Tuesday, July 5, 2016

#30HGaustralasia Plans for 2016: 'Australian Boomers Farewell Series' in Melbourne and a Texas NBA Road trip

Approaching the midpoint of 2016, I'd made no travel plans for the year. In an instant, I locked two Basketball trips this past month. The '30 Home Games' mission streamlines my decision-making. Once tournaments and events arise, I'm sprung into action. With momentum on my side and a hospitality job that allows me fleet of foot I've been able to capture the sense of light air I've had on long-form backpacking trips.

The Farewell Boomers' series came to my attention when I glanced a TV ad at work. Within a few days, I orchestrated time off and am making a return pilgrimage to send off the Aussie National Team. There is still uncertainty regarding the availability of NBA star Andrew Bogut, who sustained an injury in the NBA Finals series. On the other hand, It'll be good to see newly crowned Champ Matthew Dellavedova before he dons the colors of his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Farewell Series: Boomers vs Pac-12 College All Stars
July 12 + 14 at Hisense Arena. Melbourne, Australia
Not being an avid follower of the College game, it'll be fun scouting rising talent that we may eventually see in the NBA. It was a privilege seeing now No.1 Draft pick Ben Simmons in front of his hometown as he toured Down Under with his LSU Tigers. Unbeknownst to me I actually witnessed 'Rookie of the Year', Karl-Anthony Towns as he represented his native Dominican Republic during FIBA Americas 2013. I didn't realise this until he entered the NBA 2 years later. Perhaps we might glimpse a similar gem amongst the Pac-12 College All Stars.

This Melbourne trip comes on the heels of buying return tickets to Houston in November for what I thought was my lone vacation for the year.

Going to California or Texas
- Toyota Center (Houston Rockets)
- American Airlines Center (Dallas Mavericks)
- AT&T Center (San Antonio Spurs)
Besides considering when Game days are, I usually don't do much planning or pre-booking to allow freedom of movement. The NBA schedule being typically released by early August. I originally had a choice between California or Texas for my trip. Whilst California offered more known non-basketball pursuits from Wrestling, Art Shows and Comedy. Texas was the exotic choice. A place I'd long been fascinated with and had yet to visit. Especially Austin, the homebase of two creative rolemodels Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez. The latter's 'TroubleMaker Studios' being a dream destination for me to visit.

Another key leg of the journey, regardless of whether I chose Texas or California was spending November 1st in Mexico for 'Dia de los Muertos' (Day of the Dead). Due to time constraints, I'd be limited to a Mexican Border town a bus ride from Houston. I've been advised against this from some Mexican friends on the grounds of excitement value and risk. Having been to Caracas, Venezuela for FIBA Americas 2013 I'm no stranger to travel warnings. I took heed and eventually canceled my plans for AfroBasket 2015 in Tunisia due to events on the ground.
What makes the Mexican excursion different is that I'm not there for basketball. '30 Home Games' has given me resolve in the past to forego initial trepidation. It gave me comfort during the hardship of navigating China and steeled me against the concern of visiting Venezuela. Both rewarding trips when said and done. The Mexican leg is still under ongoing advisement. Perhaps I just have to find a basketball related Carrot on a stick.

Basketball Destinations:
- Find photos and stories of my past Melbourne trips: #30HGaustralasia
- Champagning and Campaigning in the NBA Cities: Western Conference edition
- 30 Home Games mission: Southwest Division map
- 30HG Destination Spotlight: Troublemaker Studios (Austin, Texas)