Miscellenia

Australia: or, How blogging helped me overcome my fears.

From tomorrow the blog will be on autopilot while Mr Dreamy and I take a well deserved holiday and spend a week on the beach in Australia.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of posts, and even a ‘Rate the Dress’, but it will all happen without me.

late '60s psychedelic novelty print fabric with Australian kangaroos

This holiday is interesting, because I’ve lived in New Zealand for six years (seven if you count the non-continuous times) and I’ve never once been to Oz.  I’ve even refused to stopover in Oz on my way to Hawaii and the US.

For someone living in New Zealand who travels a lot, this is very unusual.  Oz is where Kiwi’s go on holiday, and for a bit of big-city, big-world right on their doorstep.  There is a stunning Baha’i temple in Sydney that I would love to visit.  People rave about Melbourne as a vibrant, artistic ‘Australian Wellington.’ There have been amazing costume exhibitions in Oz while I’ve lived here; great stage shows; once -in-a-lifetime concerts; but I haven’t gone.

Why?

I’m afraid of Australia.  Really, really, afraid.  I have Aussaphobia.

OK, that probably isn’t a real thing, but if it is, I have it.

It started when I was a child.  I would have been 10 or 11 when I saw Walkabout.  It’s a film about the Australian Outback, with stunning cinematography which dwells lovingly on the painted rocks, the vivid red earth, the limpid waterholes, and the  peculiar wildlife.  It’s also a really strange, twisted tale where adults go mad and attack and abandon children, and where cultural interaction results in death and destruction.  All told with no dialog whatsoever.

It freaked the bejeezes out of me!

I inherited this fabric shortly after I saw Walkabout

Everything good I have seen about Australia since then: The Castle (LOVE that film), Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, etc have not dimmer my horror of the place.

To add to that, Australia is full of things that kill you.  The fresh water is full of crocodiles, the salt water is full of jellyfish and sharks and on land, to paraphrase Pratchett, the snakes are deadly but you don’t have to worry about them because the spiders ate them all.

And yes, I’ve been told that you don’t really encounter these animals in the cities, but I’m from Hawaii.  I don’t expect anything to be able to kill me!

To add further horror, New Zealand TV is laden with shows about Australian crime, from ‘based-on-history’ dramas with names like Underbelly (yeah, like that’s ever going to be a good thing!), to true-crime documentaries that seem to feature an endless supply of psychopathic serial killers.  I think they have those (the serial killers) in America too, but the last time I watched an American true-crime documentary they spend an hour figuring out that the deadly wildfire wasn’t set by an insane pyromaniac, but by two trees rubbing together.  I’m the girl who doesn’t like Downton Abbey because too many of the characters are mean to each other.  I really can’t handle shows that are all about morally bankrupt criminals!

Not surprisingly, these kangaroos did nothing to ease my distrust of the big red continent down under

But yet I’m going to Australia.

Why?  Well, at first I suggested we holiday in every possible Pacific island.  Mr D wanted Oz.  He mentioned Melbourne and Sydney and I turned them down.  Then his parents suggested a place near Brisbane.

Now, Brisbane is not commonly held to be one of the nicer, more enjoyable Australian cities, but when it was mentioned it rang a bell.  Steph is from Brisbane!  Steph of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World!  I adore Steph!  She’s such an amazing inspiration as a seamstress and blogger.

If we went to Brisbane, I could see Steph!  How fabulous!  And so, for just long enough for the commitment to be made, the thought of meeting someone who I have read and corresponded with and learned from and been inspired by was more than the phobia.

Now of course, I’m about to board the plane (which I don’t like, but am not afraid of) and I’m a little less cheerful.  But most fears are fine once faced, so I’m off to conquer my demons (or crocodiles) and to meet Steph, who unwittingly emboldened me to face this fear.

And that’s what the blogging world has been to me: people who teach and inspire, and support, and cheer you on, and just once in a while actually give you enough of a push, whether they know it or not, to be more than you thought you were.

There are so many places in the world I would now like to travel too, not because they are necessarily interesting or fabulous or famous places on their own (though some of them are), but because of the people I have connected with from those places.  Needless to say, the people are so interesting and fabulous that they would make the visit worth it, no matter the location!

So next week I’ll report back on the trip, and tell you if I was just a silly wimp, or a wimp who knew what they were on about!

10 Comments

  1. I totally understand the thing about the spiders. My mother wanted to go to Autrailia for the longest time until she heard about them. Now I joke with her about sending her off to live in one of the caves there.

    Have a great trip and RELAX! See you in a week! 🙂

  2. Oh it’s really not that bad. Even Brissy where I live is alright. A bit too big and getting m It’s the salt water crocs that r the bad ones but they r mostly up north. I hope u have a lovely time. But truly I’d recommend the coast further north, crocs and all. It’s paradise.

  3. Oh! It’s very fabulous indeed, I’m so excited you’re coming to help me fend off the spiders… Though at the moment the flies are becoming the most oppressive issue- you’ve been warned.

    I can’t wait to see you! The beaches are truly, truly lovely and we can sew. Though we may not sew on the beach. I’m a little nervous, too. 🙂

  4. Alexandra says

    Walkabout did the same thing for me!! I was seriously traumatized by that movie when I was a kid. I saw it in the theatre, so that made it even worse. I haven’t thought about that movie in years. Of course, my opportunities to visit Oz are few and far between, so it’s no big deal.

    Alex in El Paso, TX.

  5. Hayley says

    Oh no no no no no…… your first trip to Australia and you are coming to Brisbane?

    I live in Brisbane, and there are three good things about it – a) the Jacaranda trees are in flower and are so pretty, b) we have some pretty damn awesome thunderstorms, and c) the Sunshine Coast is only a few hours away.

    In all other ways, it’s like Auckland, but even hotter and humider. And the bogans have even more annoying accents.

    So if you aren’t wowed by your trip to Brisbane, don’t write Australia off, I can tell you that Melbourne is jaw-droppingly good.

    • Thunderstorms? In Brisbane? When? I’ve lived here four years and there’s not much that approaches what I’d call “weather” in Brisbane. Once it hailed a little bit. 😉

      However, there’s an AWESOME Hitchcock Retrospective at the GOMA Cinema until the end of the month. So that’s something..

      I think the Mr and Mrs Dreamy are staying in the Sunshine Coast. 🙂

      • Steph, You must have missed the Gap – Keperra storm in late 2008. Nearly wiped some of us off the map. Like mini tornados or cyclones. Houses demolished, inches of water inside, roofs off, trees torn out and I mean big trees. The Gap and parts of Keperra were a disaster area. Days without power. And then of course we have floods. As to the spiders- well if they stay outside i don’t care but if they come inside a can of spray and a fly swat makes a quick end.

  6. Elise says

    The Castle is my very favorite film! We watch it as a family (or with friends good enough to be family) when we are together. I hope that your trip is fun–and if you see Darryl, tell him hi from me!

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