Prologue It has now been just over a month since we got back from what is probably our biggest adventure yet. At 28 days, this was the longest holiday we ever had. This trip also took us once around the world. We flew from Manchester to Sydney, cruised from Sydney to Seattle and then flew from Seattle back to Manchester. This was also a trip of firsts. This was my first trip to Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. It was the first time crossing the equator and the international date line by ship. I can now consider myself a trusty shellback and I understand what Groundhog Day must have felt like. At least we did not have to redo everything on the second day. This was also very much a trip of cultural immersion. We were able to sample the food that the locals eat and interact with some of the local people in both New Caledonia and Fiji. This is something that for some reason we had never done before and something I immensely enjoyed. I got to cross a number of items of my bucket list. This included seeing the Sydney Opera House, meeting a koala and swimming in waterfall pools. Add to this plenty of time to relax and doing various things that I enjoy and this was a really spectacular trip. There will be plenty of photos, but here is a sneak preview of some of the highlights: Unfortunately not all of this trip was sunshine and rainbows. There was some sadness, too. I actually had to bite the bullet and purchase some internet on the ship as I had committed to blogging on our company Facebook page and internet access was not always easy to come by in the ports. As soon as I managed to get online, I got the sad news that my dear friend Polly @Paula Sedley-Burke had sadly passed away very suddenly. Although she had struggled with ill health for many years, she always stayed positive. She was an extraordinary person and I am privileged to have been able to call her a friend. She has followed my trip reports for a number of years and I was always looking forward to seeing what her take on my experiences was. I have to admit that once I received this sad news I was not at all sure if there would be a trip report for this trip as I just could not face writing one in the knowledge that she would not get to read this and I would not get to enjoy her comments. However, I know only too well what her reaction would have been to me not doing a trip report because of her. I can literally hear what she would say to me. So I have decided to go ahead with this trip report, but still follow my heart. I would like to dedicate this trip report to Polly’s memory. I know she will live on in the hearts and memories of many of us.