Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

I Won a Trip to Australia from Ellen DeGeneres!

~A Guest Post by Amanda Bergeron~

Amanda near the Sydney Opera House
For years, I have submitted for tickets to see The Ellen DeGeneres Show film with no luck. I had also submitted for many different contests with no luck, until August 30, 2013.

Ellen and Portia had just done the show in Australia and my mother had gone the year before stirring my desire to travel there one day. I have traveled to many poor countries to volunteer but had never won a trip nor went anywhere as beautiful as Australia, so I started to save and was going to make that my next trip.

Ellen started a “watch and win” online contest to win a trip to Australia, and I was entering as I always did. A family friend was trying to go on his dream trip to Israel and I cleared out the money I had left to help him go on his journey on August 22nd. No good deed goes without notice, because August 30th I got a missed call from a Los Angeles number. I ran outside to check the voicemail and it was “Brian from the Ellen show.” I immediately called right back and was able to reach him. He proceeded to tell me that they got my submission and I won a trip for two to Australia!!!! Beyond excited, I was shaking as my family ran out and was in shock that it really happened. I’ve always been a very blessed girl but this blew my mind. Two days later the news called and came by and interviewed me and just kept the excitement going as no one believed it was real…and then there I was on the news about it.

My mom had been dreaming of going back to Australia to do all the things she never got to do, so she and I arrived in Sydney, Australia on December 13th, my 27th birthday. The best way to spend a birthday is looking out on the Sydney harbor at the opera house at sunset! As a photographer, Australia was something words can't describe! I took my passion for photography to a new level and tried capturing its beauty for all to see!

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Going to Australia was like stepping in a time warp of clothing and music from the 70-80’s. We enjoyed Bondi Beach, Manly Beach, Sydney Opera House, many street performers, art galleries and canvas paintings by the local Aborigines. They are truly so talented! Of course I had to buy a canvas painting and didgeridoo.

Canvas painting and didgeridoo

We also went to Taronga Zoo where we got to pet the kangaroos and laid on the ground with them. Such a nice experience to be that close to such powerful animals.

Since Australia is so close to the equator it provided a tan in 1 day that would take you 2 weeks to get here in the USA which was an amazing thing to take back.

There were very healthy people in Australia. Everyone walks everywhere and takes the subway/train which was SURELY a task to tackle in itself, learning which train and which level as there are 3-4 floors of trains all going different directions.

The food in Australia was so fresh!!! Portions were SO MUCH smaller which helped us lose weight while down under haha. Their medium drinks at McDonald's were our kids size.

For days I would see people waving at me and pointing, not knowing what was going on until I asked and they said that they thought that I was Portia (I have her haircut). It struck up conversation and the next question that followed was “Omg Ellen sent you here??! IS SHE HERE?” Sadly I had to let them down that she was not.

Australia had to be the most friendly and beautiful place I had ever seen!

  Bondi Beach

We got lost A LOT, but everyone was so generous and helpful. The people were BEAUTIFUL physically as well as personally so nice! It was so different to talk to people that had literally NO attitude… they truly had “ No Worries” and didn’t mind if you stopped to ask directions and most of the time would walk to you where you needed to be! Everyone had so much fun with our southern Louisiana accents and I’m guessing our clothes and style stood out more than what I thought.

On our way back home from Down Under, I stopped to visit Los Angeles, where I have always dreamt of living. It was everything I thought it was and more. And I was able to see family I had not seen in years.
We tried getting tickets to Ellen, but it was during 12 Days of Giveaways and the show was CRAZY booked, so we were unable to thank her in person, but we enjoyed our few days in California paradise before heading home from the best vacation EVER!

The author on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Hollywood, California)

The Ellen DeGeneres Show gave me the trip of a lifetime with my mom that I will never forget!!!

I did this in December 2013.
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Jen's visit to the Ellen DeGeneres Show Riff-Raff Room

Jen's review of a taping of the Ellen DeGeneres Show

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Guest Post by Lisa Nasco: I went to a taping of the Ellen Show!