‘Why am I hanging off the helicopter?’
I asked a loud while I stared up the blades whirring high above. Looking down again, I had to breathe in hard while we passed at death-defying heights over the panoramic Sydney Harbour Bridge and the beautiful Sydney Opera House.
The sky was a clear blue and the deeper blue sea twinkled in the sun’s reflection. But yet, I was hanging on for dear life on the foot rest of the helicopter and I was dangling in the sky with nothing to stop me from falling thousands of feet into the city of Sydney below. I thought I was pretty adventurous. And what I was about to do was a complete leap of faith.
I let go.
Have you ever felt the need to do that? Defy death? Stare in its hooded face and laugh?
‘I’m falling!’ I calmly remarked as I made the urge to let go.
The sweet dulcet tones of the Qantas stewardess whispered into my ear,
‘Are you sure? Let me fix that for you.’
Hands grabbed the side of my head and soon my vision was dark. No longer could I see the mesmerizing city below and soon I was back into the warm and dark room deep in the heart of Soho in London, thousands of miles away. I glanced up, rubbing my eyes and saw the stewardess pressing a few buttons on the headset I was wearing moments before.
Sorry, readers, I wasn’t actually at Sydney. I was in virtual reality.
I was here for a travel event laid on by Qantas Airlines to promote the most famous city in Australia, Sydney. They were showcasing the best of Sydney through the means of barbecue food, Australian wine (yes!), the flora and of course, a chance to delve into the virtual reality to explore Sydney for yourself without having to leave the creature comforts of home.
The chance to win return flights to Sydney did not factor into my visit at all. Really. (I lie).
‘Try it again’, the blonde and chirpy stewardess placed the headset around my head, avoiding pressure onto my hearing aids.
This time I was on the ground in Sydney. I could see the harbour stretch out before me. I gasped again. This is where I started my walking tour those three years ago!
See more: Peeking in Sydney – a free walking tour
After ten more minutes, I had enough and opted to mosey on down to watch a video presentation before clocking Make New Tracks and Lines of Escape swigging back the Australian beer. It’s also a great chance to network with new people as I soon discovered meeting The Cosy Traveller and Wit Wit Woo.
Soon, the prize draw came about. Would I be returning to Sydney, my favourite Australian city?
But the woman who did, totally deserved it. She was overjoyed to the point she burst into tears. She said she hadn’t been before and you couldn’t help feeling happy for her. I had a great time there and I’m sure she will too.
Would I go back to Sydney? Of course, I will. I just need another chance, don’t I?
But what would I go back for? I asked Qantas for some ideas.
‘How about Sydney Mardi Gras?’
They sent me over some photos for inspiration.
What do you think? Would you go to Mardi Gras? Taking place in February every year, it’s a great opportunity to see Sydney at another perspective where tourists and locals come together for parties and revels.
I think I’m going to be there. So, Qantas, book my tickets. I’m going on that plane.