After spending two weeks in Australia, I was left with this resounding message: Choose different over same. The thought originally hit me when I saw a shirt that read choose love over hate.  We all know that message.  But then, I was continuously overwhelmed by just how many people live in this world. Sydney is massive. Not just because of the number of people but it is a city that never just keeps rolling along into the continent. I then began to think about how, with a world so vast, what really connects it and makes it special. Our similarities and shared interests/experiences definitely bind us, but I honestly believe it is our differences that make the interwoven stories fascinating and worth telling. So that was my first thought, choose different over same. Choose to have a conversation with someone who is nothing like you.  Choose different because same does not stand out.  Choose different because it has already chosen you. Enrichment lies in that learning. The same is often safe. And I feel like I can say that as a person who prefers routines and itineraries.  It is when we learn to connect and love with those not like us that we really become something. 
This theme emerged later in the trip as we explored the Central Coast (which I highly recommend).  We happened upon Ettalong Beach because of a silent auction certificate we had “won” a year ago and it was the closest location available to Sydney. We had no idea what to expect except for a few reviews on TripAdvisor and still we really chose to just go with the flow for the week.  Ettalong is a small beach town surrounded by incredible coastal landscapes and a car/boat ride away from endless destinations.  Now, Amanda is much more adventure-oriented than I am.  My idea of vacation is a book, a nap, a cocktail…you get the picture.  But, we live at the beach now (boohoo, right!) so adventure was the name of the game in Australia.
In a recent podcast, Amanda learned about getting ourselves out of ruts to promote greater creativity. The speaker encouraged listeners to say yes to something or someone that we’ve said no to nine times.  Make the tenth time count.  That was our approach in the central coast.  Say yes! Choose to try a new food that otherwise you may never have access to at home. Choose to adopt a culture’s patterns out of respect to them instead of adhering to your own. Choose to hike to a lighthouse you will never see again.  Choose to learn something new and completely out of your comfort zone.  Choose different over same. You never know where a YES will take you!