Well, this is it. I am leaving Australia finally, after a 54 day adventure. I am very glad I came to Australia, I have met a lot of nice people and seen a lot of things. But overall, I am leaving with the impression of a place that is more similar to the United States than just about any other country in the world, with the possible exception of Canada. I think the reason a lot of Americans love Australia so much is because it is a “safe” and familiar destination, with not a lot to culturally challenge them. The language is much the same. The food is much the same. The people are much the same, even in their city and suburb and farm varieties. They can tell themselves (because of the distance and the few variables) that they are traveling to a foreign land, and feel self-satisfied at their own sense of adventure, but it is just not a culturally challenging place for us. In very many ways, the country could just be a few extra states tacked on to the US’ 50, and no one would much notice the difference. In fact, I would argue that the differences between, say, New York and New Orleans are far greater than the differences between the Great Plains and Queensland.
There are of course things I did not get to see that I would like to, and perhaps I will come back someday. The Great Barrier Reef of course, and New Zealand, which is just a stone’s throw from here. I made a couple of great friends here and got to know some people I already knew a lot better than I had before. I saw some spectacular landscapes and had some really excellent coffee. I learned some fun slang and saw a variety of ways people live here. I danced and I drank and I ate. And the mere fact of coming here has shrunken the psychological distance (if not the actual distance), making a return that much more possible. Goodbye Oz, and thanks for everything. It was a good trip.