Yes it is official!
The round-trip plane ticket has been purchased (departure Sept 8, return Dec 8), and frankly, it's both exhilarating and horrifying. I mean, I'm so excited, this makes it real, official, permanent, imminent. But to see $1010 dollars disappear instantly from your checking account with the click of a mouse, well, that is a little troubling. (Yes, I said $1010, and I know, that IS a fantastic rate for round trip tickets to the other side of the world!) Not that I'm having buyer's remorse or anything, but like the title of the blog says, there's no going back now.
Along with my plane tickets, I have also bought insurance, both emergency health and travel cancellation, well worth the $200 bucks if I have to back out of that $1000 ticket last minute or get stung by a "bluey" while snorkeling in the GBR.
I also booked the hostel in Sydney that I will be staying in when I first arrive, so that in my jet-lagged, sleep-deprived, tourist-newbie state, I won't have to use many critical thinking skills to locate a place to lay my bag and head.
I chose to book Base Sydney, which sounds pretty swanky, at least when reading comparisons to other hostels in the area. It's centrally located in Sydney, walking distance of the Opera House and Darling Harbour (yea, I'm spelling "harbour" with the -our now. Crikey, I'm just practicing, deal with it!)
Female guests receive free Aveda cosmetics (threw that in for Salley) plus free champagne at our Scary Canary bar (yes, the hostel has it's own bar, apparently lots do, major plus!). All beds have individual luggage lockers (another major plus!). It also has an internet café, a travel desk, laundry, a TV room, a guest kitchen and various chill-out areas. The hostel bar offers interactive entertainments, drinks offers and weekly themed party nights. Guests received a welcome drink at check-in. And they have free airport pick-ups for guests staying for 3 nights or more. So that's my free advertising for Base Sydney (discount?).
I'm now trying to plot out approximately when I will be in certain cities. I am trying to do so because I want to book some of the attractions that warned to book early, but in order to do so, I have to figure out when I'm going to be in that area. I am actually picturing tossing out my plans when I get down there (a truly horrifying thought at the moment, considering the hours I have already spent in these early stages carefully researching and deciding where to go and how.) I see me traveling randomly, around in zig-zags, squiggles, loops- not in the ordering circle around the country as planned. Then realizing I have to be in Alice Springs tomorrow for the event I booked 4 months in advance, I bid adieu to my travel companions and catch a hefty flight to the outback for my star-gazing session and local fare buffet... I am going to play most things by ear. Yes, I do have a plan, and general idea of when I will be in each of my 11 cities, if I follow the path I made. but I have left plenty of things open for changes in plans, feelings, etc.
Like I've said before, there is so much to wrap my head around. At least I've got the getting-there out of the way AND paid for!