5 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Want To Go To Australia
In junior year, I will have the chance to do something that not many people will ever experience: study abroad. Britain. Ireland. Scotland. Greece. Spain. I can go literally anywhere, do anything, see any overhyped, publically acclaimed landmark that my heart desires. I could teach English in Bhutan, build houses in Chile or herd sheep in Finland. (There may not even be sheep in Finland but to be honest, I’ve been slacking on my historical knowledge of slightly obscure countries. My bad.)
But I want to go to Australia.
The mere mention of this isolated continent sparks a flame inside my brain for reasons that I have yet to understand. My longing for the outback has been planted in my heart since birth, making the impulse seem more of an instinct than a legitimate want, and it’s driving me insane. Because truthfully, I don’t really want to go to Australia. In fact, if you listed every one of my major interests and reversed them, you would end up with a short history of Australia and its defining aspects. On the last page of this novel, you would find a picture of me, face lined with tears, sitting above a caption reading “Tyler Vendetti, banned from the country by the Australian government in hopes of preventing a catastrophic emotional meltdown upon arrival” coupled with a list of potential causes for this predicted disaster. The list also happens to possess an alternate title, “5 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Want To Go To Australia,” which can be found exclusively in my journal and in the space below. Don’t enjoy it too much.
I Don’t Like Bugs
Don’t be fooled by my exterior. I may have the body of a 19-year-old girl but my mental capacity for handling the tiniest of insects plateaued at the age of 10. Bees. Ants. Beetles. You name it. I’m even scared of the Daddy Long Legs, for Pete’s sake, and a baby with PlayDoh could create a mold more frightening than one of those (no offense DLL…you’re still my favorite “least favorite” insect). So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered what insects originate from this floating death-trap of an island.
Here’s a sample of what I found:
I focus on spiders here because Australia is the proud owner of the world’s most dangerous collection (and also I’d like to pretend that spiders are the only creepy-crawly I’ll have to worry about while I’m there, which I know is grossly optimistic but hey, ignorance is bliss).
The exception to this bug repulsion will forever and always be the dragonfly because it doesn’t bite, sting, buzz or do anything remotely harmful and also because it is the most easily translated into fashionable jewelry. Wearing a dragonfly necklace is acceptable. I may even ask to be your friend. If you come to school wearing a spider or scorpion necklace, though, I will tell everyone that you are secretly a witch and I will not feel sorry about it. (And before you say it, I know spiders are not insects but calling them that makes writing this article much easier.)
I Don’t Like the Heat
Whenever I get into an argument with my mother, I threaten to move to Alaska, which is particularly effective because she knows I mean it. When presented with an igloo or a summer home on the coast of California, there is a good chance I would choose the prior, not because I have anything against Hollywood but because I’d rather snuggle up in 3 jackets in front of a fire and drink hot cocoa than suntan on the beach any day. All of which leads me to wonder why I would even consider travelling to one of the hottest and driest places on planet Earth. I still don’t know.
I’m Afraid of Deadly Marine Animals
Australia is a tease. With temperatures hot enough to melt people from the inside out coupled with oceans blue and alluring enough to give Hugh Laurie’s eyes a run for the money, not going in the water is almost impossible. So what better way to troll people by then populating the water with creatures that could kill you instantly? See below:
The prospect of encountering any of these creatures will keep me out of the water (along with those strong riptides) should I choose to make the 24-hour plight to Australia. Without Australian beaches, the country doesn’t have much more to offer. So again…why do I want to go here?
I Don’t Want to Scuba Dive
The Great Barrier Reef is perhaps Australia’s most popular tourist attraction and for good reasons. This coral paradise stretches for over 2,600 kilometers and holds the title for world’s biggest living organism. It also happens to be teeming with wildlife (some of which is deadly) and lies well beneath the ocean’s surface, thus requiring one to scuba dive in order to properly experience it.
Now, I’m a very emotional person and not just in the crying-over-spilled-milk sort of way. If I see something that I like, I will not waste time jumping on the opportunity to get it. Likewise, on the other end of the spectrum, if I see something that I don’t like, say, a monstrous shark floating towards me, my first inclination will be to swim away as fast as physically possible, without thinking or using my common sense. I don’t know much about scuba diving but I do know that if you ascend too quickly, an air bubble will inject itself into your heart and kill you almost instantly. In a reef buzzing with sting rays, crocodiles and sharks (jumping to extremes here, I know, but bear with me), there is no way anyone is going to prevent me from racing to the surface, not even myself. Another instant-death strategy, it seems.
I Get Homesick
Australia, if you didn’t know, is 24 hours away by plane. Meaning, you will be in the air for a full day. (Actually, two days. The plane crosses the International Date Line halfway through, allowing you to essentially not exist for a full day. Who said magic wasn’t real?) This means, though, that the probability of friends or family visiting (or even Skyping) remains low. Now, what if I don’t make any friends there? What if I need moral support to tell me it’s okay and that I survived yet another day in the world’s most dangerous country? Writing my thoughts in my journal is great and all but it’s not nearly as good at comforting my anxiety as my mother and friends are. Not to mention the cost of getting 8,000 miles away from home will put me into debt for at least a decade. Top Ramen diet for life!!
The only upside to this point is, if you do make contact, you will technically be communicating with these people from their tomorrow, which designates you an official time-traveller. Who needs time-turners when you have Australia?
Every rational bone in my body tells me I’m crazy, tells me there’s no logical reason for wanting to go to one of the world’s most terrifying countries when the scariest thing I’ve done is go on Universal’s “The Hulk” roller coaster (twice, I’ll have you know). But perhaps that’s the reason I want to go, after all? Perhaps my body yearns to step out of its comfort zone, to get a little illogical and give a little love to one of the most neglected countries in existence. People will go to Bhutan to teach orphans or build houses in Chile or herd sheep in Finland (okay, maybe not that) but they will not go to Australia, even though they can. Maybe that’s what sparks my interest, the prospect of going somewhere that no one else ever has or ever will, of taking that once-in-a-lifetime experience and making it even more unique.
Whatever it is, whatever ungodly instinct is making me crave this potential death-sentence, I’m sure there’s a reason for it (even if it will remain unaware to me until a week into my study abroad stay). Until then, I can only sit back and anticipate the day that I can take the plunge into the land down under.