Airbnb was offering a unique travel experience called Around The World in 80 Days. For $5,000, you could be one of ten people flying around the world doing all sorts of things in 80 days. I woke up at 2:00 am to try to buy a ticket because it was the first time it would be available to purchase. Of course, the app kicked me out. I tried again, and again until at 2:10 am, I got a confirmation that it went through! I knew it was too good to be true. Shortly after, I received an email saying that they refunded me the money because they had more people try to purchase than spots available. I was very frustrated and had a hard time falling back to sleep.
I took it easy that day, and by the afternoon, I decided to try getting my eyebrows threaded. I’ve always plucked them myself but thought I could try something new. I took a bus to downtown Perth and went to a shop that had good reviews. The woman talked me into getting a facial too. The woman was from India but had been living in Perth for ten years. She loved it there and told me how much the city had grown in the last five years.
I took the bus back to my Airbnb, ate Vietnamese food, and then walked over to a massage place. I was able to get a 30-minute massage, and the masseuse said that my muscles were extremely tight. I went back to the Airbnb, watched a movie, and wrote. If only I knew the problems that day of self-pampering was about to cause.
The next day, I wrote while watching the rain outside. In the evening, I signed up for a small bar tour. I took an Uber to the first bar. It was pouring rain, and large puddles were everywhere. My shoes were soaking wet by the time I arrived.
There were about twelve people with the group. The first bar was not that small. It seemed high-end, and we all sat a tall, rectangular table. I talked with two women at the end of the table that were across from me. One was from Perth, and her friend was from Portugal. They won the ticket for the tour at an event.
I told them about my travels, and Lisa (sitting next to me) chimed in. She had long, straight blonde hair. Lisa was 43 years old but appeared to be in her early 30s. Lisa and I hit it off because she is from Vancouver, Canada. When Lisa was 24 years old, she traveled around Australia and loved the experience. She had been a teacher before she left for her travels, and when she returned to Canada, things felt different. Lisa tried to get a corporate job, but people could tell that she wasn’t into it.
Lisa decided to go to Whistler, just north of Vancouver. I loved Whistler and have considered moving there one day, so I was thrilled to meet someone else who loved it there too. While in Whistler, Lisa met Ben, her husband. They moved to Adelaide when they first moved to Australia because that’s where he is from. Four years ago, they moved to Perth. They had two young kids, ages four and six.
We walked to the next bar in the pouring rain. I used an umbrella, but it didn’t work well against the storm that was blowing all over the place. It was the hardest I had ever seen it rain in Australia.
At the bar, the tour guide ordered pizzas for all of us to share. I talked with Lisa and the two women from the first bar. We talked about the U.S. and ended up on the topic of maternity leave. I told them that many people don’t get any time off. My sister was a medical transcriptionist when she had her first son. She used her three weeks of vacation when she gave birth and then had to be back at work. The standard in many states is six weeks (eight weeks for a C-section).
The women couldn’t believe how stingy the American policies were when giving birth. I explained that the company I worked for in Los Angeles let you take up to six months off (which almost every new mom took advantage of), but after the six or eight weeks of paid time off, it was at a reduced salary. One woman said, “You were born in the wrong country.”
We walked to the next bar. The rain would not let up! By the time I walked inside, my shoes were squishing with water as I walked. This bar was a Tequilla bar, and we all sat at a table in the corner. I talked with a younger girl and her boyfriend, who was from Ireland. The girl grew up with Ben (he babysat her). She was an artist and really fun to talk with.
Most of the people on the tour ended up leaving or going out on their own. The outing was officially over, but I ended up staying with Lisa and Ben and their friends. They were all celebrating Ben’s birthday. I felt a little guilty intruding on their celebration, but they all told me it was ok.
I talked with Lisa about her consulting job and having a passion for your work. It’s so difficult because the reality is we all need to pay the bills. But what is all of it worth if we hate what we do for a living 40+ hours a week? I felt inspired talking with them. I didn’t learn much about the bars or drinks, but the tour allowed me to see the nightlife with new friends. It was a great way to meet new people instead of sitting alone in my Airbnb.
The next day, I went to a market at a nearby university. I browsed the stalls, buying a couple of items. There were indoor and outdoor booths. The campus was beautiful, so I enjoyed the weather. At one booth, I met a woman selling jewelry. I bought a necklace from her and found out that she’s from North Carolina, but has been in Australia for 40 years.
Afterward, I drove to King’s Park and walked through the botanical garden, which also offered beautiful views of the skyline. A storm was brewing in the background, and a rainbow came out.
Perth is such a beautiful place. I love the mixture of the city, nature, and the ocean/river. I can’t explain it, but locations give me different feelings. Often, the people there create a certain vibe. Perth is one of the cities that felt comfortable to me.
The following day, I had to go to the U.S. consulate to get some papers notarized because I was buying a house in the U.S. Before I traveled overseas, I gave Power of Attorney to my dad to sign for any real estate dealings. There was no end date, which made me uncomfortable. I insisted on having an end and picked June 15th, thinking that I would surely find a house in five months. Of course, we made the offer on the house in the first week of June, but the closing wouldn’t be until the first week of July.
The loan officer emailed me a new Power of Attorney, but it had to be notarized. I made an appointment at the U.S. consulate, which took more than a week. There were all sorts of rules, like not being able to bring in a phone. When I arrived, I took the elevator to the floor that I needed. Immediately, there were armed security personnel. I had to put my purse through security and then inside a locker. I could only bring my credit card with me to the next floor.
Once I was through that, they let me on the elevator to another floor. When I arrived, I walked into a room that had about 40 chairs facing four windows. The windows with the employees were behind bulletproof glass. I sat in a chair and waited for them to call my name. It appeared that most of the people waiting were there for a U.S. visa.
I was called up to the window and showed them my passport and the documents. In addition to the Power of Attorney, I had another document that needed to be notarized (from the sale of my house in Los Angeles). The escrow company made a mistake and emailed me a new form, asking me to sign and notarize it. I signed both forms and slid the papers through the window. The man behind the glass notarized them and charged me $100 for both documents.
Back at the lobby downstairs, there was a FedEx office. I mailed both forms back to the U.S., which cost $50 each. I needed them to arrive in the U.S. within a few days, so my options were limited.
While downtown, I drove to a beautiful church and walked around a mall. I grabbed a delicious lunch and kept walking around. I loved the downtown area. There are both old and new buildings, it’s well-cared for, and it wasn’t crowded.
I ended up at the Mint, which provided tours. After signing up for a tour, I followed a guide around the building, seeing the gold nuggets. A 15-year-old boy found the largest nugget found in Australia. I watched them melt a gold bar, turning it into liquid gold. Then he turned it back into a gold bar.
For dinner, I ate at the riverfront near my Airbnb. My time in Perth was coming to an end soon, and I wanted to take it all in.
Perth is a hidden gem. It’s a beautiful city with some great people. The growth is evident, but it’s still not crowded. There are some fantastic natural wonders within a few hour’s drive. It’s been one of my favorite cities that I’ve visited.
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