Everyone says that travel is one of those things that enrich a person, and people travel for many reasons. For fun, for study, for adventure, for a change of pace ... I firmly believe that the best thing you can take away from going somewhere new are the memories you make, and I'm already so excited about the memories I'll make on this trip to the Gold Coast and Cairns in Queensland, Australia.
Lucky for me (very lucky for me) I didn't have to go through a complicated application process for this opportunity. My travelling companions, however, did.
This February, Hong Kong Airlines is taking nine local students from Memorial Secondary School, Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School, Hong Kong Taoist Association Ching Chung Secondary School, and Chong Gene Hang College on the Hong Kong Airlines Embrace the World Student Sponsorship Programme - Best of the Best Australia Tour. But to take part in this incredible trip, the students' schools had to apply with Hong Kong Airlines to go on a sponsored trip that's along one of the Airline's designated routes. Upon their return, the students wrote a report, which served as their application for this Australia Tour. Only the best reports were shortlisted for the coveted spots.
No wonder these nine spots are coveted, some of the activities included are visiting the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, learning to surg, and trying indoor sky diving.
"I'm excited about everything on this trip," says Mimi To Wing-yiu, 14, Christian and Missionary Alliance Sun Kei Secondary School. "I'm all for adventure, and I'm especially excited about indoor sky diving.
Friends Sunny Chua Tsz-hong, 15, and Andrew Chung Ngo-jing, 14, both of Chong Gene Hang College both share Mimi's enthusiasm.
"I've never tried surfing before, and I'm excited to give it a try," Andrew says.
Sunny is thrilled to be on the trip, and for him, "learning about Australia and the culture there" is what he's most looking forward to.
As for me, I've only stopped in Queensland very briefly when I was 18 years old. So, a while ago. I grew up in Sydney, which is further down south in New South Wales, and it's been more than five years since I last visited.
So, I'm incredibly thrilled and grateful to be going on this trip, and that those feelings play a steady baseline in my excitement right now. But over that, there is a melody of relief. Because I feel like I'm going home.