Dearest blokes and sheilas,
You are everywhere.
I’ve reflected with you at the Cambodian Killing Fields. I’ve climbed volcanoes with you in Southwest Japan. We’ve shared Polish beer in Warsaw together.
No other country is as well represented as yours when it comes to backpacking all over the world.
While some travellers have developed a disdain toward your large numbers and ‘party-hard’ ways, I’ve had a different experience with you throughout my travels.
While flying across Canada, I heard your accent coming from a flight attendant of all people.
“I think we’re from the same hemisphere,” I said, as she poured drinks in the aisle.
“Yeah I heard your accent!” She replied.
We got talking about our similar half-caste Canadian backgrounds before she had to keep the trolley moving.
Five minutes later, as smooth and secret as a ninja’s shuriken, I received this in my lap wrapped around a cold beer.
Australia, thanks once again for having my back on this trip.
Your reputation as loud, obnoxious, drunk, rude, vile, and simple travel companions is about as accurate as us being romantically involved with our livestock: a small few drag the whole team down.
The amount of bright, friendly, trustworthy, beautiful, fun, and positive Australians I’ve met during my seven months abroad have completely outweighed the three (yes, just three) of you I got bad vibes from.
As an Aucklander it can be delicate to mix and mingle with my own while overseas. Mentioning you are from the Jafa-Factory is a quick way to be on the back foot with a Cantabrian or Wellingtonian. It probably doesn’t help when I wind them up either… “I thought the rest of New Zealand was just farmland to provide milk for my raw organic cinnamon latte?”
However to you, it’s all the same. We are your younger brothers and sisters. You look to us for rugby tactics and indigenous relations, while we admire your really good tans and high minimum wage.
I heard a really interesting story about the one place we do clash violently, the sports field. According to an Aussie lad I met in Cambodia, during the 2010 Football World Cup when you were already out and New Zealand had one game left, the whole West Sydney pub was cheering and yelling for the Kiwis. He had never seen anything like it. This proves the secret but no-so-secret comradery we have, even when we are pretending so hard not to.
I find myself getting defensive when other people mock you guys and the way you travel. Only we are allowed to. We are your neighbours, we’ve shared battlefields with you throughout history so the right is reserved for banter both ways, but for no one else.
So from the Sydney-based cop I had deep chats with just outside Tokyo, to the four Aussie babes I celebrated my birthday with in Nice, to the wonderful travel-writing internship I tagged along with in Bali, cheers for being wicked to see the world with.
One thing though. That white-tailed spider wasn’t a cool independence gift. Keep all them biting and stinging things on your side of the ditch. We love exposing our hairy hobbit-feet too much to have snakes slithering around The Shire.
A Kiwi traveller