The Most Epic of Road Trips: Part 2

After a 1 month delay, I hereby give you Part II of my blog "series" for The Big Lift. I honestly didn't think this post was ever going to happen. Every time I thought about how much I had to say about the trip, I'd freak out and put off writing it. But I was looking through the photos recently and it seemed like such a waste to just leave them there. If I wasn't going to blog properly, I could at least upload the snaps, right?  

So just a quick recap: in my last post, I covered the first 4 days of the trip. We spent each night in a different town and I ended the post with the bus having reached a lookout near Brisbane. Fast forward an hour or two and here we were at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

I signed up for TBL thinking it was your standard university volunteering trip. And for the first half of the journey, I wasn't wrong. We pruned gardens, cleaned gum off ceilings, painted sheds and basically roughed it for four days straight. But then we literally went from being knee deep in horse feces to staying at the 4-star Wyndham Hotel at Surfer's Paradise.

The room I was staying in was more than $2000 per night (holiday rates). I didn't believe the number when I first heard it but when I got home, I jumped online and verified it. That's fucking crazy guys. I only paid about $400 for the whole trip (including meals and accomodation). I don't even stay in hotels as nice as this when I'm on vacation with my FAMILY.

But moving on from our expensive new digs, after we arrived, we got an hour to freshen up. And by freshen up, I mean try to figure out how to use the washing machine so we could get all the horse smell off our clothes. Some people went a little bit crazy with the showers but hey, if you'd just spent the last couple of days queueing up for chilly county 2-minute rinses, you'd be forgiven for binge-washing.

Dinner was a poolside pizza party with the people of the other bus and afterwards people either hit the bars/clubs or went for night beach walks. My group hit the clubs and well, you could probably figure out how the rest of the night went.

Fast forward to the next morning and we were told to take care of breakfast by ourselves. I and large group of people from the blue bus went to the iconic Pancakes in Paradise and indulged in fluffy, buttery pancakes topped with eggs, ham, salmon and a whole bunch of other orgasmic elements. Possibly the best breakfast I had all trip.

Afterwards, we met up with everyone else to start out activities for the day. Lo and behold! Our first non-volunteering activity for the week: The BIGmazing Race. The two buses (all 80-90 of us) were split into groups of about 8 people and sent on a city-wide photo-scavenger hunt. Photos (as proof of having completed certain challenges) had to be uploaded to instagram with certain hashtags and since I was one of the few people on the team who actually had access to the app, I ended up spamming my account with all these stupid photos (and as a result, lost about 10 followers haha). If you were on the receiving end of those, I'm sorry for clogging up your feed that day.

Despite my whinging, the whole thing was actually really fun. Challenges ranged from things like "Take a photo with the cops" to "Take a Humans of New York-style photo" and "Group selfie in a small enclosed space". We'd also get bonus challenges by texts - usually involving chasing down crew members to take selfies.

Afterwards, everyone headed over to the park for lunch and then we practised our flash mob. Yes, there was a flash mob.

I don't have any photos for the following couple of hours but basically we headed back to Surfers Paradise and spent the afternoon/evening performing Random Acts of Kindness. Each group was given a bit of money to spend on whatever we wanted on the condition that it had to benefit general members of the public. So some people "paid it forward" at coffee shops whilst others bought things to give out.

Then we flash-mobbed in the middle of Surfers. And it was fun. But embarrassing. Because we only had like one practice session beforehand and nobody really knew what they were doing.

Dinner was at a great Thai restaurant and it was paid for beforehand so we didn't have to fork out anything. Side note: the first time I'd visited Surfers Paradise (in 2005?), I ate at the exact same restaurant with family and friends. I know it was the same one because of the aggressively exotic decor that covers the front and inside of the restaurant. You can't miss it. It basically screams LOOK AT ME I'M AN EXOTIC THAI RESTAURANT EAT HERE EAT HERE EAT HERE.

We spent the night out again, stumbled home at about 3 am, slept a bit and then got up bright and early to load the bus for the trip back. There were only 2 more days left of the trip.

There was a pit stop at Byron Bay where we grabbed lunch and may or may not have flashmobbed (or should I say flash-stumbled?) beneath the lighthouse AND once again down by the beach. Because why humiliate yourself only once?

We had lunch at a little hipster place called the Bayleaf Cafe and the food was amazeballs.

It ain't Byron without a beach busker tearing it up down by the sea.

We spent the night down at Valla Beach and again, I don't have specific photos of our activities but basically there was a hilarious Talent Show in the evening and some people pulled all-nighters in the hall with the giant fireplace and had D&Ms till next morning's sunrise (which they saw at the beach). It was a bittersweet night because we all knew that by this time tomorrow, everyone would have parted ways.

I took these photos down by Valla Beach the next morning before I got herded onto the bus. They are the very last ones I took of the trip. After travelling for 8 hours, we finally arrived back in Sydney. No one really wanted to part ways yet though so we made a booking at Satang Thai and almost all 80 of us crammed ourselves into the tiny cornerside restaurant (much to the horror of the waitresses there). But eventually we all had to say goodbye and that was the end of our 1 week adventure.

Thanks for reading!    


  1. I'm loving these posts Cynthia! ! Makes me miss TBL so much!

    1. Thanks Cindy! It really means a lot to me that you're enjoying the posts :)


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