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The Epic Journey Back to Canada from Australia

I had my heart broken a few times. The first one, I was 16 and I was not crying over a guy but because I was flying back from Beijing to Paris and I didn’t want to go home. I wept all the way to France as we were flying above China, the Himalayas, Russia, Eastern Europe… so many places to explore, eventually! Here I was, hooked on travelling.

I kind of became a professional “plane weeper” after that. It got worse after 2002—not only I was emotional because I didn’t really want to go back to France, but on top of that, Feng and I were not living together and had to part ways in many airports. In 2002, after our first trip together, I cried all the way from Ottawa to Toronto Airport where Feng dropped me off. In 2003, I sobbed in Sydney: I was flying back to France and Feng back to Canada. In 2004, I briefly stopped crying because I followed Feng to Canada. Yet, it took me a few more years of going back and forth between France and Canada to sort out my immigration status before I stopped weeping in departure lounges. And now, of course, my mother and I sob uncontrollably when I leave France to go back to Canada. Life as an immigrant, I guess.

Even though I’m not crying as much as I used to, I shed a few tears on Wednesday, when we took a last walk on Circular Quay, in Sydney. It was partially because I was exhausted and frankly, I don’t think I would have stayed any longer in Australia: the country is ridiculously expensive right now (not to mention flooded). Yet… we were leaving. For real.

We left Singapore on Tuesday evening and arrived in Sydney early morning on Wednesday. We barely slept in the plane (note to self: budget airlines suck for long-distance trips). The F1 Hotel we had booked in Kings Cross looked like a halfway house: the shower was a trickle of water, the window was busted and there were cigarettes burns everywhere. Both exhausted, we headed to Bondi Beach for a last look. Sydney was much cooler and quieter than in December, and no one was swimming in Bondi because of the huge waves. I was so tired I fell asleep on the beach. I can barely remember what we did after that: we came back to Circular Quay, grabbed a bite in Kings Cross, complained about Australia’s high prices, slept a few hours… and next thing we knew we were on the plane again.

We left Sydney on Thursday morning, flying to LA on Qantas’ infamous A-380, the double-decker plane that had a few technical problems this winter. We didn’t regret it: this is probably one of the best flights I ever had. First, the plane was half empty so we had an extra seat in our row. The on-board entertainment was really cool and the plane was very quiet. Oh, and the view over Sydney and LA was unbeatable! We managed to get some sleep during the 14-hour flight and arrived somewhat rested in L.A.

It took us over 90 minutes to get through immigration at LAX. The process was painfully slow as the country requires fingerprints from most travellers and a short interview. We checked in by the airport, rented a car and on the road we went, all the way to Burbank where the TV studios are. Feng’s idea was to try to get in as audience members of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which is taped in the afternoon. We were lucky: we got some standby tickets just by showing up at NBC studios and were let in easily.

It was fun to see the show we watch so often being taped—Americans are great at entertainment and it was a fun (and free!) thing to do in LA Then, we headed to Santa Monica and watched a weird movie. The whole evening was a blur as we were once again exhausted and jet-lagged.

We slept a few hours and got up before sunrise to return the car and make it to the airport to catch the last two flights, the Air Canada to Toronto and then Ottawa.

Am I sad to be back? Well, yes and no. Being my usually pessimistic self (it’s imprinted in my French genes), I always fear this will be my last trip. But there is a time for being home and a time for exploring the world. Being on the road all the time is neither realistic nor enjoyable, and this is the time to be home.

Frozen hell, here we are!

Asleep on Bondi Beach
Sydney from Above
Arriving in L.A
L.A Freeway
NBC Studio in Burbank
NBC Studio in Burbank
NBC Studio in Burbank
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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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