I travel to Australia. Finally.
I never really bothered to go to Australia before.
Continent number six just had to wait until I had a good enough reason to boot the cost of the flight to get there.
I cover emerging markets in Asia. That’s my stomping ground — not upper-middle income, over-developed, ex-British colonies.
Then I ran into Tony Fernandes in South Korea. I did a couple of stories about AirAsia and how their model is driving urbanization in Asia — during the course of which I took a look at their website. On their homepage is where I saw a list of their promotional fares — including one from Taipei to Sydney for $170.
I jumped on it.
“There’s nothing down there.”
-Me to myself upon my first glimpse of Australia from the plane
Over the entire expanse that so could see from the vantage point of the airplane flying over Australian at night, only two lights on the ground were visible.
It was like this for hours.
It’s funny to think that most of the world is made up of empty spaces just like this.
Then, suddenly, Sydney rises in the distance like an island of light in a sea of black.
My daughter Petra has no clue where she’s going. I’m looking over at her right now laughing. We told her that we were going to Kaohsiung in Taiwan and that we had to take some strange flight path that went through Malaysia because of mountains, or something like that. I didn’t believe that my wife and I could pull it off, but as we go into our final descent, the deception is still on.
Australia is a surprise for her birthday. Petra’s always said how much she wants to go to Australia. When we’d ask her where she wants to go next, she’d always respond with one word: Australia.
She never thought we’d actually go there.
It took me 18 years of travel, 80 countries, and 5 continents before I finally made it to Australia. I walk out of the airport and look around. Seems pretty nice. I wonder what took me so long.
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