Australia: A Land so Close yet so Far
After 6 months in Asia, we knew that Australia would be a wake up call – not least because of its significantly higher cost of living (and travelling).
Being on the other side of the planet as Canada, and home to some of the most beautiful beaches and coral reefs in the world, it’s curious to think that Australia is not generally considered as exotic as most countries in Asia, despite its proximity to them. Indonesia is just a stone’s throw away, and many Aussies visit Bali on a long weekend as if it were New York or Montreal for a Torontonian.
Regardless of its exotic locale, landscape and weather, the fact is that Australia is a highly developed and wealthy country. It also shares a language and similar cultural influences (ahem, British) with Canada. So, it’s not so odd that it should remind us of home.
The interesting part is that despite the otherwise exotic activities we partook in – diving the Great Barrier Reef, lounging on perfect tropical beaches – we felt the spark of adventure dampened to a soft ember as we realized how easy and familiar it is to travel here.
While there were many times in Asia and Africa when we would give our left foot for someone who could understand what we wanted or direct us where to go, the lack of struggle and the similarities in culture in Australia merely made it seem that much less adventurous to us.
In this way, our time in Australia helped corroborate the image we have of our travel personas. We crave culture, we devour the exotic, we seek out adventure, and we thrive on travel challenges. A developed country like Australia simply does not offer those attributes in so rich a quantity as our past destinations.
Of course, that is not to say we did not enjoy ourselves in Australia. In fact, we left with a vow to return to the massive country in order to accomplish all that we intended to, but could not due to budget and time constraints. We still hope one day to visit the Outback, Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Tasmania – and return to the Reef for more scuba diving.
Until then, guess we’ll just have to content ourselves with the fact that we soon return home to a country with all the British dependency and friendly disposition as Australia – although, deprived of the sprawling beaches and tropical climate of course!
Caravella Backpackers, Cairns, $25 per dorm bed with shared toilets – Recommended
Evergreen Hideaway, Clifton Beach, $63 per night for a 3-bedroom cottage near the beach – Recommended
Blue Parrot Hostel, Sydney (Potts Point), $44 per dorm bed with shared toilets – Not Recommended
Stephie: Crumbed barramundi filet with fries, $13.90, Frydays, Cairns
Eric: Coconut prawns with homemade sauce and fries, $13.90, Frydays, Cairns