Dingos and dollars, and “Truth?!” and bucks and she’ll be ‘right” and “your accent stands out here kid” and things are starting to feel very Australian.
Since I left Melbourne I’ve been thinking pretty negatively about Australia working holidays, and frustrated at my experience being outweighed by people truly experiencing the wonders this country has to offer; travelling the East and West coasts, learning to surf and dive in the Great Barrier Reef, partying and getting high along the water, and saying this trip has been the best thing they have ever done.
I thought it was about time I wrote something positive, and give the country the benefit of the doubt. Over the last year there have been some really great times, and they deserve a little credit, so here goes.
I just love all the funky coloured beetles and other creepy crawlies, everything is so much bigger and more colourful here. I love the fact that there are actually insects that could bite and poison you. Seriously, it’s kinda fun walking into the bathroom and being faced with a spider the size of your open palm looking down at you, or watching them scurry about the place, just to research them later and realise it could have actually been quite dangerous… Maybe that’s weird to say. When we got up to Darwin (more on this soon, once I finally manage to finish the big road trip post), we started seeing so many huge butterflies, utterly fearless creatures. I sat taking photos in the middle of a little swarm of them once by the waterfalls and hot springs up north while Todd impatiently waited, probably thinking about how nuts I looked.
I am always waking up to the sounds of kookaburras laughing in the trees, cockatoos and crows nibbling on fruit in the trees, in Glebe, Sydney, I saw my first real life possum. Here in Dingo, throughout the day and into the night we meet the resident roos grazing in the campsite and there are geckos gathering around the lights catching bugs and our accidental pet lizard Frank. We gave him a rock and now he spends the days sunbathing while we work at the mill.
I have loved waking up in the back of a car in the outback and walking outside to see landscapes of savannah, or palm trees and cockatoos squawking loudly as they fly between them. I love meeting other campers in the evenings and the communal sing songs at the campsite in Dingo.
I’ve loved exploring Sydney and the community vibe at The Village in Glebe (seriously the best hostel in Sydney). The stories people have are so much more diverse here than anywhere I’ve experienced; people come from all over the world for all kinds of reasons (mostly political) and have all done different things since being here, sharing information with other travellers about the best nightclubs and routes through the red centre and where the best surf spots and diving tours are. The empathy travellers have is incredible, the openness formed from just breaking away from their expected path is so underrated, it isn’t something gushed about in shiny travel magazines or sold at travel agents, but it is one of the main reasons I have stayed.
I love meeting grey nomads and learning about the huge community of retired travellers in Australia. People follow the summer around the country, travelling as partners or part of a group, having finished their main passion in life; their career, their family, whatever their life previously held most value for them, now is their escape, their freedom. Some drive caravans around for months on end, seeing as many states as they can, staying in the best weather and taking odd jobs mostly at campsites and mines around the country to save a little extra.
This isn’t something people do in my country. If you’re elderly in the UK and want to travel you’ll probably just go to a familiar English campsite and take small day excursions through the week, have a scone and go back home to watch strictly with a nice cup of tea. Here the grandparents grasp a new lease of life, sell their houses for a comfortably luxurious campervan and drive thousands of kilometres with their loved ones, their sense of adventure is extremely admirable.
As much as I like to complain I have really loved to be in Australia, and even though I might not be staying another year on the same visa, I will definitely return to do more exploring of this beautiful country in the future. Until next time!