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Published: January 1st 2015
I've been asked by a number of people to do a little blog. To be fair, the number was one (it was my mom) but here goes anyway:
We've been in Australia for a month now. I'd never been before and the preconceived idea I had of Australia is pretty much what I've experienced as reality so far. Although they don't sell fosters, put shrimps on barbies and I'm yet to meet an Australian lady named Sheila.
The first week we spent in Sydney central which is an amazing city. It's got the skyline of New York, greenery and gardens of Singapore, all surrounded by probably the most famous harbour in the world. Buildings are unusual, trains are double decker and taxis are boats.
After Sydney we moved to Bondi and stayed in a great hostel overlooking Bondi beach. The vibe of Bondi is amazing. To every wave there is a cliche hippie admiring it, riding it or watching it from a bar, drinking a beer before lunchtime and calling someone a dude. I tried surfing a couple of times, although it would be more accurate to describe it as drowning. I feel surfing is the adult equivalent of sliding on your knees on a slippy floor. I prefer the slippy floor still, more accessible and less chance of being eaten by a shark.
The next week we moved to manly which is a picturesque small town bordered by lots of small golden beaches, all within walking distance to each other (I haven't turned my estate agent off, have I!). Simply put, Manly is beautiful. We stayed in a hostel called "manly backpackers" which sounded like a really bad description of the three of us. Fitness was big out there, there's people running around everywhere, all the time. I'm sure no one works, it doesn't matter what time of the day it is, there will be people running round like Forrest Gump on acid.
This brought us close to xmas. The xmas build up was muted in comparison to England. There was no talk of fictional christmas penguins looking for love. Houses weren't covered in flamboyant flashing lights in a ritual that has become about less about spreading festive joy but a needing to keep up with the Bruce's (I imagine that's the Australian equivalent?). Even xmas day was just like any other except the beach was busier, security was tighter and people changed their style of hat from baseball to fluffy Santa.
Despite the lack of pre-xmas excitement we had a fantastic day. We joined up with friends from home and friends we'd met on our travels. It just so happened that they all turned out to be female (I blame tom and Ryan). There was us 3 lads to about 20 girls. Someone said I must've felt like Hugh Hefner, although I don't think he'd've made his reputation being loyal to one girl on the other side of the world, keeping 100% true to the boundaries of a monogamous relationship, like me. Fortunately for Lyndsey, the only thing me and Hugh Hefner have in common are his initials. (Although I'm sure she'd let me have a playboy bunny in exchange for that mansion)
I had always subscribed to the commonly considered notion that New Years is an annual anti-climax. Until this year. What Sydney lacked in pre-xmas hype, they make up for in New Years anticipation. The last day of the year is definitely the most important over here. I was half expecting to turn on the radio to hear an Australian version of wizard singing "I wish it could be a new year every day". On New Year's Eve itself, we got up at 6am to get a good spot to watch the fireworks and the queue was already massive. We pitched up by the opera house and stayed there all day, drinking, playing games and listening to music in the sun with the same gang from xmas. The atmosphere was electric and there was entertainment building up to midnight but when the countdown reached 0, the fireworks erupted. In hindsight, blowing $7million dollars in 12 minutes, like a kardashian in a shopping centre, is completely wrong but in that moment (maybe selfishly) I wasn't thinking of the global economic imbalance - and bugger those fireworks were good.
At home you get wrapped up and consumed with things you think are important. It's not until you're away from home you realise the futility of life. From an early age you are conditioned by society that the objective of life is to do well at school, possibly even go on to university in order to get a good job. Bollocks. It's easy to forget that everything we have been taught to be important is actually just made up! Money, social class, university degrees, the government, it's all just made up, none of it is real. We are just animals living on a rock for a bit. Once. I'm going to enjoy life and see the rock, it's got some really cool stuff on it.
Tomorrow we pick up our campervan and will be travelling north along the east coast. A few months ago I didn't envisage I would be living in a van on the other side of the world but its going to be one hell of an adventure. I wish my family, more friends and Lyndsey could be doing this with me aswell but sometimes life throws you down a slide and I find it's best not to try and hold on to the side.
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