📓 Entry #9 — We’re down under 🙃

Maeghan Smulders
A Little Detour
Published in
5 min readJan 27, 2018


January 27, 2018

G’day mate!

After an awesome week with my family and great times in Mexico it was time for part two of our little detour. Originally, we were going to start our adventure in Australia, but my two good friends got married in Playa del Carmen a few weeks ago, so we altered our trip to start in Central America (ie: Nicaragua) and then made our way up to Cancun.

17 hours of flying time from Houston to Sydney.

So when we got to the Cancun airport… my ticket read “Sydney (SYD), Australia” and it was pretty surreal. I felt like a kid who’s parent told them they were going to Disneyland or something. I had so much excitement to travel Australia!

After a connection in Houston, we were ready to board our flight direct to Sydney (a 17 hour flight — the longest we’ve ever taken).

To our surprise... our flight was a special one. We got to our terminal to find balloons, a live band, free food and drinks and a Koala mascot handing out candy and gifts to everyone boarding the flight.

Turns out this was United Airlines first inaugural flight direct from Houston to Sydney. City officials and important people from Houston were all in the first class of our flight and heading to Sydney for 48 hours to partake in a fancy city tour and celebration of the new destination for the airline.

Tim Tams were served and high fives were given.

At first I was concerned.. thinking this is the first time some pilots are flying this route.. and we are the guinea pigs.. but the pilots were super cool and the winds were in our favour so we could get to Sydney in 15 hours and 40 minutes and the airport opened at 6am so we waited in Houston for an extra 30 minutes to land early and in time for the airport to be open. #awesome

The flight went by fast.. I am totally crushing my Gilmore Girl episodes and reading a Wrinkle in Time (things in my other life I never seemed to have/make time to do). Oli is hilarious.. and always has some sort of new game on his phone to keep him busy and managed to have something to do the entire flight in between sleeping.

We landed in Sydney (and the landing is beautiful, I had no idea the coast line looked like this!) and were totally not jetlagged which was a win. However, we did look like crap being in an airplane for 16 hours and as we got off the plane.. there were paparazzi (or just journalists..) taking pictures of everyone to document the milestone flight. They also had some people dressed up as aboriginals playing music and dancing as we walked to get our bags.

My fingers are crossed that I dodged all the pictures… I’ve been in the newspaper once already with pillow face and would prefer for it not to happen again. 😅

Energy was on our side (no caffeine was needed), so we checked in to our hostel and made our way right to the Sydney Opera house and toured around the downtown in the glorious sun.

We’ve had pretty lame weather the last few weeks — Mexico, Guatemala were not hot/sunny places and quite cold at night. But here in Sydney, that is not the case. 30+ degrees with a light wind… it is really amazingly perfect.

Sydney is an incredible city and the first place on this trip that both Oli and I would strongly consider moving to.

  • The city is so clean considering the number of people here.
  • The public transportation is efficient and gets you from the mountains, to the beach to the middle of the city within minutes
  • Our friends that live here talk about the great work-life balance companies encourage here (also, there is a thriving tech scene)
  • You can enjoy some random perks like their strange love for trivia nights (so many bars, hotels and restaurants host them! And we are slowly becoming trivia experts as we go!)
  • They have great craft beer — which Oli really loves
  • Oh and did I mention the weather.. it’s perfect.

The only downside we’ve noticed is the cost of things. A coffee or sandwich is $10 Aussie dollars and the exchange rate today is almost equal to Canadian dollar. Or a silly GoPro filter I should have bought back home.. that is $40… is $109 dollars here… which is CRAZY! Although, we have been told that salaries are adjusted for the expensive living, we’re told it’s due to the fact that Australia is an island.. and the biggest island in the world.. so lots of things need to be shipped out here.

One of the most random and fun nights we’ve had here so far was the day we planned to go and see Star Wars (since we are so far behind). And as we were walking to the theatre.. we saw tons of people wearing neon pink, what looked like Kentucky Fried chicken buckets on their head and flags walking towards a big stadium right beside the movie theatre.

We decided to follow them.. only to learn that there was a final Cricket match, between Melbourne and Sydney (who have a feud as strong as Calgary vs. Edmonton) and tickets were only $20. Neither of us know anything about cricket.. but we bought the tickets anyway to learn what its all about.

The game lasted 4.5 hours, and we spent the first hour googling the rules to try and learn how the sport works. I think its a mix of bowling/baseball and botchie or lawn bowling.

We got paper fans to assist with clapping, buckets for our heads and cheered like crazy as Sydney did indeed take the win.

It was a super fun night and I guess this is one of the perks of being flexible with your schedule. You can stumble upon some special things.

Until next time!

See more on our website www.alittledetour.ca🌏✈️👫



Maeghan Smulders
A Little Detour

Hi! 🙋 I'm a tall, homeschooled, well traveled, terrible speller, who loves ice cream, building things and can be hilarious at times 👉 www.maeghansmulders.com