When you intern abroad, you are a student and traveller. Part of the internship abroad experience is the chance to use weekends as an opportunity to explore beyond the city itself. This piece was written by our Sydney, Australia intern Kaleah Walterman [2018 CareerUp Alumnus].
It’s Saturday morning and I hear my alarm clock go off- it’s 6 AM.
I feel like there are weights attached to my eyes, making it very difficult to open them. Then I remember why I set my alarm so early the night before- today I’m traveling two hours to hike The Blue Mountains. I eat breakfast and then two other people from the program, Michelle and Alex, join me and we are off to the train station.
We arrive at the train station and ride to Central. From Central we hop on a bus and travel West for about an hour. Finally, one last train and our final destination is The Blue Mountains. Australia has a very unique habitat and it’s tropical; I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The longer we are on the train, the less buildings we see until city life is completely dissolved, replaced with more of Australia’s natural beauty: vegetation and mountain ranges. Finally, we are approaching our final destination and I see a glimpse of The Blue Mountains and I am astonished!
I cannot wait to explore this beautiful landscape in Australia.
Our stop is a small, old town a short distance from the Blue Mountains. On our walk, there are a lot of local shops, restaurants, and bakeries: Little cakes are nestled in display cases and winter clothes cover mannequins in shop windows. It’s 40 degrees fahrenheit here and my nose feels like a popsicle. All of a sudden, time stops and I don’t feel cold anymore. My eyes look up to the distance and I am out of breath, taken away by the beauty in front of me. I never knew God could create something this magnificent, my brain cannot process the beauty of these mountains before me.
In the horizon, The Blue Mountains are in full view and for endless miles it’s tropical trees and epic mountain ranges- not a building to remind us of Sydney in sight. The mountains are towering over the trees and the sun is beaming on the mountains making a spotlight for their glory. The wind is pounding in my ears and it feels like I’m soaring over The Blue Mountains.
I feel free.
My friends and I find a path and start hiking, giving us different perspectives of the landscape from numerous angles. It starts to rain, but the rain doesn’t dampen my spirits. Many minutes later of hiking down the path, the rain stops and a rainbow appears over The Blue Mountains, and I am in complete awe. I snap a picture of the rainbow on my phone, but the picture cannot capture the moment as I see it now. This moment will forever be ingrained in my mind.
There is a cliff off the beaten path, reaching out over the drop-off, trees far below. The Blue Mountains are a magical place where somehow, I am not scared. I sit on the cliff with my legs over the edge and am at total peace in this place. It’s very quiet here I can hear the birds chirping, the mighty roar of the wind, the splish splash of the rain hitting the leaves of the trees. It’s hard to put into words what this environment does to me, but my soul feels at home.
After many more hours of hiking the mountain, it’s starting to get dark and it’s time to go home. My friends and I walk to the train station and the train starts to leave. I look out the window for as long as possible to see my last glimpses of The Blue Mountains. Finally, they disappear from view and I am on my way back to the city, the memory of this trip happily mine forever.