The Top Ten Things Aussies Get Most Homesick For. {Or, what makes us the lucky country}.

This is a post inspired by and dedicated to my good friend Mary B., who has been overseas the better part of this past year. She is currently in the thick of a white European winter, and my last post about being Croatian combined with the recent Australia Day celebrations led to some Facebook comments which led to some ideas, and this is the result.

What are the things Aussies get most homesick for when we travel overseas?

1. The beaches. Obviously if you’re lying on a some amazing near deserted beach in the Caribbean this probably might not count, but there’s no denying that Australia is spoiled with amazing beaches. From large and unspoiled to the small tucked away bays and coves, to the iconic Bondi beach, Australia knows how to do a jaw dropping beach. And when you visit a country that has no ocean or sea be prepared to impress them with the simple fact that you swim in the ocean. Our overseas relatives can’t decide if we are brave or crazy when they see TV footage of our surf beaches. Most FAQ? Aren’t you scared of sharks?

2. The laid back attitude. It’s no surprise that our unofficial national motto is “she’ll be right”. There’s not much that can’t be settled with a cuppa or a beer. Aussies are not an overly dramatic bunch of people, and it’s when you travel to other countries that you appreciate how great that relaxed vibe really is.

3. Beer. Now I’m not a beer connoisseur but I do know that there’s not much that can beat a cold beer on a hot day. And chances are good that you may find yourself in another country on a hot day with a beer that is just not cold enough. Other countries just don’t seem to love a cold beer the way we do here, and you will be faced with things like lemon flavoured beer {Radler, anyone?}, or, even worse, warm beer. And don’t forget our wines either, you know when a Croatian supermarket stocks Aussie wines at premium prices that we are doing something right.

4. Our quirky Aussie-isms. You know the ones, wearing thongs everywhere and knowing you mean footwear and not underwear, shortening words and ending them in “o” {smoko, arvo, bottlo, relo, and servo}, having the only McDonald’s in the whole world that is officially called Maccas, counting down the Triple J Hottest 100 on Australia Day, and claiming ownership of everything we like from our neighbours New Zealand {music, actors, and food} and saying it’s Aussie instead.

5. The food. Not only our national treasures like Vegemite, Tim Tam biscuits, Twisties, and pavlova {shush you Kiwi’s}, but also the various cuisines we have adopted as our own from the many migrants who brought with them things like antipasto, dolmades, curries, Peking duck, churrasco, tapas, and the ubiquitous Pad Thai. It’s when you find yourself having eaten the local cuisine of a new country more than enough times, and then craving for, and realising, that you can’t get a Thai green chicken curry to save your life, that you once again have that pang of homesickness.

6. The Aussie accent. Even when you aren’t missing home in the slightest, there will come a moment in a busy crowd when you hear that unmistakable accent, and your head will spin this way and that looking for the person speaking. You will easily spot them because they will be wearing Billabong shorts and Havianas, and looking like they’re at home.

7. Sense of humour. This is unique and hard to explain. The words dry, sarcastic, and irreverent come to mind. Just about anything goes, and every aspect of our multiculturalism is fodder for a laugh, from the typical outback or bronzed surfer Aussie to the dopey sounding wog boys to the bad Asian drivers. Movies like “The Castle” crack us up for their very familiarity while not being so funny to everyone else.

8. Nicknames. We love a good nickname, after all, why call someone by the name their parents intended? It’s usually a shortened version of the first name or surname, but it can also get very clever and make no sense at all. Most names are shortened to make them easier for our laidback selves to say, and often the beloved “o” is added to the end of a name. Tom becomes Tommo, Maryanne will become Maz, Kerry will become Kez, and even a name like Ana, with only three letters that can’t be shortened to anything, can instead become Anz Bananz. We love nicknames.

9. We love large tourist attractions. You Aussies know what I’m talking about: the giant sheep, prawn, banana, and pineapple {to name a few} that litter our highways and tourist traps. They are enormous, eye catching, and serve no purpose at all except to stop and have a photo and say you were there. If you want to know more there is a whole Wikipedia page, which you can find here, or click on the picture below.

10. It’s home. And even though travel is wonderful, and even though I would love to live in other countries in the future, there’s no denying that we are the lucky country. There is nowhere else I would rather raise my children, nowhere else I would rather educate them, nowhere else I would rather be a pregnant or birthing woman, nowhere else I would want to get sick, nowhere else I would rather go out on the town to see my favourite bands, and nowhere else I want to be right now. This is still a land of opportunity for anyone who is willing to work hard, and we love to see people having a go. And even though various forms of discrimination still exist, we have our many and varied rights and they are protected under the law, which is sadly not the case in a lot of places.

So, there you have it, the things Aussie get the most homesick for. And if I have left something out {which is a certainty, let’s be honest}, then please tell me:

what have you been homesick for on your travels?

Til next time,

Ana.

  1. Such a charming tribute. A few points I’m familiar with and others never heard of-Macca’s! So cool. I like the mix of informative love & nostalgia. I’d love to read more “In Australia” blog posts. I got to the end as was like “no more???”.
    As a total outsider that’s never stepped a toe in your country I gotta ask: what about penguins, koalas and kangaroos! We Americans LOVE THAT SHIT.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Susan, and as for the animals koalas are a bit vicious and only to be approached with qualified handlers and kangaroos like to jump in front of cars while your in the bush at night. Not fun.

      Reply

      1. Ha! When you put it that way I suppose I can see! When I’m out of the country I don’t think “I really miss the stench of skunk”.

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        1. We were camping once when this koala ran down a tree and charged at all of us. We did shit ourselves just a bit, even though it makes a funny story now. They do have the word “bear” in their name after all. ‘Roos are just dumb, what with the car headlights and all…

          Reply

          1. The koala sounds like your version of our asshole raccoon or our raccoon is our version of your asshole koala. Kangaroos just seem so strange, exotic and precious to me…I love love love our deer despite their puny brains and hate when I see them hit by cars.

            Do you have koalas in your neighborhood? I hope I don’t sound like a total idiot asking that but I’ve seen pictures of them chilling in trees near driveways and such. Just curious. Very fascinating to me!

            Reply

            1. Never met a raccoon. And no, thankfully we are too urban boring for a koala.

          2. You should write about your camping/pants shitting time.

            Reply

            1. Good idea, camping not being our forte at all and yet we went twice. With small kids. There might be a story in it…

  2. My last comment I promise. “our deer” makes it sound like I think deer only exist in America. Please don’t think that I think that!

    Reply

    1. Don’t be silly. I know and speak your language.

      Reply

      1. Well you know what I mean! Like “Ana we have these things called deer. They’re kind of like kangaroo, are you following me?”

        Reply

  3. I haven’t travelled in more than 10 years – BOO HOO – and honestly I didn’t miss much while I was away, well apart from my parents and their support. Oh hang on I lie, I missed Vegemite and when I tried to get my US family, who I was a nanny for, in to it they were disgusted at the bitter taste! Sweet things were more there taste xx

    Reply

    1. I’m with them on the sweet, lol. X.

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  4. I agree with everything Thorazinequeen said. Would love to visit your country. More posts about it please! And why not reply to us with cool Aussie nicknames.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Linda, there may be more Aussie related posts on the way. The nicknames are classic Aussie, we should put them out there more. Thanks for reading.

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  5. how about people trying to pronounce the word Aussie? Don’t know why its hard for foreigners to say it correctly:
    Aussie = Ozzy
    Melbourne = NOT MelBORN
    Cairns = Cans
    Macquarie= NOT MackQuery
    LOL

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    1. That’s so true, our accent is tricky, but I hate mel BORN!

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  6. Hi folks, a few things. I’m glad that Australians feel comforted by particular aspects of their culture and landscape. I would suspect this would be the case with expatriates of most countries.

    I reached this blog by entering “She’ll be right” & “denial” & “honesty” or “candour”. So, here are my comments on these topics:

    It is fine to be laid back about things that don’t really matter, but, I have concerns about the “she’ll be right” attitude. I work with preschool children, and often, things are not exactly on track to being “right”. Mums are often on board with making referrals – often it’s the mum who brings up the concerns (albeit timidly). Then the dad gets wind of things, and puts a stop to all supports for the child. Why? Because, in his opinion, “she’ll be right”.

    I am from the US, and moved to Australia about six years ago; a year after my Australian spouse returned. I used to work in Chicago. Parents there were usually keen to get all the help they could for their children. They wanted them to realise their potential. Now I am in rural NSW. It seems that parents here are mostly concerned that their children blend in with their cousins.

    On a different note, I frequently come across Australians who are offended by the fact that many Americans are unfamiliar with the pronunciation some of your key cities. So, tell me, what is the proper local pronunciation of “New Orleans”? How about “Louisville”? If you get it wrong, I won’t be offended. I really doubt if the citizens of these locals spend much time carping over the phonetic misdeeds of poorly informed Australians.

    I just wonder, why is it necessary to continually bash Americans? I didn’t want to come to this country. Now that I’m here, I serve the local community by providing services to children. I get a lot a flack from parents, colleagues and presenters at professional seminars. Usually, it is an indirect comment addressed to everyone present re: how hideous “the” American accent is. (This comes up a lot because of all of the “apps” with voice. Funny thing is, most people tell me that I don’t sound like an American. I do sound like an American, but my accent is not the one that most Australians are familiar with.)

    Because I work with the public, I’m not really at liberty to express myself, except anonymously. I hope that you find these comments apply to your discussion about aspects of Australian culture. I suppose I miss the straight-forward, candid, earnest, plain-spoken and grown-up-sounding style of urban mid-western US communication as much as Australians miss the indirect, laid-back communication peppered with nicknames, jesting jabs and deprecatives (shortened words + ie/o) that is associated with interactions among Australians.

    Ultimately, communication and language is not right or wrong. It is either effective in achieving the function for which its users intend it, or it is not, or somewhere in-between. And, often, the function of communication is to conceal, rather than convey information, to distance, rather than bridge. The somewhat hidden or ulterior functions of communication are aspects that I have only recently begun to consider.

    Reply

    1. First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to compose such a long response, and to say that more than anything the post was intended as a tongue in cheek look at what makes Australians a little bit unique or different from other nationalities. I agree with you that it is never a case of she’ll be right when it comes to the health and well-being of any child, and I am truly sorry that in your work as an educator you have had to deal with small minded racist jibes.

      As for the mispronounced names and places that happens everywhere, and it was in fact an American based friend who commented on this. I am not one for bashing any culture or country AT ALL, and I apologise if it came across otherwise.

      As for communication and anonymity I am am also in agreement with you. There is often only so much which we can openly and honestly share or express online, whether due to work considerations, or for other personal reasons. {Like your Mum reading your blog and not liking what you have to say}.

      The last thing I intended was to offend, and to be perfectly honest if there is any group of people that I have come even close to taking aim at it’s the Croatian community here in Australia, of which I am a part and have grown up a part of and therefore feel entitled to have a serious opinion on.

      I hope you are able to enjoy your time here in Australia, as I really do think it’s a great place to live and raise a family, but obviously there’s a whole world I haven’t seen or experienced.

      Best of luck to you.
      -Ana.

      Reply

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