Edit Blog Post
Published: August 8th 2007
The Rooney family, Sydney
Family portrait amidst much hilarity in the backyard.
Welcome to the first of my historical travel journals, and greetings from my home town Sydney. The date of this journal is the very day I boarded a flight to San Francisco for my first overseas trip, following an emotional farewell with family and friends. I had recently graduated from university, and was working two jobs while squirrelling money away in the bank to prepare for an extended trip overseas. Finally the big day arrived and it was time to pack up my troubles in the old kit bag, in preparation for a first ever overseas flight to discover the joys of world travel!
A dear reader sent a kind message asking if there was a journal he could refer to that gives a background on myself and my philosophy of travel. I hope this journal serves that purpose, both as an introduction from my home town, and also providing the opportunity to lay the foundations for the following decades of travel. As a young man I embarked on this flight back in 1986, and since my first overseas adventure I've been privileged to visit many of the world's great travel destinations to experience the joy and
The Mini Rooney family
Rewind nearly two decades and we are a lot shorter, but the laughter is the same! I think it's the same backyard fence, and that's mini me third from the right.
frustration, the exhilaration and fascination, the alienation and enlightenment that is the life of a traveller.
The Rooney's are a large family of Sydneysiders. We were born and raised in this beautiful harbour city, the gateway to Australia and one of the world's most glamorous travel destinations. Growing up in Sydney meant a life of endless summers, backyard cricket ... and school of course! Writing this journal is a somewhat cathartic experience, because on reflection there's nothing I can identify in my background which bought about my life time passion for travel. I was a happy and healthy Aussie kid, a kid perfectly at home in my family and community, with no great interest in other countries ... except for a fascination with beating England in Test match cricket which my father drummed into me from an early age. Just for the record I can still recite the great Don Bradman's aggregate of test runs and his batting average, and who can argue with the statistics of possibly the greatest sportsman in history. "Our Don Bradman, well I ask you is he any good?" Those lyrics are from a famous Australian song in the 1930's, but I digress...
So as I wound up my university studies I developed an interest in embarking on an extended overseas trip, and my closest friends were of a like mind. However my lifestyle was to diverge from the predictable path that seemed to be my destiny, partly because I decided to take a gamble as a young man in the initial choice of travel destinations. I wasn't planning a trip to England for work followed by exploring Europe, which is a typical travel itinerary for young Aussies preparing for the first overseas trip, including my friends. In contrast I looked to the United States to explore options for further study; an idea that quickly faded from consideration, and also considered travelling to Japan to try my hand as an English teacher. Whatever my future had in store for me, I realised the time had come to get out and explore the world, and begin to fill in the blank canvas of a life dedicated to travel. As they say in the music business, it was time rock and roll!
What is it that makes certain people so passionate and well suited to overseas travel, and others not so much
Sydney pyjama party
Fast forward nearly two decades and I'm a seasoned traveller, but still in my jamis with a dance friend.
so? My only travel experiences prior to heading overseas on that cold July morning many decades ago came from family holidays. My family embarked twice on the famous train journey across the Australian continent from Sydney to Perth courtesy of my father's career in the railways, where we marveled at the scenery while crossing the inhospitable Nullabor plain during a memorable train ride that took several days. During these family holidays we visited relatives of my mother, who was born in the capital of Western Australia. Our only real travel experience other than those trips came when our parents took us on camping holidays to Urunga, a coastal resort town in northern New South Wales. These trips don't serve as a great travel apprenticeship in my opinion, but one thing I've learnt is no-one is ever prepared for their first trip overseas. I guess I had a few things in my favour as a budding young Aussie traveller; in the form of a friendly smile, reasonably good people skills, a natural curiosity, and a sense of humility.
But in hindsight these character traits are at the heart of all serious travellers. When on the road it's not possible to
Dance, dance, dance
Backstage with the girls before a modern jive show.
compare the circumstances and experiences you will confront to life in your home country. In my opinion this is a counterproductive mindset, and will lessen the enjoyment derived from being overseas. I believe my travel ethos has served me well over the last three decades and remains relatively simple ... greet people with a smile, call everybody friend, be enthusiastic, actively engage in the culture and lifestyle of the countries visited, and be courteous and respectful at all times, particularly to officials. Does this work for me? I'd certainly like to think so, because many decades after embarking on my first trip overseas I'm counting down to my next trip with as much anticipation and enthusiasm as ever.
Clearly as an Australian I'm aware I live a privileged lifestyle, in a world where poverty and destitution is still prevalent in many countries. My philosophy of travel is based on the belief I am a citizen of the world, as well as being a proud Australian. I have an ongoing desire to make a contribution; to learn about the world and it's inhabitants, to share experience and culture, and in the process help to become a better person. There are
three great passions in my life which have been constant pursuits through my adult years ... music, dance and travel. Of course I love Australia too, and feel blessed to be born in this beautiful country.
So come and visit Australia ... basically all of you should be here now!
The finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security." Captain Arthur Philip, upon discovering Sydney Harbour
As I commence my travels, until next time it's signing off for now
Note: Feel free to post comments on this site, or click on the subscribe button for notification of upcoming travel journals
Tot: 2.401s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 41; qc: 175; dbt: 0.0945s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.9mb