This is the first in a series of posts for the Australia Blog Roundtable, a collaboration of a group of travel bloggers and writers to blog on one of their favourite subjects – Australia. The others in the group are Brooke from WhyGo Australia, Colm from Hostel World, Kate from Nomads Hostels and Michaela from Rocky Travel. This month’s subect – ‘Why I love Australia’.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me!
This is a verse from a very famous Australian poem, “My Country.” One that I would think of often during my travels around the world.
I hated learning that poem at school, but was grateful for it later, as it helped me connect to my beautiful sunburnt country during those times when I most missed it and wanted to share it.
A bit of Take Away to Appreciate Home Cooking
Before I began my world travels my love for Australia was like that of a wide eyed school girl who’d never been kissed, thinking that the blond haired blue eyed surfer boy in the front row in class would be the only boy I could ever love and live happily ever after with.
For the first couple of years wandering the streets of the world, I continued to worship Australia with that innocent infatuation.
We had the best beaches, the best weather, the best food, the most laid back culture, the hottest guys….
My travels took me far away and gave me plenty of opportunities to be kissed by other lands and cultures. They slowly wooed me and my eyes opened up to life outside of my own small box.
The star factor that I had shrouded Australia in began to lose its shine.
That didn’t mean that my back was turned on my own country and culture, it just meant that I found a new way to appreciate it; a way that loves it for what it really is.
A deeper love of trust and respect
Its very similar to how I have been feeling lately with my baby Savannah. There is none of the WOW, star-stuck love that surrounds her like there was with Kalyra, where every thing she did was so new and exciting and I was so in awe of her.
With Savannah that newness is not there, instead, sliding in its place, is a peaceful love, a love that centers on me just getting to know her for who she truly is.
I don’t have to work to push the infatuation away to discover what really lies there.
A friend used to always say to me : you have to have a bit of take away to appreciate home cooking.
Travel has provided me with those exotic take home dinners, but they can never replace the comfort and warmth that comes with home cooking.
I never would have realized how good Australia was, I mean how it really was, without me leaving her shores to discover just what else is out there.
Why do I love Australia?
She is a big part of who I am. She has gifted me with so many opportunities that I know so many other people in this world will never have.
Lately, she has opened up so many new doors for us with our blog. Australia is a land of opportunity, and with a small population it is a lot easier to take advantage of those.
I don’t have to worry about begging on the streets for the basic needs in life, as I have a government, who may seem like they don’t get much right, will make sure that I and my children are looked after.
I don’t have to worry that expressing my thoughts and opinions on this blog may lead my arrest. I can even swear a little and talk about beer and it will be well received.
In fact, Australians love beer and wine and good times.
I love that I have spent many nights around barbies with friends, or on the beaches around bonfires, talking about life and mostly the lightness of it.
Australians laugh a lot and I love that.
I love that I have a lot of mates. Even the stranger walking towards me on the street becomes my mate with just a simple “G’day.”
I love how I can walk barefoot through the town and no one would raise an eyebrow.
I love the beach.
Like really love it, like so much I could roll around in the sand and kiss it all afternoon.
You get that way with the beach after you’ve grown up on it, and then leave it to spend time in mountains, deserts, lakes and rivers and then return years later. In Australia the beaches are part of your genetic makeup. I rarely like to say that any country has the best of anything, but I do say that about our beaches.
I love kangaroos, and wombats and cuddly koalas and all of those weird and wonderful marsupials that only like to call this sunburned country their own.
And I love waking up to the call of the kookaburra. I love laughing like one at unsuspecting times like my student’s grade 5 graduation ceremony in America, and making everyone laugh at how crazy the Aussies are.
I love that we don’t care too much what other people think.
I love that we are one of the greatest sporting nations in the world (oops there goes that superlative nonsense again) Maybe not for the Rugby World Cup this year though.
I love our ANZACS, that tradition that comes from the time in history when our brave young men risked their lives and lost, just so they could show the rest of the world just who Australians are.
No, we are not just another colony of Britain, we are a brave and courageous nation, who are good for a laugh and a hand of friendship.
No worries, She’ll be right mate, a fair dinkum true blue cobber.
I love our colourful and weird language. I love how I can be standing in a room of English speaking folk and none of them can understand a word I say, but my Aussie mate next to me does.
I love how only Australians understand that life is not meaningful unless it is started each day with vegemite toast, even better if you melt some cheese on top. Or that a burger is not a burger unless beetroot lives on it, and Mrs Macs pies are a delicacy at two in the morning.
And fair dinkum you Kiwis can bugger off, the pavlova and lamingtons are ours.
Okay, you’ve got us on the Russell Crowe thing, but then again, it was him that said, in his Oscar acceptance speech,
“God defend New Zealand , BUT thank Christ for Australia”
I love our sense of humour that can so often be taken as offence by those who don’t get it. It has had me many times trying to back peddle and explain to those from other nations that my teasing of you means that I actually like you. Yes everything is topsy turvy Down Under.
I love the outback, the red barren desert that really teems with life. It’s dusty, its hot, its fierce, its stunning, a place like no other that seeps under your skin.
I love the original inhabitants of our land, the oldest living civilization in the world; a people and culture who hold so many secrets about life, and a people whose voices are starting to be embraced more.
I LOVE the gum tree. It teaches me that survival in life is all about the ability to adapt. Sometimes you have to get burned to be able to grow again and you can always dig deep to find the water you need to thrive, in a place that seems as if the rivers have run dry.
I love the Southern Cross, who watches over me when I leave this sunburned land and with the quick glance in the skies reminds me, just who I really am and the country that has helped to shape so much of that. It lets me know that I will always have a home and will always be loved by the Great South Land. A land that will always wait for me to return.
And even though I will roam for the rest of my life, my dear Australia, I will never forget you, nor never stop loving you. Like a boomerang I will always return to kiss your shores again.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land-
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand-
Though earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.
Want to read what other Australian roundtable writers have to say about why they love Australia?
Why I love Australia by Brooke from Why go Australia
10 reasons why I love Australia by Colm from Hostel World
Why I love Australia by Michela from Rocky Travel
Why I love Australia by Kate from Nomads Hostels