Posted by: DSprockett | March 23, 2013

Where In The World Has Dan Been?

When we first started dating, Andrea and I often traveled places separately, even when we were headed to the same destination. Since I was living near Cleveland and she was in Pittsburgh, it seemed to make sense.  However, we quickly grew to hate it, mostly because it felt like we were being robbed of that valuable travel time together.  Life is about the journey, as they say. So when Andrea and I first found out we were headed to Australia in early 2013, I was very adamant that we needed to travel there together.

However, I also knew that because I wanted to start a PhD program in fall of 2013, I would need to go on college interview visits around the same time that we’d be leaving. As the interview offers started arriving in early January, it became obvious that my visits would overlap with Andrea’s graduate school orientation.  She needed to be in Australia by mid-February, but I needed to stay in the US for interviews until March 3rd.

So well before we both worked our last day in Cleveland on February 12th, we knew that our travel plans would be sending us apart.  I interviewed at Case Western Reserve University on February 11th, and then we headed west from Cleveland to Chicago. Andrea visited her brother, Nick, while I interviewed at the University of Chicago. From there we continued on to Lincoln, NE, so we could visit the rest of Andrea’s family before we left.

Andrea had only a few short days in Lincoln before she flew on to Sydney  (necessitating 36 hours of travel through Houston and Los Angeles), but I had a few detours to make first.  I spent Wednesday-Sunday of the following week in the mountains visiting the University of Colorado at Boulder, narrowly missing a major snow storm, and returned back to Lincoln in time to tidy up a few last minute details before leaving the country. You know, minor details like filing taxes — which are easily forgotten in the excitement of moving to a new country. The IRS doesn’t forget so easily, however.  I was also carded for the first time in ages while trying to buy a beer in Colorado, only to discover that my drivers license expired the following week!  I had already left Ohio at that point, though, and am now therefore navigating the convoluted process of renewing it from abroad.  Details. Minor details.

Dan hamming it up on a hiking trip in Boulder, CO

Dan hamming it up on a hiking trip in Boulder, CO

After wrapping things up in Lincoln, I finally flew off to interview at Stanford University before heading on to Sydney.  As I alluded to with my expired driver’s license comment, I also celebrated my 29th birthday in Palo Alto, CA, but the current graduate students went out of their way to make me feel at home. They even helped celebrate by getting me a special birthday cupcake from a local bakery. If you have to be away from your friends & family on your birthday, Stanford is not a bad place to do it!

In the end, I made it to Sydney 12 days after Andrea, and was very happy to settle in after more than a month of shuffling around the country.  During our time apart, Andrea was quite busy setting things up and getting acquainted with the city (and the beach). As you can see from the map below, the 11,000+ miles I traveled to get to Australia was not the most direct path, but in the end it was very much worth it.

Dan's Path To Australia

Dan’s Wonky Path to Australia



  1. […] mentioned before that my birthday this year fell on a day that I would have to be interviewing at Stanford, and […]

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