In all fairness, at least one entry in this blog should've been devoted to, arguably, the most important and amazing wonders our planet has ever seen and produced - such as water, air and fire. They permeate every aspect of human life (and Life, in general) and affect everything we do - yet their very ubiquity and utter familiarity prevents us from perceiving them as wonders. Consequently, our minds subconsciously relegate them to the background - and, in our perception, they continue playing second fiddle to more unique ideas and experiences. Even if that experience is just a walk…with a complete stranger. It's the “stranger” part that transforms the experience from “routine” to “remarkable”, and it's the concept behind that remarkable experience that turns it into a true wonder.
Many people love visiting with friends - and if they could do so while traveling to another country, that would be combining the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, not everybody has friends in every country (s)he wants to travel to. Likewise, most people prefer to personalize their experiences wherever possible. It was that particular preference that brought about the “hop-on-hop-off” option offering tourists much more freedom of choice - and it took a genius mind to refine that option bringing it a step or two closer to the above-mentioned “the best of both worlds” combination. That refinement resulted in an international movement known as the “Travel Buddy”.
There are many definitions of “genius”, and some of them are ascribed to Albert Einstein. One such is “Simplicity is genius” - and if it is correct, the opposite must also be true. Indeed, what can be simpler than sending a quick email: “I am coming to your city on such-and-such date. Would you mind showing me around?”. The only problem is, who should it be sent to in those very typical cases when the sender has no friends in the city in question?! “Travel Buddy” solves that problem by finding people who love their city and know it really well - and by asking such people to share their love and knowledge with guests from elsewhere, including the same country. It's somewhat similar to relatively more traditional (by now, that is!) walking tours, but there are two important differences: the walk is completely free, and the route is negotiated between the host and the guest, rather than being set in stone.
The result is an endless variety of…essentially everything. Some “travel buddies” end up becoming personal friends, others never see each again, while still fondly remembering those several hours of sharing. Some walks are all about nature, others focus on more “touristy” destinations… In each particular case, the choice predictably depends on some combination of what the host knows, what the guest is interested in, and what the city has to offer. When it comes to Sydney, the offer inevitably includes scenes and locations like that
…or like that
…or like that
And it turns out to be entirely possible to feel that you've just learned something very important about the city, and come to know it more intimately - all that without having seen anything that city is officially famous for.