An Australian Abroad
Happy Australia Day one and all.
Its that time again to celebrate all things Australian. The BBQ. The Vegemite. The Backyard Cricket. The Cheers. And all the other great stuff about this country.
One thing we should celebrate is the Australian Adventure.
You see we are Down Under so there is always a yearning to Go Up Top. So many Aussies love slapping on the backpack, hunting for the passport and catching the last plane out of Sydney. Or Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra or Perth.
Off to distant parts of the world with a copy of Lonely Planet and a happy go lucky attitude that is a very uniquely Australian trait, as I have discovered. We really don't know how good we have it. This is the land of opportunity. Don't let the papers fool you. We are blessed beyond belief. Whatever we want to do, we can do it. If we really want to.
And a lot of us want to travel and discover the world. And so in usual Aussie fashion, we take our generous annual leave and disappear offshore.
I've been greatly privileged in my life time and more in recent times to adventure off in Europe, Asia, Africa and America. There is nothing quite like checking in to a flight and checking out of the day to day. (As much as a connected person can these days!)
The world loves Australia. (Mostly. Believe me I have some stories) We rollout with our sunburnt skin, wide eyes, easy going grins and a mixture of accents that confuse most people, because strangely enough we don't all sound like Crocodile Dundee. And for those reading this, I'm not about to catch an Uber Kangaroo although there is a great idea if only those Big Red's would cooperate.
I loved being in the US as an Aussie. Though I confess I didn't widely travel across the Land of the Brave and the Free, I did get full exposure of our wonderful cousins across the ocean. The Americans love nothing but a good chat about the weird and wonderful Australia. The strange version of Baseball we have. The fact that you can't drive to Perth in 3 hours from Sydney. And most recently this very strange and challenging conversation around Gun Control.
I did put my foot in my mouth with our friends on many occasion, when some of things we take for granted, were utterly repulsive to some of the good folk. Health Care. What? Outrageous.
Politics. Get out of town! And lets not mention those muskets again... Right.
But they love a larrikin Aussie and are mightily surprised at our curiosity. Flitting here and flitting there. Open the door to the Australians they say. Unless you are Fred Nile. He's too dangerous for the Stars and Stripes.
Hey we Australians even get the occasional smile from the fierce Border Customs. At least I'm sure it was a smile and not a grimace...
Wow what an incredible place. From the industrious Koreans, to the lovely Nepalese and the incredibly accommodating Filipinos. This is a continent where you can travel all over the place and still feel like you need two more life times to capture it all.
And another lifetimes to understood just what you captured.
There was nothing like the smiles of the Balinese as they shared their spiritual dances with us, whilst continuing a steady flow of food and grog in Kuta and Seminyak. Don't forget to don the singlet, stare at snake tattoos and trudge around in thongs. (Flip Flops. Sandals etc.. #culturalcareful)
And the lazy days on Thai Beaches interacting with the locals on all fronts. Now there are some stories. Aussies are very much a double edged sword. Apparently there are some naughty Aussies that get up to mischief. (Note this is overstated as an Australian thing but it is a thing)
But when you catch the drift, you relax, Sa Wat Dee and Korbin Krub!
Singapore and Malaysia. Wow. There's a place an Aussie can have a conversation with locals on the heat. You regularly, to the amusement of the locals, conspire about the perspire. Seems that the shirt change is appropriate in more places than the Australian open.
India. Cricket. #endofstory Haha. Dont rile them up. But a good hearted rivalry with the good Indians is always welcome.
I can't say I have travelled there much, so this is an exciting plan for the future. But I will say this; that the people are beautiful and are genuinely accommodating. There is nothing like eating their national animal in South Africa and then inviting them to come and visit and do the same. (Vegetarians look away now). Their puzzlement turns into laughter when they realise that you are joking and not joking at the same time.
Football and Rugby. Two great conversation starters. :)
Well what can you say there. What a fascinating place that will dazzle your eyes and rob you of your sleep before you know it. From the politeness of the Brits, to the passion of the Spanish and the French. Ah the French. What an interesting bunch of people for Australians to visit. Eventually you charm them and the defences come down. But not after genuine smiles, plenty of Pardons and attempts to get the accent quite right.
I would love to talk about the Belgiums or the Dutch. But I cant remember an awful lot. I can remember the food and coffee being incredible and meeting a lot of people! I still have pictures of the Canals, Buildings and the French Fries dripping in Mayo. And they love an Aussie with their multi pocketed pants, strange mannerisms and restlessness.
A continent of mature sophisticated humans invaded constantly by these Down Under Kangaroos.
An Australian Abroad is broadly welcomed.
South America & Antarctica
So when we celebrate our national day, we are in some ways celebrating our place in the world.
And our place is Down Under.
And as much as possible On Top.