I never felt an explicit desire to visit Australia. In my imagination, the country was a collection of dry bushes and desolate beaches, with all Australians trying their best to escape. For a history and culture lover Australia won’t be the first country to come to mind when planning for next vacation. For someone who does not know how to drive, Australia gives the idea of a nightmare destination, where trains are too expensive and buses are slow. Expectations play tricks with our mind. They paint pictures of azure coastal towns and mysterious scorching deserts on the walls of our office cubicle, making the waiting game easier. Sometimes they play sinister tricks though and create a false, preconceived notion, that holds us back from life changing experiences. And sometimes we rebel against them and end up with our world view turned upside down. That’s exactly what happened to me during my trip to Australia.
While you can’t deny the fact that US and Australia have a lot in common, the New World capitalist culture that they created have branched out into two distinct directions. On the surface everything looks the same: people speak the same language, driving culture is prevalent, you see the same clothing stores, restaurant chains and coffee brands in the downtown areas of big cities. Yet there is a peculiar angle to it. The connection between familiar and unknown creates an effect of wonder, almost like when you peel an apple and find an exotic fruit inside.
The outback, Sydney Opera House, Bondi beach, Uluru – those bucket list attractions are impressive and provide a perfect canvas for vacation photos. Things mentioned in this article, however, are less noticeable, yet they make up for a great travel story.
1. People are happier.
Those who met Australians during their travels rave about fun time that those guys bring to the table. Australians know how to drink, how to party, how to travel, how to be adventurous, how to be friendly and how to enjoy the moment. Of course, it is a sweeping generalization to say that all Australians are wonderful human beings, but sometimes it just seems that there is a bigger place for happiness in their hearts and they know how to fill it up.
2. They travel more.
Travel is an inexplicable part of Australian culture. Australians will tell you stories from faraway places, they will take you on the road trip along the stunning ocean coast, they will stray from the beaten path and get lost in the jungle, but they will always find the way out. Travel is in their blood and it gets very contagious. They know where the winds of freedom blow and you will be blown away together.
3. Music and festivals.
Since Australia is largely associated with summer and outdoors it is no wonder their festival culture is thriving and plethora of open air events are going all year round. Moreover, they have good taste in music and some great artists too. Ever since I discovered Triple J station I can’t help but admire Australian musicians, who have a very distinct music style, unparalleled in its uniqueness.
4. Expat community.
Whether you are a business executive, a young sales representative trying to get intital work experience or a digital nomad, you will have no shortage of choice of communities to join. Expat community is a very diluted term in Australia since the locals are also in some way expats (Australia was built on immigration, so pretty much everyone here is an expat). As a result, and unlike in any other country, locals are more open to mingle with the newcomers and no one ever feels excluded. This makes it easier for people to assimilate, share their expat struggles and form steady social circle in the newly acquired motherland.
5. Hedonistic culture.
Americans live to work, Australians work to live. Australia boasts gorgeous beaches, amazing parks, beautiful people, prosperous economy, very rich land and diverse wildlife. When there are so many exciting and entertaining things happening at your doorstep, work ceases to be the only source of joy and fulfillment. You get constantly distracted by the world beauty and learn to be grateful for it.
Some of my best travel memories were created in Australia and I am still longing to go back to this beautiful country. Next time I visit, I’ll be sure to delve deeper into the incredible laid-back culture that often gets overshadowed by the country’s iconic landmarks and grandiose sightseeing spots.
By Rano Salieva