My period in Australia brought about great changes.
And before I went there, the same happened to other people I know, who had gone to Australia to spend their gap year, on business or just to hang out.
I already know that who is about to go there is going to live a great (rather than little) Copernican revolution that will start exactly in the Australian period, be it a month or a year, reaching its apex and the point of no return after being back.
But why? I mean, I know every trip is a new ending and a new beginning, but why does Australia have such a saving power that pushes you to take control of your life and turn it upside down forever?
Back in my DownUnder period, I felt like a rag, emotionally (and physically) speaking.
I spent months struggling with insomnia, lack of appetite, crying a river even twice a day…yet, when I look at those pictures, I only see so much beauty.
These are basically the best shots of my life, when I still didn’t practice the selfie art.
How come? Besides my personal reasons, also related to reuniting with my family, and leaving out all kinds of personal revolutions that followed my return from Australia, I have different ideas about the reason why Australia has such an impact on everybody and why every European should spend some time in this country.
The theory of body perceptions
We underestimate our body, you can’t do anything about it.
We underestimate our body power and arrogance in letting us perceive a change and how quickly the body adapts to change.
When you leave the Northern Hemisphere, and find yourself in the Southern hemisphere after a relatively short time, the change in perceptions goes beyond temperature.
The body feels the different wind, the smells and dusts in the air. It adapts way before our mind does.
We go around thinking our only problem is gonna be the jet leg when our body is actually already digesting a new season, hour after hour and step by step.
Once you’ll decide (I bet you will, trust me) that you’re ready to drastically change your life, your body will already be six months ahead of your mind.
And when the body runs, believe me, the mind follows it because there’s no other choice.
The theory of opposites.
When everything is different but the same, you have to be different too if you wanna be the same. I know this sound like a bullshit, but it’s not.
From infinitely serious things like season smells way down to infinitely trivial aspects, like the way water flows down in the sink or when you flush the toilet, it’s impossible not to get the idea rooted into your head that things “rotate differently” in another place, and that you have to do it too, light-heartedly and with disenchantment, in order to feel good. You have to rotate and twirl in the opposite sense.
Do you really think that things don’t change at all for you after a month or two of practice?
We are not used to think about how different everything is at every moment or step in life.
We are always there waiting for something to change before we change anything, and we don’t see that there’s a revolution behind any corner.
When you let change act so “intrusively”, as it happens only in Australia for us Europeans, the concept gets rooted so deep down inside that changing everything, from small habits to your house, job or the town you live in, actually becomes vital for some time, something we owe ourselves and that is basically taken for granted.
The theory of important things
Elsewhere, the important things are something else, someone who knew how to write nice sentences used to say.
You realize it not only when you see that to go to work, your Australian friend puts on very informal clothes, and you’ll find that “reeeeaaally cool”.
You’ll realize it also when a friend from this highly-evolved country will tell you they have no parental leave down there, and that you may be able to keep your job (if you’re lucky) when you get pregnant, but you don’t get paid while you’re off. End of the day, it’s not that hard to find a new job.
Otherwise, you’ll realize it when you’ll find out that for someone, the greatest “exotic dream” would be living a white Christmas. At least once in life.
The theory of mind colonization
I have always wondered what it means to have such a different representation of reality in the collective imagination of a whole continent compared to its narration and self-narration: the shop windows in Melbourne have polystyrene snowflakes on at Christmas, snow puppets are made of plastic and they use firs for their Christmas trees, even though the average temperature is 30 degrees, even though Christmas in Australia is arrogantly summerlike in its sort.
If colonial history has pushed an entire continent to use fake snow during summer, think about how probable it is that the society you live in convinced you that some things that are normal to others, but not for your own nature, have to be obvious for you too. How many fake polystyrene balls are there in your life?
The (your new) theory of long distances
We talk a lot about the thing that now, we’re all connected.
We keep repeating that distances have become shorter or do not exist anymore.
You will probably think about this before leaving and also during the first glorious days of travel.
And, you know what? You’ll probably keep on thinking about it throughout your whole journey.
Because you’ll be able to post your shots and share your experiences on Facebook and the like, having your friends and relatives comment live from the other hemisphere.
We’ll talk about the theory of distances once back.
Let’s talk about it when, during your 30-hour flight that cost you at least 1200 euros, you’ll have time to realize you actually don’t know when and if you’ll be able to meet and hug the people you got to know Downunder again; you don’t know when and if you’ll feel that smell again or have another chance to share with them the last beer in the fridge.
Let’s see if, once aboard the plane, you’ll think that distances don’t count and that today, they’re shorter than before.
Or else, if you’ll end up thinking that distances do exist and, damn it, they suck.