Author Archives: Colin Fowler Chapman

So it ends

Yup, it's me!

Hey!
Our trip is finally over. All of us are thrilled to be back with our friends and family. We are all freinds for life, and I am glad to have known each and every one of you. I don’t know how many of you will ever do trips with people to people again, but if you do, let me know! It was truly a pleasure to know all of you, and feel free to come back to the site anytime for photos, or email me if you have any questions.

I love all of you!
—Colin

The final leg: Charlotte to Buffalo!

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures (if I’ve still got power), follow me on Twitter!)

One more plane ride and I’m home! Hopefully, we made it in time to catch this really tight connection. Only 48-minutes. But by now, I should be on the final leg of my journey! I’m sure it will have been one to remember, and after 17 days and over 24,000 miles, I’ll be really happy to see my family.

You can follow this flight LIVE from Charlotte to Buffalo on FlightAware.com:

L.A. to Charlotte, N.C.

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures (if I still have power by this point), follow me on Twitter!)

Ok. I’ve read some real horror stories about getting through customs at LAX. The TSA and customs agents have a terrible reputation for their attitude and by most accounts really seem to hate their job, reports of 1.5 – 3 hour waits to clear customs are common. I hope that isn’t my experience.

But even so, it should be enough time for us to make the next leg of our journey home. Instead of flying to Philly, like we did on the way out, we’re going through Charlotte, N.C. It’s a shorter flight, at only 4.5 hours and we’re expected to touch down at 7:02pm in our home time zone! It’ll be a quick turnaround for the scheduled 7:50pm flight home…let’s hope no delays.

You can follow this flight LIVE from LAX to Charlotte on FlightAware.com:

Next scheduled update at 7:50pm Home Time.

The long leg home: Sydney to L.A.! (Updated-3)

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures, follow me on Twitter!)

Now it’s time to do the whole thing in reverse! I’ve posted this the day before I left Buffalo, so if what pops up here contradicts anything I’ve posted the past 17 days, that’s the reason why.

So it’s 10:15 in the morning here, and if we’re on schedule…I’m on my way back across the Pacific Ocean. I’ve been awake since about 3:00 this morning, ‘coz we had to leave our hotel at 3:45 to catch the flight from Cairns to Sydney at 5:45. Yup, another marathon!

This flight’s faster than the one coming over, with under 13 and a half hours in the air, still 7,500 miles.

But in another mind-bending-time-traveler-sort-of-weirdo scenario: this time in crossing the International Date Line, I’ll end up landing in L.A. 3 and a half hours before I left Sydney.

Yup! Take off from Sydney at 10:15am on the 25th, land in L.A. at 6:40am on the 25th.

Hey, don’t ask me…you figure it out, my brain hurts! Bet the explorers of old never had to deal with this kind of wackiness. I mean seriously…what’s a little scurvy and the threat of starvation on a months long journey floating upon undrinkable water, no land in sight and only the wind to move you along, compared to having your brain split between two different days at the same time? On second thought…not so bad…no cause to complain. I love the 21st Century!

After we touch down in L.A., we’ll have a 3:30 layover. Next scheduled update at 2:20pm, Buffalo time tomorrow, when it will still be Saturday…again… (is it Groundhog Day? Wait, is that Bill Murray with a woodchuck in first class!!? Noooooooo!)

Time to go back to sleep!


En-route, you can follow this flight LIVE from Sydney to LAX on FlightView.com and FlightAware.com. But as we discovered on the way over, our exact position may not be reliable from between 3 hours out from Sydney and within 1 hour of LAX. So, they may appear to contradict each other.

  • Qantas Logo Qantas Flight 107 (FlightView.com) (remember: you’ll need to click the “Find Flight” button on the screen following the jump) here’s a sample: Qantas Logo
  • Qantas LogoQuantas Flight 107 (FlightAware.com)

Day 17: Goodbye Australia!!! (Updated-3)

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures, follow me on Twitter!)

Can I just say that this is too early to be going ANYWHERE!!? It’s 5:45 Saturday morning and if I’m reading my itinerary right, I’ll have to be up at like 3:00am to leave with my delegation to catch this flight for the first leg of the journey home. I don’t think I’ve ever been up before dawn on a Saturday! It’s against the Teenager Code!!! It’s un-American! In fact, if Congresswoman Bachmann wants to do an investigation on un-American behavior, she can start with today’s itinerary!

Oh well…it’s also a long way off from where I’m writing this, I’ll probably have forgotten about it until the alarm goes off.

If we’re on schedule, I’m already on the plane from Cairns to Sydney, Qantas Flight 921. This is the first part of the 4-leg, 29-hour journey that brings us home! (Cairns -> LA -> Charlotte -> Buffalo) Like the flight from Melbourne to Cairns, at the time I wrote this post I wasn’t able to find a site that would track this flight live (remember they all seem to have a USA-only bias). Also like last time, my dad has agreed to update this post as-it-happens, he’s got some freaky iPhone app that does what the websites don’t.

Of course I’ll be sure to tweet when we land in Sydney, where we’ll have a blissfully-short 90-minute layover before taking the long leg from Sydney to L.A.

Next scheduled post at 8:15p.m. Buffalo time (10:15a.m. Saturday, Aussie time).

They’re aloft!

Day 16: Our last full day in Australia!

Yup, it's me!

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures, follow me on Twitter!)

Like I said on yesterday’s scheduled post, this seems so far off in the future, I can’t even imagine how I’ll feel by the time this day comes. But with this being the experience it promises to be, I think I’m probably going to be a little sad that this is coming to an end, but glad to be within two days of coming home to see my family.

Today is the day we see the tropical rainforest (a big change from the much cooler Melbourne, Sydney, and Canberra), as well as meet some real Aboriginal people! I love ancient cultures and am really looking forward to this part of the experience to learn what makes these people unique and how they influenced the culture of the immigrants who came here and vice-versa.

Here’s our itinerary for today:

Day 15: Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef

Yup, it's me!

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures, follow me on Twitter!)

I’m sure I’ll feel by the time this day rolls around, that I’ll have experienced some really great things. But this promises by far to be one of the greatest experiences ever!

I’m a little sad, because among the things that the global climate change we’re experiencing is affecting, is the Great Barrier Reef (link | link | link), which is dying off at an alarming rate. In fact, I heard a while ago that if you want to see the Reef in any measure of its once spectacular grandeur, that one needed to visit sometime in the next 10 years…that was two years ago.

Yet, there seems to be cause for hope, from just earlier this year when one report stated,

“a combination of occurrences has seemingly regenerated a damaged part of the reef near the Great Keppel Islands, with researchers saying the recovery has been at a rate 10 times faster than usual.”

Cause for hope! But nevertheless, I’m grateful for the opportunity to witness this natural wonder no matter what happens.

Here’s today’s itinerary:

  • We’ll cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef across pristine waters.
  • While there, we’ll snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and see brightly colored tropical fish, giant clams and different types of soft and hard coral.
  • A Marine Biologist joins our delegation, to answer any questions we come away with from our exploration of the Reef.

Day 14: Melbourne to Cairns

Yup, it's me!

(Post scheduled in advance. For current updates and pictures, follow me on Twitter!)

Today, we’re on to our final “uncharted” destination before returning to the United States: Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef!

If we’re on schedule I’m on Qantas Flight 702 right now. Unfortunately, at the time I wrote this I wasn’t able to find a site that would track this flight live (they all seem to have a USA-only bias), so my dad has agreed to update this post as-it-happens. Of course I’ll be sure to tweet when we land.

Going from Melbourne (in the south…closer to the pole) to Cairns (in the north…closer to the Equator), is going to be a lot like going from Buffalo to Orlando during Spring Break (never actually done that…that’s just what my dad said). Cairns is subtropical, and a lot warmer than any place we’ve been so far in the “Land Down Under.” My dad’s going to post screen shots of the weather in both places the day we travel.

Here’s our itinerary:

  • We bid farewell to Melbourne and catch our flight to Cairns (said that already!)
  • Touch down Cairns: a cosmopolitan city nestled in Far North Queensland, amid two of Australia’s most treasured World Heritage destinations: the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
  • We’ll “encounter Australia’s unique fauna”, including more koalas(!), kangaroos(!), crocodiles (!!!!), and wombats (lol…the word makes me laugh…like “kumquats”…also one of my dad’s favorite MadLibs words), as we visit a wildlife sanctuary.
  • We’ll even get to have our photo taken with a koala. I’m uncomfortable about holding them though…I hear it shortens their lifespan :’-(


View P2P Australian Discovery Tour Travels through Australia in a larger map

Weather in Melbourne, today

Weather in Melbourne, today

Weather in Cairns, today

Weather in Cairns, today