Every once in a great while now I find myself writing a blog entry; it doesn’t happen as frequently as it once did, and perhaps this is for the best. The purpose of these blogs are supposed to be to inspire applicants to take a good hard look at the Academy itself and what they are signing up for. At this point in my cadet career, I am more than four years distant from where those applicants are. A lot has changed in four years, and while I try and keep a hand involved with Admissions especially via serviceacademyforums.com, I feel as though it is somehow right that I am letting the younger cadets write more, rather than inundating the site with my writings. I feel at this point in my cadet career, as I approach my last semester, that I may also have become a tad jaded and so it is only fitting that my blog this time concerns little to do with the Academy itself, but rather with the fun things that you have a chance to do while on leave.
This year, like last, I traveled over 28 hours home to visit my family stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The flight was long as usual but I was more than happy to get home, kick back, relax and enjoy some family time. I spent my first few days touring the island, making my family do all the touristy stuff that nobody does when they live there: we went scuba diving, visited the aquarium on the northern end of the Island, went beach combing, swimming and just hung out. This year was a mirror of last year, with one small exception: this year my family decided to take a vacation during my leave… to Australia. Six days into my time at home my family packed up four suitcases and headed down to the airport, boarded a plane with 13 other Americans going on the tour and flew to Sydney, Australia via Taipei, Taiwan. I spent five amazing days in Sydney, including Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I walked around the Opera House, toured the Rocks and Quay, hiked in the blue mountains and explored as many nooks and crannies of downtown Sydney that I could. During this time I even got a chance to pet a koala! It was an adventure and a half.
Following those days in Sydney, I had the opportunity to spend some time up north in Brisbane, Australia. I traveled to the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo and saw some of the Australian rain forest. It was a nice end to my time in the Southern Hemisphere and on the 30th of December, I flew back to Okinawa Japan to end my time at home and my leave.
The Academy is fine, but what really makes this four years great is the things you do on leave. With the little time you have away, it’s important to always remember to make that time special and memorable, and there’s no better way to do that than to explore the world with your family.
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