Arabella’s Misadventures

Disclaimer:  The images shown are irrelevant to this post but show you how we spent some of our time in the Southern Highlands.



As most of you are aware, my daughter, on a whim, went on-line and bought herself an airline ticket to the USA.  She had an idea in her head that traveling solo to the other side of the world would be a good idea.  She also thought that staying in youth hostels in dodgy corners of LA would also be fabulous.

There's a great lolly shop in Berrima

There’s a great lolly shop in Berrima

So here’s an update on how things are going, 10 days into her adventure.

I think I let you know there were tears at the airport; tears of bewilderment from Arabella and tears of I-think-I-know-how-this-will-pan-out from me.

All they do is eat

All they do is eat

After her 30-hour route-march to LA via China, my sister met her at the airport and brought her to her house for some jet-lag recovery and a home-cooked meal.  They did invite Arabella to stay for more than 24 hours and I did yell through the Viber connection that she should take them up on their kind offer, but she was determined to move on to the youth hostel on Venice Beach.

Our fire-side seats - better than watching TV

Our fire-side seats – better than watching TV

At Venice Beach she found her eyes popping out of her head with all the unusual sights of the human kind and suddenly realised that being alone on the other side of the world isn’t as romantic as it seemed.

The fire the boys built and insisted on lighting the traditional way without fire-starters

The fire the boys built and insisted on lighting the traditional way without fire-starters

She survived a day or two then organised transport to Disneyland where she toured the theme park all alone.  She became very lonely and decided to go on one final ride before heading back to the hostel.  But on that ride she met some lovely girls about her age who were also from Sydney and they invited her to join them for the rest of the day.  What could have been a lonely day at Disneyland turned out to be a day of new friendships and lots of fun – things that align with the spirit of Disney!

The fire comes alive

The fire comes alive

Arabella left the Venice Beach hostel for a hostel in Santa Monica but there the loneliness set in.  There were desperate attempts to reach me and her father but our phones were out of range and so she called her brother and said, ‘I’m so homesick; I just want a home-cooked meal and to sleep in my own bed’, which is hysterical given when she’s here she fails to eat at home or sleep in her bed.

Alfie covering his face from the heat

Alfie covering his face from the heat

But she recovered as some people invited her to spend 4th of July with them.  She also had a night with my sister, Em, and her husband and their friends as they entertained 10 for dinner.

Yes, that's a big fire

Yes, that’s a big fire

She insisted on being dropped back to the youth hostel where she was bright and bubbly and full of confidence.  To the uninitiated, it would seem that all was rosy but Miss Arabella can be more fragile than the confident exterior she exudes.



The next morning Viber went into overload.  All I could hear on the other end of the phone was sobbing.  ‘Mum, I’m so lonely; I’m just so homesick, I’m all alone in this youth hostel and there’s nothing to do and I don’t know what to do’.

‘Why aren’t you staying with Em?’

‘I don’t want to intrude.  They have other guests so I don’t want to impose’.

‘They’ve invited you to stay so take them up on their offer.  While you’re in LA you have family who can look out for you; unlike when you get to New York.  In New York you have no contacts so make the most of the family connections you have while in LA’.

‘Mum, I don’t know what I’m going to do in New York.  Can you come to New York with me?’  And I’ve had this feeling that this was how Arabella’s solo excursion around the world might play out.

‘Mum, can you come?’

Because one fire is never enough

Because one fire is never enough

So today I booked myself a flight to New York.  It’s an economy flight and if I had just a couple more frequent flyer points I would be able to upgrade but alas, rules are rules and being a few beans short, I’m stuck in economy.  For almost 30 hours.  Miss Arabella is ecstatic.  We haven’t had a holiday, just the two of us, since her early teens when she didn’t like me and I thought some time on the Great Barrier Reef might help her to see me in a new light.  And it did.



I’m looking forward to my week in New York with my one and only daughter.  I’ll move on from my Southern Highland posts to posts from the Big Apple.

I don't mind if I do

I don’t mind if I do

I must go – I need to sort out our accommodation issues!

It's so precious just how much these two special friends love each other

It’s so precious just how much these two special friends love each other

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  1. Claudia says:

    Wow! How cool for both of you! Are you sure that wasn’t the original plan? A girls holiday in New York?
    Just kidding! I think Arabella is a very lucky girl! Enjoy and take lots of photos!!

  2. Robert S says:

    Ha – too funny. She should have gone to Thailand where Uncle Buck (me) could have looked after her. ✔️

  3. How random and sweet at the same time! Good mums just can’t say no to their children, no matter what it takes! Enjoy the moment of bonding with your daughter!

    Gourmet Getaways

  4. OMG how exciting!! I’m thrilled for your impromptu holiday. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in NYC but I love it there. The theatre, the food – the vibe (think the Castle)

    Have a wonderful time and take lots of photos for us.

  5. So funny. Enjoy NYC. What a great idea. I am all for living life on a whim.

  6. How exciting! NYC will be lots of fun, but beware, it will be very hot and humid. We usually stay in the LES or Chelsea (try Kimpton Hotels a very lovely boutique chain). If you want I’ll message you some places we love and a few lovely places to eat. And shopping. Email me if you’d like my favourite spots.

  7. Looks like you’re coming to the US after all!! Enjoy your time in NYC, and you want to fly by via Denver, you’ll be welcome here! xx

    • Thanks so much, Nazneen. I sure wish it wasn’t such a rushed trip. I’m sure this visit will ignite my desire for more visits to the USA and I’ll definitely put Denver on my list of ‘must visit’ places. I’d love to meet up one day, Nazneen!

  8. So excited for you to travel with Arabella. Bummer that we will miss each other in NYC by a few weeks! Let me know if you need any recommendations. My college BFF lives there and knows EVERYTHING about NYC. XO.

  9. A mother – daughter visit to NYC how exciting for the two of you. It will be great fun and I can’t wait to hear about it.

  10. I’m so excited for you!!! Yay! Ive never been and it is so on my list of things to do… I think I will need to go for a least 1 month just to New York to try all the food things that I want to experience! I can’t wait to hear back about all your adventures. Liz x PS i love the Berrima sweet shop!!!

  11. Arabella is one gutsy gal for braving those hostels!
    But so glad you two will have a vacation together – you are a wonderful mom Charlie! Hope y’all have a blast in NYC – and if yall decide to come down to Atlanta – I will make y’all some navy bean cheesecakes 🙂 Safe travels!

  12. How wonderful for Arabella you can drop and go. I remember when I was first in Stockholm how lonely it was, 6 months without home comforts! I hope you have a great time, full of Big Apple fun together. GGx

  13. OMG!! This is the most hilarious, touching, beautiful post ever. Charlie, you are so bad, bringing that lump….never mind. This is so typical isnlt it? I am glad she made this trip. You have your daughter back ever earlier than most – normally it takes a marriage and a lot of cribbing to get to this realization.

    The holiday is going to be fantastic. And if you find time, your most welcome to visit Boston and stay with us if you like ( we are about 30 miles away). Good Luck!!

  14. What a great and unexpected adventure you will get to have – NYC is really something! So glad that you get to spend some special time with your daughter too 🙂

  15. Oh boy…you two will have loads of fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it! 🙂 xo

  16. It’s fortunate that you were able to pick up and go to New York on such short notice. And now, to turn lemons into lemonade and have a great time in the Big Apple with your girl. Lots to see and do, I bet. Have fun.

  17. Poor Arabella! It can be so stressful to be so far from familiar people and surroundings. You two are sure to have a great time here, although it’s very hot and sticky outside.

  18. Poor thing. You’re a good mother to head over to NY to be with her. Hope you two have a wonderful time!

  19. Oh I am very jealous. Have a wonderful time Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  20. Oh, I am laughing – remember when I said my sister’s first Europe trip involved my Mum flying her across?! It seems that isn’t so unique an experience after all 😉 It will be a wonderful time for you both though, once you get there, and I can’t wait to hear about it. Good on you for going to her rescue too.

  21. Oh, wow, I did not expect this ending to this travel tale. But how wonderful that you can spend this time alone with Arabella. Enjoy. And welcome to the US!

    If you fly west, you can visit Wisconsin and then the Mall of America across the border in Minnesota.

  22. Good for you to spend some quality mother-daughter time together all the way in New York!

    Yeahhhh! Xxx Thanks for the photos of your little get-away camping! Xxx

  23. That is so great that you are going to meet Arabella in New York! That will be so much fun for the two of you. I’m sorry that her adventures aren’t what she had hoped. Traveling alone can be difficult – and lonely at times. Have a safe and wonderful trip!!! If you end up on a layover in Chicago, let me know! 🙂

  24. Too funny, even though I can relate totally to how you must have felt when she left for the other side of the world all on her own. These girls of ours are independent in many ways but when things begin to crumble it is obvious they still need their mums! Enjoy your unexpected break away.

  25. Ruby and Rosie are so adorable. I am so excited for you Charlie. I would adore a trip to New York. How very jet set of you….look forward to hearing the stories as only you can tell them xxxx have fun

  26. Sucker! You knew this would happen though, didn’t you? I’m glad Arabella gave it a try on her own, but it’s great for her to know you’re always there too. My friends daughter set off at about the same age to teach English in China for a couple of months… She lasted a week!
    I hope you and Arabella have a wonderful time, what a shame you can’t stay longer and visit with your sister too. Have fun and keep us posted! Xox

  27. Hahaha…good for you, Charlie. Excellent – I’ll stop worrying about Arabella now.. 🙂

  28. Haha an impromptu trip to the most gorgeous location in the world – definitely can’t argue with that, have fun with Arabella 😀
    And this camping looks awesome! Who can resist a bonfire 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  29. The learning curve came sooner and was sharper than I envisaged . . . . but methinks it will lead to quite a wonderful experience for both of you . . . minute by minute, hour by hour . . . DO have fun and make wonderful unexpected memories . . .

  30. Oh, what a hard set of learnings for her. But let’s hope you both have a wonderful time in New York and it all ends up as a triumph.

  31. have a great time in NYC lucky u!

  32. Aww, so brave and grown up of Anabelle to go solo, but yes, it can be lonely. Mom comes to the rescue and what fun you’ll have together! She likes you, she really likes you!! 😉

  33. sorry to hear arabella wasn’t having the best time but ooh impromptu holiday! safe travels charlie, i know you two will have an amazing time together!

  34. What a hoot, there’s nothing like an impromptu trip. I was lucky to be in Europe where are 17, 18, 19 we could go off to exotic locations that really we’re not too far from home. But who youngsters leave Oz to travel, they really are a long way away. I had many ups and downs travelling alone, met some fab folks and ended up living here in Oz through some of them. Funnily enough I LOVE travelling alone now…. four kids will do that to you. Have a top trip, both so you ladies.

  35. Oh Charlie how exciting! I have lots of restaurant recommendations on the blog but the best Mexican was Dos Caminos. They have a few spots. So good! Have an amazing time!

  36. How sad about Arabella being so lonely but how exciting that you are going to New York! Have a great time together there.

  37. Enjoy New York!!! Love the photos from the Southern Highlands.

  38. Come hang out with me in NYC!!! We can all eat together somewhere!!

  39. Please tell her that if she comes to AZ, she is welcome here.

  40. Sometimes those unplanned holidays are the best and with your favorite girl… I know the flight is a long time and 30 hours is long but once you get there you will forget all about your jet lag.

  41. Traveling on your own can be hard. I did a lot of it when I was just out of college, and it’s definitely a skill you need to learn. I’ll bet you’ll enjoy your unscheduled trip to NYC — such a great city!

  42. Oh my god. It took my parents 21 months to come and visit me.

  43. Oh no, poor Arabella. I thought that she might love it but I guess it really depends on the person! Have fun Charlie and I’m sure you’ll get lots of interesting stories out of it! 😀

  44. What a brave girl to have even tried to travel for 30 days by herself!! It’s not easy, but thank goodness we have moms to help out. I was stuck by myself at a 2 week workshop in Connecticut once, no car, no friends, and not knowing anyone. I called my mother and asked her to fly into NY on Friday, get a car and come get me for the weekend. And she did just that. We had such a fabulous mother-daughter weekend! I’m sure you and Arabella are going to have a wonderful time! Safe travels.

  45. How exciting! I was 20 when I first came to the US to study abroad. I went through some homesickness too but I was with bunch of international students and wasn’t alone. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if i was all alone! I look forward to traveling with my daughter one day… Have a great trip to NY! I love NYC!

  46. So funny! I have missed hearing your family stories with all that’s been going on in our crazy life. Time for some catch up! Looking forward to hearing all about YOUR trip to the Big Apple. You’ll get to leave winter and head into a toasty, humid, summer for a bit.

  47. Not all adventure turns out to be exciting! Disneyland alone? A hostel in Venice Beach? I’ve been thinking of posting about Venice Beach but I’m afraid to take pictures and have someone rip the camera out of my hand. Such a place! You’re such a good mum!

  48. Isn’t it funny how what you wish for when you are homesick can be what you shun when you are home but what you know is always there for you at home. Just catching up on this before I read about your trip with Arabella. Sounds like a great learning experience for her even if it is a tough one

  49. That’s so exciting, Charlie and you will have an absolute ball! New York is the most amazing city and it will be such a lovely trip for you two girls to share together … can’t wait to read all about it!

  50. Predicable, but very exciting for you! I’m off to New York City in September & just can’t wait!

  51. You are a seriously awesome mum hun – how exciting and special for you both xx

  52. Oh my, poor thing!! LA is a crazy place for a young girl alone. Next time she should tour San Francisco (I may be biased, but it is so much better than LA ;))

  53. I was wondering on IG how you ended up in NYC but haven’t been able to catch up on my reading until now. You are a wonderful mom, although of course you got a nice holiday out of it ;o)))

  54. Hi Charlie 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful trip in NYC! i’ve followed your journey through instagram and also read your blog posts just haven’t had the chance to comment. Poor Arabella it must be hard travelling by herself, but I’m glad it’s another English speaking country! Either way great excuse to spend some good quality time together!


  1. […] you all for your kind wishes and positive comments regarding my imminent trip to New York to be with Miss Arabella who now knows, solo-travel is not for everyone.  It’s truly lovely […]

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