Many call it “the land down under”, but me, and over twenty million others – along with other apt descriptions – simply call it home.
What is it about this land that beckons folk to discover its wide open spaces, explore the streets of bustling metropolises, wander down country lanes and bush tracks, or swim in the refreshing waters along the shoreline or in the rivers, creeks and dams riddling the countryside and vast outback regions?
I think it’s just the pure diverse beauty of a land that’s so much younger than others in a lot of ways, even though it’s considered the oldest place on earth.
The first inhabitants relished its wide open spaces, mostly moving from place to place on ‘walkabout’ … eager to explore new places as well as find good tucker for their tribe. It was an easy way of life in some ways, despite the harshness of the landscape and the myriad critters that lived there. Most were good for food, though some they learned to stay a long way away from, seeking nourishment in a stray wallaby or lizard and the host of flora offerings found even in the desert dunes if you knew where to look.
Then the white fella came along – a controversial decision still argued over and festering inside the hearts of many who were wronged (and many who weren’t but certainly feel sympathy for their brothers’ and sisters’ plight). It was a terribly sad time in the history of Australia, both for those first inhabitants and the drastic changes wrought on their way of life, and the ones that came here in chains and often for merely trying to put a scrap of food in their bellies or those of their loved ones – very like their new neighbours’ plight. Harsh times for all, even for the soldiers wrenched from their mother homeland to guard these so-called scourges of society.
It’s not a nice history lesson when you really think about it, and certainly a dreadful start for a new nation with a whole lot of eighteenth and nineteenth century refugees seeking a new home.
And yet here we are today, living in what many consider to be the best place on earth and certainly one of the best lifestyles offered to her residents and visitors – even the poorest among us when you consider what living must be like in third world nations today with all their strife and desperate poverty.
Australia truly is a beautiful country when you get out into her wide blue yonder and drink in the serenity and easy way of life away from all the bustle and traffic noise.
Living in the very heart of a busy capital city only three blocks from the main street means everything my husband and I need is within walking distance or simply a short bus, train or ferry ride away if we don’t want to take the car out. Sometimes we just hop on a free ferry with a bit of morning or afternoon tea stashed away in our shopping trolley and get off at one of the many parks along the river with walking tracks and a nice outlook to sit and contemplate the good things we have.
And our favourite time of the week? Hopping in our 2005 Hyundai Tucson AWD – usually with a flask and picnic basket on board – and heading off into the countryside to blow away the cobwebs on our weekly country drive. Ah, bliss. So much goodness, and all for the cost of a bit of petrol that we seek out on special and by taking advantage of the Coles 14c a litre saving by purchasing a few essential groceries worth $20 at the same time. Not a bad way to save $7 or $8 off a tank each time; after all, bread, milk, tea, cereal and toilet paper are necessities and soon make up that magic discount amount.
It’s certainly a good life even though neither one of us has been on the receiving end of the higher wage brackets of so many, but good budgeting skills have provided us with everything we’ve needed to enjoy a comfortable existence.
So what are you waiting for? Pack a picnic lunch, go for a walk, hop on a bus, train or ferry – most if not all give seniors’ discounts and some are even free to ride – or top up the petrol tank with discounted savings and explore even the perimeter of your little portion of this beautiful land we call home. And if you live in another country, I’m sure there’s a host of just as picturesque places to explore if you take the time to look.