On this occasion, I visited my beautiful girlfriend Brooke - a fellow Australian who has taken up residence in New York - and is the perfect host and travel guide for me who has no sense of direction even in a city like New York that is so deliberately mapped out. I know, it astounds me too!
After my compelling week, it was time to say 'see you later' to both New York and Brooke and embark on the lengthy, but worthwhile, journey home: New York to Dallas, Dallas to Brisbane, Brisbane to Sydney.
A quick review on the morning of departure of the intended weather for Dallas revealed a warning for severe storms and tornadoes! I was not without hesitation in boarding the flight to Dallas and was filled with sheer delight and relief when those wheels touched the tarmac, all of us in one piece.
I must admit though, those feelings are nothing compared with what runs through you as an Australian when you set eyes upon the big white Kangaroo on the red tail of the Qantas aircraft and you know that is your safe ride home. I don't know why, but so many travelling Australians will say the same thing. Being overseas and seeing that tail will bring tears to your eyes. Regardless of how long you have been away from home, seeing that familiar icon, the most recognisable piece of Australia anywhere in the world, brings the same level of comfort as a loved one holding your hand.
To the entire Qantas crew on my flight, thank you. Thank you firstly for bringing me home safely to my family. Secondly, thank you for making that long journey enjoyable. You are friendly, professional and accommodating and your efforts do not go unnoticed. You are second to none.
To New York, I loved you and look forward to meeting up again one day. But Dorothy said it best when she clicked those red sparkly heels of hers and announced "there's no place like home".