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Next Stop: The Land Down Under

It's hard to believe that my dream of traveling to Australia is becoming a reality in one week. Ever since I entered college, I knew that at one point during my undergraduate career that I would study abroad in a foreign country. After careful consideration and planning ahead, I solidified Sydney, Australia as my destination. It feels good to look back on how far I've come in terms of decision making and making ends meet to make this something quite real now.

My name is Marlowe Padilla, and I am currently a Junior pursuing a degree in Cinema & Photography at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. I have always had an appreciation for photography ever since my mother purchased my first point and shoot camera when I was in the 8th grade. I still remember the first photo that I took: a magnified view of the sand at the beach in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. I remember looking at the screen in awe... each grain of sand intricatley lit by the rays of the sun, it almost seemed fake. It was there that I knew that photography was something I wanted to delve into, and I can proudly say that it has shaped my life ever since then. In traveling to Sydney, Australia I am hoping not only to capture the beauty of the city itself, but to tell the stories of the people who surround me. Sydney seems like the perfect place to create art, and share stories and I am extremely fortunate enough to have this opportunity to experience this.

(Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey)

Of course, I wouldn't be able to live this dream if it weren't for the hard work of my two parents who are excited for my journey ahead of me. I have been raised with the mentality to go forth and work hard for the things that I want in my life. Ever since I had the idea to travel to Sydney my parents have been nothing but supportive, and thoughtful of my goals. It also helps that my father's sister lives in Sydney, so I always have someone to watch over me if I need any help as well.

(My Parents and I)

With one week to go, I have been sitting in my bedroom in cold and snowy High Bridge, New Jersey, staring at my suitcase for quite some time now. I've decided to bring two suitcases and a carry on, since Qantas Airline allows two checked backs under 50 lbs each upon my arrival to the airport. I can't help but think about the shift in temperature as I pack shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits, especially since it is snowing outside my window as I am doing this. This will be the first time in my life where I am travelling to a place where the weather is completely opposite the kind I am currently living in. Being that I am from the Northeast, and attend school in a place where negative temperatures are normal, I think it is safe to say that this will be a good change. I look at the bottles of sunscreen, and laugh at what the cashier might have been thinking when I purchased these earlier on in the day.

(High Bridge, New Jersey)

(Ithaca Falls, Ithaca, NY)

For now, I am excited but somewhat nervous to begin this four month adventure. I worked hard for this, and I know I deserve this, but a piece of me wishes that my family and friends could experience this with me as well. My goal during my stay in Sydney? Never saying no to an opportunity that might change my life. I am leaving the US in the hopes that I will find another piece of myself in a country/continent that seems to propel growth. I hope you are excited to view this development, as I take you with me virtually during these four months. Until next time, stay warm wherever you are, and always look for the good in your day. As for me? More packing. Next stop: The Land Down Under.