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My Gold Coast Adventure with the Big Aussie Reunion

This year, Flight Centre UK joined forces with Tourism and Events Queensland, Virgin Australia and Etihad Airways to send a few lucky travellers to Australia, bringing them together with their long-lost family and friends for a 'Big Aussie Reunion'. One winner, Sophia Deighton, had such an incredible time with her dad John that she decided to share it with the world in a video blog (or as the cool kids are calling it, a 'vlog'). We caught up with the teen to find out more about the video and her Gold Coast adventure…

So Sophia, what made you apply for the Big Aussie Reunion?

We applied for the Big Aussie Reunion so we could be reunited with our aunt and uncle who are currently living in Australia. I’d never actually met them before! Travelling with my dad was great because it meant some good father-daughter time. He knows how to have fun too – and he has a great shoulder to sleep on during the long plane ride.

How did you feel when you found out you were going?

Over. The. Moon. I was honestly so happy and kind of in shock too; I couldn't believe it. I felt like the luckiest person in the world.

What was the most important thing you packed in your suitcase and why?

My camera – 100 percent. Whenever I travel anywhere interesting, my camera is essential because I want to remember everything and videography does exactly that. I currently own a Canon 600D but my dream camera is a Canon 5D Mark III.

Where was your favourite place in Australia?

The Gold Coast: the beaches, the nature, the chilled people and general atmosphere – it’s perfect. I keep telling my dad that I'd love to live there for a little bit when I'm older.

What was your favourite experience?

Surfing! If you know anything about me, you’ll know it’s always been my lifelong dream to go surfing and I think my parents definitely knew this (from me begging them to take me constantly!). Although it was my first time, it was so much fun and the surfing instructors made the whole experience enjoyable too. They promised to have us standing on our boards by the end of the lesson which everyone managed to do… I think. We went with the 'Ride a Wave' surf shop, which is located in a place called Surfers Paradise. Perfect location, isn't it?

What was it like being reunited with your family?

It felt wonderful! Particularly for my dad as he got to be reunited with his uncle Ted; they get along so well because they're so similar. For me, it was lovely getting to know my relatives. They are such happy, giving people who live really healthy lifestyles and I loved adapting to this different way of living with my dad.

If you could sum up your Australian adventure in three words, what would they be?

Thrilling. Bliss. Memorable.

We love the video you made: tell us a bit about your vlogging.

When I was about 13 I was inspired by other people vlogging online and wanted to do it myself. To edit you need to have a decent laptop, so I saved up (for eight months!) and finally purchased an Apple laptop so I could begin. I love that you can capture the highlights of your life, watch them back and remember how you felt in that exact moment.

Have you done many travel vlogs so far?

I'd done a couple before this: one in Cyprus when I travelled for a family holiday and recently when I visited Venice with my best friends. Travel vlogs are particularly my favourite because I get to experience a new place and capture all my favourite parts.

What’s next for you?

This August I'm going to Utah, to Brigham Young University (BYU) to study Media Arts (which involves film, of course) and I can't wait! I definitely want to always carry on creating content for my channel and hopefully travel to some new places and document it all. My dream job would involve the perfect combination of travel and film making.

Sounds incredible. Good luck from everyone at Flight Centre UK!

Watch Sophia’s ‘Gold Coast Adventure’ video blog below:

Written by Alexandra Cronin (Gregg)

Once a roving local news reporter and now a travel-obsessed writer/sub, I'm head-over-heels for nature, wildlife and the ocean. When I'm not getting up close to animals and sea creatures, I'm seeking out the sets of my favourite TV shows around the world. 

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