For months I planned – I may have actually bought tickets to all the concerts before I even had approval from work to take the time off. (Spoiler – I did) I booked flights, I researched things that I wanted to do while I was there and narrowed it down to 3 “must do” activities – Sydney Opera House, hold a koala and see Hobbiton. Combine I Was Born with The Hobbit – and I was born to be going on an adventure!
Little did I know just how much of an adventure it would end up being. Immediately upon checking in at the airport I was told that my flight was delayed and there was no other flights that could get me to Dallas any sooner. Instead of an hour layover I was down to 30 minutes and while I might make the flight – my bags most likely wouldn’t. I grabbed some winter clothes out of my luggage, threw it in my carry on and hoped for the best.
The best turned out to be my flight to Dallas ending up so delayed I wouldn’t make it until an hour after my flight to Sydney took off and I’d be in Dallas for the night, off to Los Angeles the next day (worried I’d end up in LA with only winter clothes!) and then straight from LA to Melbourne that night, losing a day of sightseeing in Melbourne. (I am so, so glad I planned in that extra day so I only missed sight seeing and didn’t miss any of my must dos or any Hanson shows!)
Before I had left my coworkers were teasing me for never having had an “In N Out” burger and said I needed to hit up a Hanson show in California next. Well, there wasn’t a Hanson show but I made sure to leave LAX and head to a super packed In N Out just up the street from the airport. It was worth the effort. I wish I could have hung out in LA a bit more, but my “Premium Economy” ticket was downgraded to regular old “Economy” when I missed my flight so I had to head back to the airport to get that straightened out. (I never did.)
By the time the flight from LA took off I felt like it was 1am so I slept the majority of the flight and I also fell asleep during every movie I tried to watch – Beauty and the Beast, Fantastic Beasts and Trolls. The only thing I managed to stay awake to watch was Netflix’s The Ranch. Landed in Melbourne at 7am and hit the ground running. That evening I thought that I might fall asleep for the first time during a Hanson concert, but I pushed through. After that I adjusted pretty well to the time change despite everyone asking if I was feeling alright and wondering about any jet lag.
Everyone I met that didn’t already know me or wasn’t a Hanson fan thought I was nuts when my friends would say, “And this is Katie. She is from the States! She came here to see Hanson!” Most were wondering if Hanson never played shows in the states and then my friends would say “Oh we were just there in May to see them!” Wait but… if you’re from the States and they play the States… why are you in Australia? Um, why not? It was somewhere I’ve always wanted to go and it was a good excuse to go AND see my favorite band… And KOALAS!
Day 2 added to the adventure when I slipped in the shower, punched a potted plant on the way down and it smashed and sliced open 4 of my fingers. We got me all bandaged up and then I ended up covered in super glue which led to the joke of the trip that they broke me and then tried to glue me back together again. Slowly each finger healed and by the time I got to New Zealand I was in pretty good shape, although one finger is still sore even now.
After Melbourne we were off to Canberra and then to Sydney. Since we had seats for the show we headed to cross off the first item on my must-do list which was to see the Sydney Opera House. We opted to not take any tours since they didn’t seem really handicapped friendly and we had already missed the tour that removed all the stairs from it. So while we couldn’t actually go inside it was cool to walk around and see the bridge and the docked cruise ships.
After 2 nights in Sydney and a Members Only Event where we got to meet the guys and get tourist suggestions from Zac (Only 1 of which we did – since it was already on my list) we were off to Queensland via a flight from Sydney. You don’t need to show your ID or ticket to get through security and I was thoroughly confused the whole time we were at the airport since it was so, so different from in the US!
Since we had another seated show in the Gold Coast we headed up to the Australia Zoo before hand so that we could cuddle a koala! We also fed kangaroos and saw some dingos. And to add to the adventure, the koala, named ‘Tato, pooped on me. We also saw a baby koala that we probably otherwise wouldn’t have noticed thanks to some kids screaming “THERE’S A BABY KOALA!” when we were watching them sleep in their trees!
Gold Coast and Brisbane is when the tour started catching up to us, and my friend Nat ended up so sick she couldn’t even go to the Brisbane show. 🙁 I was hoping that whatever it was would hold off for a few more days so I could finish off my trip and then get sick when I got home (be careful what you wish for)
At the airport on the way to New Zealand I saw Hanson at baggage check and said hello – Taylor commented that I was going on quite an adventure – and he didn’t even know the half of it! Turns out, Hanson was on my flight to New Zealand. They went straight to do press upon landing and I went straight to take a nap. The 2 hour time difference from Australia to NZ is when things really started going downhill for me.
It turned out that with the addition of 2 members only events for this tour, my Hanson show count was going to hit #150 with the Auckland show. Everything just kind of worked out perfectly that way (and MMMBop the first night in Melbourne ended up being my 100th time hearing it live) Since they had a members only event before the show I was able to tell them I’d be hitting #150 which ended up with my getting a shout out before Penny and Me and Taylor calling me one of their most devout and dedicated fans. What!?
The grand finale of my trip was waking up at 5:30AM to take a tour of Hobbiton through Bush and Beach, who picked me up right at the hotel and took me to Hobbiton for a private tour. This company is amazing and we only had *5* people in our tour group as opposed to the other tours that were like 40! This led to our amazing guide, Sonny, personally chatting with us all and taking basically as many photos as we would like at each of the various stops along the tour. The tour was a bit difficult for me in places due to steps, but Sonny helped me out and we made it through with no injuries to report.
I arrived back home only to head to the doctors and find out that I had bronchitis and be put on antibiotics. For the next week or so no matter what time I went to bed, I woke up at 5am but I have since seemed to switch back to the correct time zone. Phew!
I know most people think I am crazy for going to see Hanson so many times and just don’t get it. And that’s ok. I can’t really explain why I do it other than it just makes me happy and I have made so many friends because of this band (world wide!) that even though I flew to the other side of the planet alone – I was never really alone. That is my happy place and when those opening chords of the opening song start – I know that I am Already Home. I can’t wait to do it all over again for 6 shows in the fall when their tour finally kicks off in the States.