Elizabeth the Island Enthusiast

a celebration of unconventional adventures

Tag: Queensland

2 Lessons Learned in Australia

The last couple weeks have been weird, to say the least.

A month ago I was in Fiji, semi-freaking out about what exactly I was going to do next.

Seven days ago I was in Australia, just being rescued from the tawdriness that is Surfers Paradise, Queensland, another story I really ought to save for another time (this is why I want to write books – I have all these great stories, but they’re a little long-winded for blog posts!).

And now here I am in Kuala Lumpur, after spending just over 24 hours in Singapore, coming to the realization that I have a long, long journey ahead of me.

But I’m not complaining, really – this is exactly the kind of weirdness I’d like to have in my life.

Whenever I start to panic these days, I just think: okay, would I rather be where I am now, coping with the exhausting overstimulation of constantly adjusting to new places, or bored out of my mind and landlocked?

Right.

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I’m acutely aware I have not posted much recently, in part because that bout of strep throat essentially drained me.

Also, for lack of better words, my trip to Australia was a bit of a hot mess.

To sum it up right now (because I have a great deal of exploring requiring my attention today), here are two very very important lessons I learned while in Australia (apart from being glad I carried along a hearty stash of azithromycin, among other things):

1. Bring my bikini everywhere. There were multiple occasions I wished I had my swimsuit on me but sadly didn’t, such as when I stumbled upon the awesome random man-made beach in South Bank, Brisbane and ended up doing an impromptu beach day in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast (the latter of which did result in a noticeable sundress tan line).

Fortunately, I found a fantastic beer garden to hang out at (with free popcorn!) right by the beach in South Bank…

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2. PLAN AHEAD, DAMNIT. I went into my almost-three weeks in Australia with virtually no plans, which according to some was a ‘very Australian thing to do’. While I see some value in this (because spontaneity is terrific, and arguably having zero plans is a lot less expensive), I’ve found having at least SOME sort of an idea what the hell I’m going to do with myself helps tremendously… Perhaps this is just a matter of personal preference, but I’m really not a fan of not knowing in advance where I’m going to sleep that night, or when approximately I’m moving from point A to B. I’m all for leaving ample room for flexibility though!

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Culture-Shocked in Indooroopilly

My first full days in Australia resulted in significantly more culture shock than expected.

For some reason odd reason, I chose to spend my first few hours after landing in Brisbane at the massive Indooroopilly Shopping Centre (which admittedly was a questionable choice), where it took just about every ounce of energy in me not to giggle hysterically and/or run into random passers-by as I dumbfoundedly stumbled through the mall.

Immediately following 9 weeks in generally rural Fiji, everything seemed just too… nice. And shiny.

I found myself initially thinking there were far too many shop and restaurant options. And why does this mall have freaking chandeliers; don’t they know there are children out there who need new classrooms built and island communities desperately in need of cyclone repair!?

Mild yet striking discrepancies between certain retail stores here in Australia and those back in the States, such as a simple change of font in the ‘Target’ logo, sent me into a remarkably bewildered temperament.

CultureShockedInIndooroopilly

Relatively speaking, Brisbane isn’t even that big of a metropolitan area (although at least twice the size of my home city of Denver), but enormously urban compared to pretty much everything in Fiji.

Albeit being a very very nice, frankly, Indooroopilly felt uncomfortably suburban.

Prior to Fiji, I lived in the city, where no one really seems to care what you do so long as you don’t bother anyone else. Folks in Indooroopilly did seem to take slight notice to my disoriented nature (not at all suggesting that suburban-dwellers are cold-hearted, but perhaps just a tad overly observant!).

Finally, I decided all I could do was sit in the corner of the mall’s Pig ‘N’ Whistle restaurant (which I later found out is a chain), where I marveled at the immense beer selection on tap and ultimately ended up quite tipsy embarrassingly early in the evening. It was all I could handle before Uber-ing back to my Airbnb for a long, long sleep.

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