Summer Travel Plans!

I’ve been blogging about serious stuff lately, so I thought I’d mix it up with some travel fun! I’ve got two big trips planned, one with my spouse and one for work, so I’m pretty excited.

Grand Canyon Road Trip
The first trip will be from June 10-20 with my husband. We’re taking a road trip to the Grand Canyon! I’m really hoping my brother and sister-in-law can drive out from Las Vegas to meet as at the Canyon; it’d be great to see them. But we’ll see. Either way, it will be an awesome trip! I’m really looking forward to doing some sight-seeing in the desert.

We are doing something very un-J-like (especially for two Js!): we are not booking hotels for every night ahead of time. We wanted to leave a little flexibility so that if we see something interesting and want to stop, we can do that without worrying that we won’t make it to our pre-booked hotel as planned. We are only pre-booking our hotel at the Canyon (in Williams, AZ, most likely) and the one night we plan to spend in Santa Fe. We are also spending a couple of nights with my spouse’s family: On the way there, we are spending one night with his cousins in Grand Island, NE, and on the way back, a night with his cousins in Denver. Other than those nights, we will just drive until we decide to stop for the night and sleep wherever we happen to find a motel. I’m a little worried about getting a skeevy motel that has bedbugs, but other than that I think it’ll be good. It’s nice to be a little spontaneous every once in awhile.

Our route to the Canyon:

Our route back from the Canyon:

Aside from visiting the Canyon, we plan to go to Lowell Observatory for some stargazing one night. It’s open to the public every evening! I’m really excited about that, and also to visit Santa Fe. I’ve never been there but have always wanted to go.  And between Albuquerque and Santa Fe there is the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum, which we’ll be driving practically right by, so I think we’ll plan a stop there. Sounds really cool! The one thing I wish we could do that I don’t think we’ll get to is go to a powwow or something on one of the reservations down there, but I looked and I don’t think there are any happening when we will be passing through.

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Australia
My second trip of the summer is to Australia for work. I advise students who want to attend Australian universities for a semester or year, but I’ve never been to Australia, so this trip will be very good. The main universities we work with are James Cook University in Cairns and Townsville, University of Wollongong, and University of Melbourne, so those are the schools I will be visiting.

First, however, I get to attend the Australia introduction (orientation/fun) run by our partner, AustraLearn. This takes place in Cairns and includes lots of fun and educational things as well as the general orientation program. The fun things include seeing an aboriginal performance, holding a koala and feeding kangaroos, snorkeling at the Great Barrier reef, and participating in a volunteer project. Sweet! After that, I fly to Townsville, visit the university there, then fly to Sydney. From there I take the train to visit U of Wollongong, return to Sydney, then fly to Melbourne to visit the U of Melbourne.

I have an extra day at the end to explore Melbourne on my own. I’m a bit torn about that, because if I skip the free day, I can get back in time for practice on Sunday with my Fest group (I’ll already be missing two weeks of practice!) but then again, how often will I go to Australia? Probably not much, so maybe I should just miss practice and take the extra day.

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