failure.My Profile

  • Brigid says:

    Fantastic Audrey! Kudos to you for stepping outside of your comfort zone and experiencing the dare devil side of life! For all the travel I do, can’t believe I am terrified of flying also. My home country is Australia, so whenever I want to travel somewhere I am guaranteed a long hall flight…just have to grit my teeth and cross my fingers it all goes smoothly and quickly.

    So glad you went surfing. I tried it for the first time a year ago (I know, I’m a terrible aussie!), and was absolutely hooked. Can’t wait to get back to oz at the end of the year and catch some waves.
    Brigid recently posted..Rap Battle in Parque BolivarMy Profile

  • Emma @ Everyday Postcard says:

    I would probably be the same with the surfing, trying to stand up on a board while it’s getting pushed along by a wave seems pretty scary to me! My partner keeps trying to get me to give it a go but I’m much happier relaxing on the beach.
    Emma @ Everyday Postcard recently posted..Encounters with Quokkas on Rottnest IslandMy Profile

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says:

    Looks like you’ve been having a lot of fun! You’re far braver than I am for even remotely considering holding the snake around your neck!! That koala is so adorable though!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted..A Sunday in San Telmo Market, Buenos AiresMy Profile

  • Andrew Smith says:

    Hey Audrey and Sam

    That was a good read and i can firmly remember the fear for the snake on Magnetic Island. I am the Scotsman who was with you for breakfast, just had a quick read to see if you were lying to me about enjoying Haggis haha !

    Hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip and I might bump into you on the road again somewhere soon 🙂

    • Audrey says:

      Hi Andrew, I remember you!! 🙂 I hope you enjoyed the rest of your time on Magnetic Island and onwards around the rest of Australia. Our 2 weeks there flew by and now Sam and I are itching to get back and see more of the country! Wishing you safe travels. 🙂

  • Caitie says:

    I love the part about surfing, my fiance is an surfer and when we travel I try so hard to want to improve so we have a hobby to share, but I am so scared of the huge waves. When in Nicaragua, I thought I was going to die swam in if the waves were over 3 feet. haha Great post

  • Michela says:

    Looks like you had a lot of fun experiencing some of the scariest things of Australia. While it’s not easy to overcome fears once you step out of your comfort zone it’s such a liberating feeling. Nice post.

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