It was an unplanned incident that made my 45th birthday my best one, but it would have been very good even without that. I had completed a speaking tour of Australia with a local think tank on the Friday, and was due to fly out from Sydney with my colleague on the Saturday night. Asked how I wanted to spend it, I replied that a cruise around Sydney Harbour might be nice.
I'd expected something like a ferry boat ride, but they laid on a motor yacht owned by one of their donors. Together with the young people from the think tank we sailed in splendid sunshine around the islands and promontories that make Sydney so beautiful. It helped that a birthday cake and a case of champagne had been provided for us.
After we docked there was a farewell reception at the top of one of the high-rise buildings on the harbour, where we watched a spectacular view as the city lit up for the night as darkness fell. After that we were whisked to the airport to catch the night flight to Hawaii for a two-day stop before flying home via mainland USA.
It was halfway through the flight that I realized something – the unplanned incident. In choosing to go round the world to go home rather than flying back from Australia, we had to cross the International Date Line. All of the hours we had lost as we'd crossed different time zones were made up by going back a whole day as we crossed the dateline. We did this in the middle of the night, so I had my birthday all over again on Waikiki Beach, Honolulu. Both were spectacular.