Starting Over

Headshot of Lily Nannini.
Lily Nannini
January 14, 2024

A lot can happen in 24 hours. Lightning strikes 8.5 million times. 380,00 babies are born. 27,000 people get married. Sheep yield 5,000 tons of wool. 900,000 golf balls are sold. By the time all these things happen, I will finally be arriving in Australia.

Ever since studying abroad last year in Vienna, I have been journaling every night. I made the investment and bought a beautiful, but expensive, Papier lined notebook. My favorite part about it is the little note card that reads “A blank page holds endless possibilities.” I love flipping through the pages of my empty journal for Australia and not knowing what kind of memories they will be filled with. I have no clue what the next four and a half months have in store for me, but I hope to convey my preparation, enthusiasm, and anticipation for the upcoming semester in Sydney in this blog. 

I’ve never done a long haul flight like the one I’m about to do to Australia. I remember being on the plane after a semester in Vienna, flying toward one home and away from another, and losing my mind and patience only four hours in.

My flight itinerary begins in Boston with an economy class seat on United at 5:55pm on Saturday, January 30, 2023. I have a one hour layover at LAX and then board the longest leg of my journey with a whopping 15.5 hour plane ride to Sydney. During that time, the countdown will begin, the ball will drop, and it will, somehow, be a new year. If all goes to plan, I will arrive in Sydney around 9am on Monday, January 1, 2o24. 

A link to my exact packing list can be found here. Below is the breakdown of my luggage.

Fjällräven belt bag

Personal item: Cotopaxi Allpa 28L Travel Pack ~15lbs

  • Top-loading front compartment
    • Mesh zippered pocket
      • Gum
      • 295 AUD (AAA members can exchange foreign currency with no added fee if the purchase is over 200 USD)
      • Melatonin gummies 
      • Mini tissue pack 
      • AWAKE chocolate bites (for when I land) 
      • Phone charger
    • Nido Accessory Bag – Cada Día
      • Front zipper:
        • Hand lotion
        • Toothbrush
        • Travel size toothpaste 
        • Travel size shampoo, conditioner & body wash
      • Middle zipper:
        • Eye mask
        • Compression socks 
        • Deodorant
        • NuGo protein bar
        • Mini hairbrush
      • Back zipper:
        • Labello lip balm
        • Mini pill container with allergy pills
        • Touchland hand sanitizer
        • Daily contacts
      • *I hope by keeping all my liquids in this pouch it makes it easy to take it out and shove it back in at security 
  • Main compartment left
  • Main compartment right
    • Pōl corduroy jacket (folded)
    • Patagonia rain shell (rolled)
    • Jean shorts (rolled)
    • Jean skirt (rolled)
  • Electronics sleeve
    • Macbook
    • Ipad
    • Kindle
    • Folder with important documents
      • CoE
      • Visa
      • Flight itinerary
      • Copies of passport, license, credit cards
      • Copy of covid card
  • Outside

Carry-on: Dana Point 10.5 kg/23.15 lbs

Checked bag: Dana Point 22 kg/49.3 lbs

  • Packing cubes with clothes (2)
  • Hiking bootssocks
  • Rainbow flip flops (2)
  • Birkenstock Franca sandals 
  • Knock-off Birks shower shoes 
  • North Chatham Outfitters hat
  • Toiletry bags 
  • Sun Bum 
  • Mini first aid
  • Mini bags (for trash or dirty laundry)
  • Printed photos from home
  • Camelbak backpack (to use as school bag)
  • Sea to Summit Airlite towel 
  • Rumpl blanket
    • I know this sounds crazy. And it honestly might be! On the Pre-O Zoom call, it was strongly recommended to bring some type of comforter as they are apparently wicked expensive in Australia. I like that the Rumpl rolls down into a condensed stuff sack which makes it easier (and a little lighter) for packing. We’ll see how this goes…
  • Hydroflask

Tentative flight plan

  • Take melatonin gummies ~9 hours before landing in Sydney (I’ve never taken them before…hopefully I pass tf out)
  • No coffee until I get there
  • Compression socks for 15 hour leg 
  • Get up and stretch often 
  • Read book on Kindle, watch movies on flight, listen to music, obsessively stare at the map of the plane’s location 
  • Airport outfit: Lululemon Groove yoga pants, t-shirt, hoodie, Hokas 


My goal is to be able to answer these questions by the time my final blog rolls around:

  • How was the transition to being at a big school? Did you like studying at a school that size?
  • Did you pack the right things? How was the weather? What do you wish you had packed and what do you wish you would’ve left at home?
  • Did you get a job?
  • Are you glad you went with the 1000/2000 level courses, or do you wish you had taken that 3000 level German course? 
  • How much money did you spend?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • What was the biggest difference in how people live there?
  • What was the best thing you ate?


Discount codes


Budget plan

  • I have none. I am scared. 
  • Just kidding, here's a link to my budget sheet (but it's more of a tracker to see how much I spend, I wholeheartedly decided I will be completely broke after this experience)

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Headshot of Lily Nannini.

Lily Nannini

Hi! I'm Lily and I'm from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. I currently attend Washington and Lee University in Virginia. I'm always down for spontaneous adventures, catching sunrise/sunset, and taking pictures of food:) When I graduate college I want to renovate a van and travel the country, visiting every U.S. National Park as I go. Hopefully I'll have a golden retriever with me too. I love meeting new people and gaining new experiences, so I am extremely excited for this term in Vienna!

Home University:
Washington and Lee University
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