On Sydney, Australia, Paying it Forward and Travel in General

I woke up this morning in Sydney Australia.   My wife Stephanie and I are here on a bizcation.  I’m speaking at the Hargraves Institute Innovations 2009 Conference.  Topic: Innovative Ways to Blend Traditional and Social Media.  WHEW!  A mouthful, I assure you!

We are also meeting up with our LinkedIn connections to see the “real” Sydney, another reason why I love social media (LinkedIn in particular) so much.  We are located at the Darling Harbour Four Points Sheraton, one of many tourist spots in the area.

Last night we spent time with Michael and Wendy Webb, local Sydney residents we met through LinkedIn.  They became our local tour guides for the afternoon/evening.  Four hours later we had a better feel for the real Sydney, not just the tourist attractions.  Thanks to social media and making the connection in person, Steph were afforded a glimpse of this very fine city.

The Pay it Forward part?  The Webbs had never met us, only exchanged a dozen or so emails, and yet took time out of their Sunday afternoon to hang out with us and host two travel-weary, slightly shell shocked people.

We are, by the way, planning to do the same for  them when they come to the US in September.

This is my first out of North America business trip.  Not a lot different.  But in many ways eye opening.  I’m going to borrow a page from Ryan Allis’ recent blog on his trip to China and India and provide a few quick observations about Sydney (and Australia in general).  I hope to add to this list as the week goes on.

1. Prices, while 65 cents on the US dollar, are still high.

2. Food, for the most part, has a definitely asian influence.

3. People are friendly and open.  Hearing our “American” accents is enough to start a conversation.

4. Australian television is a combination of local sports (Cricket, Rugby), US shows about a year behind and some news.  Fascinating that you can watch NBC, CBS and ABC shows all on the same channel!

5. Accents/pronounciations are great – as I’m sure they feel the same way about our accents/pronounciations

6. What you read in guide books is not necessarily what you  get.  We’re finding that things giving great reviews are in the eye of the reviewer.

That’s it for now, I’m off to meet with a business connection and do more prepping for the conference presentation.

Stay well, travel safe, stay connected and continue to pay it forward!

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