"Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable."

The second part is true. But the first is dependent on where you go. If the destination is Australia, then the first is most definitely false.

Over the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to not only sit in a tight space for a total of 28 hours flying to and from Australia, but also the chance to experience new culture and means of living. Everyone these days say to travel before it is too late, and my immediate thought when I got an email to represent the Saint Leo women's lacrosse team was "Mom, I'm checking Aussie off my bucket list, and I'm going to hold a koala."

Lacrosse at a Glance

I have been involved with a lacrosse team since seventh grade, and ever since I started, I never went a week without touching my stick. There have been many ups and downs within the sport, but that's the game, and that's life in general. Growing into the sport has given me an escape from the real-world obstacles in my life, and it has allowed me to become a stronger person. Without lacrosse, I would not be who or where I am today.

My journey through lacrosse has been among different teams and through many coaches, but every event has led to where I am today. I have played almost every position in the sport and incorporating other sports that I did in high school has made me more versatile on the field. When my friends cannot find me, I am seen at the wall playing music and working on my stick skills or on the field shooting around. At home, I am no different. I coach 2019 and some 2020s for the Greene Turtle Lacrosse Club. Coaching the girls has made my communication more effective, and I get to see the girls grow in the game that I have so much passion for.

Why Saint Leo

When searching for colleges, I was going every which way in the recruiting process. Luckily, I came in touch with great people who steered me in the right direction. That direction was right to Saint Leo University, nearly 992 miles away from where I lived. I knew that God intended for my path to be at distance from Delaware in order to truly figure out where I wanted to go with my life after college.

After researching more about Saint Leo's programs, I quickly learned that I had to visit the coach and lacrosse team. I had to see the place where I would live for the next four years. Now in my third year of college, I have seen the person I want to be slowly coming into effect through new experiences in the major of Marketing, the sports teams on campus, and exploring the area of Dade City.

Australia in the Winter

Yes, I visited Australia during their winter, and yes, it was actually very cold. That had to be the second uncomfortable part of the adventure in Australia since I was so used to the Florida heat and summer sun, but I adjusted quickly. The first uncomfortable part of the adventure was definitely the flight. I spent almost two whole days in the air between the flight from Philadelphia to Las Angeles to get to Australia and back, followed by mini trips to fly throughout the country. All of it was worth it and always will be worth the long plane ride. Anyone can gather that from the views themselves.

I spent my lacrosse tour living in three cities in Australia. We began in Sydney where we got to live the tourist life, traveled to Cairns where we went from the highs and lows of this beautiful planet, and lastly ended our tour in Melbourne where we rode along the Great Ocean Rode and saw magnificent views. Throughout the trip, I expected to cross many things off my bucket list. I got the chance to feed a kangaroo, hold a koala, swim in the Great Barrier Reef, and see the Twelve Apostles. What I did not expect to cross off were the many cultural experiences that I got while there.

First of all, culture shock number one… they do not tip, and they do not believe in free refills! Water, in some places, gets refilled, but when you have a bunch of starving and thirsty lacrosse players and do not provide refills, we quickly realize we need to hoard some water bottles in the room.

As we walked around and toured the cities, we observed a lot of the same things, but restaurants tended to be the main difference we picked up on since we were hungry athletes 24/7. There were much nicer "fast food" places, especially McDonald's and even ice cream shops! The family and minimal restaurants resembled what our fancy restaurants would typically look like, only smaller in size and space. The food prices appeared to be higher, but still less than what they are in the U.S. because our dollar is equal to $1.39 over there. One major thing in regard to food we all noticed was when it was a Tuesday, and we all craved tacos. There were barely any places for tacos… Australia is closer to Asia than the States are, so the food that is more common is Asian-style cuisine while ours is Hispanic-style. (a major upset to "hangry" athletes!

What wasn't upsetting were the breathtaking views of the country. Driving along the Great Ocean Road was so calming and so blissful to think that God created such amazing scenery for us to enjoy. The road made for a journey within the journey, but it was worth it to see another side of the country. Built by soldiers of World War I, it seems to be a connection point of everything Australia has to offer. The multiple terrains along the road allow all sorts of events to be held on the Great Ocean Road and are a part of the largest war memorial.

Being able to witness the skill and dedication that went into the making of the road made me cherish what I had been given in this life. God has provided me with gracious opportunities, Australia being only one, and being able to spread my name and logo of Saint Leo around makes it that much better.

About the author: Delaney Chrisco is a third-year marketing major at Saint Leo University. She plans to pursue her MBA at Saint Leo as well. Something interesting about her is that she gets hiccups every day. She hopes to start her own fitness-related business in the future.

Photo credit: The photographs included in this blog article were provided by Delaney Chrisco and are used with permission.