Mentally Prepared for Australia

Everyone prepares for upcoming trips in different ways. Normal people research great restaurants and popular tourist sites. Not me. I read all about what could possibly go wrong. Typically the first page I turn to in each new Lonely Planet guide we purchase, is the “dangers” page. Never mind all the amazing things I’ll see and taste. I’m too busy watching for trouble. I guess it’s just my own special way of anticipating new adventures or something.

Anyway, imagine my disappointment when our Lonely Planet Australia book seemed to suggest the dangers in Australia are fairly minimal.

But then Andrew purchased Bill Bryson’s book In A Sunburned Country, a sort of travelogue/love letter to Australia. Well. I devoured this book within a few days, excitedly reporting to Andrew all the various ways in which Bill suggested one might meet his or her end, accidentally, in this strange southern land. The general gist of the thing is this: Australia contains about 95% (just a guess, I’m not bothering to fact-check just now) of the world’s most deadly creatures. Snakes, spiders, sharks, jellyfish, gigantic earthworms, cassowaries, and on and on and on. Not only that, but the topography also wants to kill you. Run out of gas in Australia and you’re pretty much already dead and gone. It’s just so hot and isolated. And the eucalyptus! The scent of my relaxing epsom salts. The snack of the adorable koala. Well. Those are part of the family of gum trees, pretty much the only kind of tree that grows in Australia, and the trees are basically made up of oil, highly flammable. And so when fire erupts, it’s unstoppable. Apparently happens a lot. And then there are all the fables (reports?) of people that just… disappear. As if the land itself swallows people whole.

This deadly land fascinates me.

It’s funny, I really only knew people to visit Australia for partying reasons. To a Canadian, Australia seems like a pretty good destination for living it up in a really exotic, but really easy way. It’s on the opposite side of the planet, so really far away, and yet they also speak English, so you won’t be fumbling around unable to speak to anyone (theoretically). So most people go there for a really good time (A.K.A.: getting drunk with strangers, I guess).

I’ve talked before about my aversion to partying. So because that’s the only reason I knew people to head to Oz, it never seemed particularly attractive to me. Or rather, I hadn’t found my reason for going there.

But now, thanks to Mr. Bryson, I have.


(On the agenda: Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Cairns, Tasmania.)


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