Making My Way Down the Amazon Trail


Making My Way Down the Amazon Trail

I am borrowing the Aussie tradition, and going on a 'walk-about', to follow my passion. Stepping out of the 'rat race' for a life sabbatical, i'm chasing my long-time dream of doing conservation work in the amazon. On a whirlwind tour of South America, I will be volunteering with conservation organizations and animal sanctuaries, while seeking out all the sights, sounds and adventures I can stuff into my psyche along the way!

For more about me or my trip, visit my site at:

Thank you Bon Jovi for the amazing words of inspiration:

“It’s my life- It’s now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever. I just wanna live while I’m alive”

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney September 9th 2009

Day 15- Sept 5 Headed home So I awoke in my last hostel in Sydney, ready for my last day and headed down to reception to sort out luggage storage, directions and a shuttle to the airport, only to find that the guy manning the desk had gone out drinking the night before and was nowhere to be found. I waited until 9 am. The kitchen (with the free breakfast) was closed, the poor cat was meowing and pawing at her empty bowl. 9:30..... 10:00....At 10:15 I finally gave up and went out. So much for the great hostel. So i found my way back to the center of town. I stopped for a cup of coffee and was actually asked to leave Starbucks for taking a picture of the menu. I thought to myself, "well, ... read more
Hare Krishnas walking by
Hyde Park, Sydney

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Byron Bay September 4th 2009

Day 14- Fri Sep 4 Byron Bay So I had gone to bed before any of the other people in the room got in for the evening. On Friday morning, I awoke to find myself in a room with 5 guys and the room smelled like a garlic eating contest had been held in a gym locker. I just about gagged. So I wandered up to reception and told them I wanted to change to the teepee, another one of their "funky abodes". (note- Arts Factory boasts about their "funky abodes", but other than the tepee, the only thing funky about them is the smell!) I moved myself into the teepee and then headed out into town for the day. I had high hopes for this "hippie town", but sadly, the weather was crap. It's funny ... read more
downtown Byron Bay
Hippie shop
Look i found my shop!

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Byron Bay September 3rd 2009

Day 13- Thu Sep 3 Airlie Beach to Byron Bay via public transport I woke up to pouring rain in the middle of the night. By morning it was still drizzy and dreary. I was crossing my fingers it would clear up because I had booked a VERY expensive scenic flight over the Whitsundays islands. I packed up my stuff and waited at the bus stop to catch a bus to the Whitsunday airport to pick up my flight. The bus arrived complete with another colorful Aussie character at the wheel. What follows is my dialogue with the bus driver: Me: Are you going to the airport? Bus Driver: I'm not. Are you? Me: Yes, can you get me there? Bus Driver: Ok, but it'll cost ya. Boy i'm gonna get rich off this! (at $3.10, ... read more
Sea plane
Scenic flight over Whitsundays
Scenic flight over Whitsundays

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach September 2nd 2009

Day 12- Wed Sep 2 Knuckle Reef I feel an obligation to warn other travelers. If someone offers you a tday rip to Knuckle reef in the Whitsundays, run like hell in the other direction. Out of practice in relying on my intuition, I had let the lady at Peter Pans talk me out of a sailboat snorkeling trip where someone had told me "if you don't see at least 200 fish, you don't have your eyes open". In exchange, I booked this all day trip to the outer ribbon reef where a pontoon is mored with a waterslide. Sounded nice enough, but ended up being the biggest waste of money in Australia! Damn. It took 3 hours to get there. The only good thing about that was that we stopped off at Daydream Island and ... read more

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Airlie Beach September 1st 2009

Day 9 - Mon Aug 31 Airlie Beach I arrived at Airlie Beach (Airlie rhymes with Hayley- for some reason Australians must not believe in the letter "R" -LOL!) at 11 am. Whisked up a hill to my hostel where I was shown to my dorm room which smelled distinctly of urine. Gross. I got rearranged to another dorm. The place was ok. I wasn't too thrilled with it. I could tell it was a party pad. So i wandered down the hill into down where I spent several hours picking up brochures and asking for information about day trips. I finally wandered into Peter Pans tour agency, which I wish I had found back in Sydney. They gave me a gold card, lots of coupons and free internet. They are all over Australia, and if ... read more
Airlie Beach lagoon
Our guide holds a sea cucumber
Airlie Beach lagoon

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns August 30th 2009

Day 8 - Sun Aug 30 Day 2 on the Reef The second time I went out on the reef, I went with a boat called Passions of Paradise. It was a totally different vibe. Lots more people on the boat, but the snorkeling was infinitely better. Our first spot was Michaelmans' cove- a little island in the middle of the reef with spectacular coral and lots of fish! We were dropped off, via glass bottom boat, on the beach and got to walk into the water. The shallow water had coral growing right up out of the sand! The water was crystal clear. The second spot was good too. But disappointingly, still no turtle :(( I rushed back to my hostel to download the pics from camera #2 that I rented, took a shower, did ... read more
Photo 15
Photo 2
Photo 1

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns August 29th 2009

Day 7 - Sat Aug 29 On the Wallaby I'm wandering around Cairns tonight and there is a guy with dreads sitting on a stoop playing acoustic guitar. He's singing amazing versions of "Brown Eyed Girl", "Redemption Song", and "you look wonderful tonight". I drop some money in his bag, and he says thank you in his beautiful Aussie accent. I'm sitting outside in shorts, a tank top and flip flops. It's warm with a cool breeze, and I am in heaven. The summer air is like a drug to me- makes me almost manic! It's somehow nostalgic of those long humid midwestern summer nights. I don't remember the last time I felt so content. Small hippie towns in a tropical climate, I always love that. The air is humid so my skin feels moist, and ... read more
pointy mountain
the road with 212 curves
Bart sans shoes

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cape Tribulation August 28th 2009

Day 6 - Thur Aug 28 Cape Tribulation Up before the sun for the 3rd day in a row. Good grief! At least my hostel mates are incredibly quiet and mostly in bed by 11 pm. I love this hostel! Today, Cape Tribulation tour. I had debated between 2 companies who both go by an animal sanctuary where you are supposed to be able to hold koalas. Sadly, within the first 5 minutes of the tour, I realized I had made the wrong choice. The tour guide was nice enough, but his main concern was keeping us punctual, not making sure we were having fun. He was kind of a dud. On the tour were 3 Italians who smoked like chimneys, everytime the bus stopped, getting back on and smelling up the whole bus (yuck!), a ... read more
Another beautiful day in Queensland
Ah Queensland
drive from Cairns to Port Douglas

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns August 27th 2009

Day 5 - Thur Aug 27 Great Barrier Reef!!! So up at another brutally early hour (6 am) to catch a shuttle to Port Douglas, to pick up a boat to the Great Barrier Reef. I found out later that the drive from Cairns to Port Douglas is listed as 1 of the top 6 scenic drives in Australia. It is GORGEOUS!!!! Beautiful unspoilt, empty beaches hugging rugged coastline. Where are all the people? Got to the office where the most lovely Australian lady whisked me off to the boat, we dropped our shoes off in a basket, to be picked up later, and off we went. It was a small boat with only 28 of us, which turned out to be very nice. There were 2 marine biologists onboard, one from Florida and one Aussie ... read more
Another beautiful day
Maori Wrasse
nemo's cousin

Oceania » Australia » Queensland » Cairns August 26th 2009

Day 4 -Wed Aug 26 Cairns! Got up at 5 to catch my flight to Cairns (pronounced CANS), and now i know I am fully acclimated to the 17 hour time change, because it FEELS like 5 am. I fell in love with Cairns from the window of the plane. Beautiful green lush mountainous coastline met with the most gentle, vibrant turquoise blue ocean fading seemlessly into a blue sky. I was so unbelievably excited for that first rush of warm air, and Cairns did not disappoint! After a cold 7 degrees yesterday in the Blue Mountains, we landed to a balmy 28 degrees (celcius), and instantly I was in heaven! We disembarked on the runway, and I swear to god, if I hadn't had to go back inside to baggage claim, I would've torn off ... read more
Airport "bins"
Cairns ocean walk

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