My husband Vinh and I just got back from Sydney, Australia this week.

Let’s take it back to about a month or so prior… In a 4am spur of the moment frenzy, I had found a great deal for a round trip to Sydney, and the dates happened to land on our 8 year dating anniversary, as well as the IBJJF Sydney Open. On the return flight we got a 10-hr layover in Honolulu, smack dab in the middle of the day. It was just the PERFECT way to celebrate our history together, the fates had been aligned for us! So I ran back into the bedroom and shook to wake Vinh up to check if he was ok with the idea, there were only 3 seats left available, in which he murmured, “ok, sure…” AND SO I BOOKED IT! 🙌

(He’s probably used to all the last minute, but awesome, plans I’ve made throughout our 8 years of togetherness 💖)

We planned a 7-day trip (excluding travel time) blocking out parts of the day to spend in certain areas to explore and to train jiu jitsu in preparations for the competition we signed up for. But, nothing was written in stone, aside from a few activities Vinh was able to book for us in advance (because he’s the best ever!).

Fortunately for us travelers, the Sydneyians (I’m a Houstonian, so I think that makes sense to append -ians…) we were fortunate to encounter and meet were really kind and generous, and spent time to share with us a bunch of recommendations on what to check out in the city. Their tips helped build our travel itinerary for us, and we fit in what we could manage with our limited time. What better travel advice is there other than from the city natives themselves? ☺️

I’d also like to note that the Meriton Suites Zetland we stayed at had every amenity we needed to feel right at home. We felt like we had our own apartment in the city! Our suite was decked and furnished with a bedroom, living room, bathroom, washer, dryer, kitchen, dish washer, dining area, patio. For our strength/conditioning needs, we had access to an indoor lap pool, jacuzzi, gym, and sauna, which helped us keep up with our training on a daily basis (whether in the morning before we head out into the city, or at night before we went to bed, or sometimes even both times). With all the training we did, a jacuzzi and sauna were AWESOME to help us repair. And with all the clothes we went through, having a washer/dryer in our hotel room was an absolute must as well. So, I recommend you try to find these accommodations if you ever plan to train while traveling in another city.

Sydney (rough) itinerary:


  • We arrived & explored/walked around
  • Check-in @ Meriton Suites Zetland
  • Sydney Aquarium
  • Darling Harbour
  • Dinner @ Ms. G (modern Asian)


  • BJJ @ Gracie Barra St. Peters
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Sydney Opera House (Choir of Man)


  • Buy ferry tickets @ Circular Quay
  • Ferry to Taronga Zoo & explore
  • Ferry to Manly Beach & explore
  • Ferry to Barangaroo & expore


  • BJJ @ Gracie Barra St. Peters
  • Bondi to Coogee Costalwalk
  • Refreshments @ Melonhead (smoothies)
  • Dinner @ Poke (..poke)


  • Abyss Scuba Diving
    – Dive 1 @ Magic Point
    – Dive 2 @ Henry’s Head
  • Hyde Park


  • Explored Surry Hills
  • Lunch @ Yulli’s (vegan)
  • Explored New Town
  • Dinner @ Golden Lotus (vegan Viet


  • Competed @ IBJJF Sydney Open
  • Dinner @ Spice World (hot pot)


  • Brekky @ The Grounds
  • Return flight to Houston


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