Do you travel because you feel the need? Do you travel because you have an insatiable itch? Do you sacrifice the security of nesting and building networks in your hometown? Did you skip last weekend’s bender so you can save an extra $30 for the next trip? Do you get butterflies trying to figure out how much travel you can pack into such a short time on this planet? Or… do you just travel because it’s trendy? Because you need that photo standing in front of the Eiffel Tower to impress your social media circle. Or because you just feel less than, unaccomplished and uncool because you haven’t gotten wasted in Bali?
Pause now… and be real honest. Neither of these incentive forces are better or worse than the other. Perhaps you are like most, a little from column A and a little from column B. But seriously pause again… be as honest to yourself as you can. Nobody is around to notice. Why are you travelling? Where have you been? Why did you select this destination? What is next? And drum-roll….. Are you missing something big, hot, sandy and obvious? Strayaaaaaa!
Travelling domestically does not currently record even 32% (this figure is a work of fiction and should only be used sarcastically in passing conversation) of the social stature points as an overseas experience. It seems that travelling through Australia is only cool if you’re from at least 263 800 miles away (this figure is also fictional). Unless of course, you are a grey nomad. The colloquial translation: an old Australian/s, travelling in a recreational vehicle who is only considered cool by other elderly Australians who also own recreational vehicles.
Why oh why has Australia become the last place that an Australian is interesting in seeing? Having gone against this grain recently and road tripped to North Queensland for some sailing/snorkelling around the Whitsundays, I was able to accost working professionals within the tourism industry and shake some insight out of them. The first and most obvious response, dollar dollar bills ya’all!
Australia is fucking expensive. Fact. Travelling domestically is far from a financial first choice. But according to my sailing Captain of The Broomstick, of Explore Travel services,“young people today only travel because it’s cool/trendy and not because they love it. Most often they are on mummy/daddy’s allowance, a credit card and thus the value has been sucked out.” It seems the further away, more exotic, glamorous and adventurous, the higher the horse you can climb to look down upon your poor uncultured friends. Regardless of whether or not you enjoyed yourself. Fuck yeah!
Now, getting abroad on the cheap is a wonderful luxury and it is a most privileged era in which to be a young traveller. Overseas flights are still declining in price and you can find an Aussie Bar on every continent so you don’t run the risk of being uncomfortable or accidentally learning something.
It is a circumstance to take advantage of and I urge all folk with a week through to a year of freedom to go and be wild, safely inside a warm hostel drinking Fosters. HOWEVER… don’t forget what is right in front of you. Why not consider a local, interstate destination every other holiday. It will give credibility to your endless bragging of how good Australia is next time you’re legless in London. Besides… do you know how many gorgeous young men and women with daddy’s credit card are out there to ‘play’ with along Australia’s most sought after holiday destinations. They might even share some advice about how to do things on the cheap and the best places to see. This could be helpful considering nobody in Australia under the age of 30 actually knows what exists here or how much they should pay for it.
Maybe you still prescribe to the notion that you’ll just wait until you’re retired before exploring Australia’s wonders? Nothing wrong with this. Although assuming you will survive, let alone have the financial freedom, loving partner or cool friends still around you is a bit rich. This is not a morbid or negative slant on a great idea. Just a reminder that the advantage of travelling young still applies to the homeland. More time, less responsibilities, more energy for the high-octane stuff.
So why not enjoy a few days and nights on the road before calling it quits at an international airport and fly away from there. Consider Cairnes, Newcastle or Adelaide (just kidding, sorry Adelaide). I guarantee the young internationals will appreciate your company alongside them on the hostel trail. Share some real Australian stories, not just the ones tiredly repeated by those who work in tourism. A small handful of young Belgian and French travellers were especially grateful to have me, the token Queenslander, to enjoy the Whitsundays with. This of course was after many hours’ interrogation as to my agenda/motive for daring to travel within my own state, let alone my own country.
A few backpackers of the last generation may remember the novelty that came with being an Australian as you trail blazed backpacker style through virgin tourist destinations. Turns out the best way to get that buzz again is to stay right where you are.
The luxury sail and snorkel was but a sniff of the entire experience of this locally flavoured tour. Stayed tuned for PART 2. and PART 3.
Peace Blankers and Blankettes.
EDITOR’s NOTE: Adelaide is an awesome city (Garden of Unearthly Delights, anyone?) Don’t believe everything travel writers tell you.