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5 Reasons Why I Shouldn’t Want To Go To Australia

July 23, 2012

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:

Sydney Funnel Web Spider

Redback Spider

Ant-Mimicking Spider

Jumping Spider

Crab Spider (This one eats bees so I approve of it slightly more than the others.)

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:

Great White Shark

Box Jellyfish

Blue Ringed Octopus

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 (from Boston directly). 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-traveler. 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). I don’t know if I will study in Australia or simply go to visit. Until I decide, I can only sit back and anticipate the day that I can take the plunge into the land down under.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2012 5:41 pm

    a. you are an awesome writer. b. how did you get to write for HelloGiggles? i’m super jealous!

    • August 26, 2012 11:34 pm

      a. Thank you!!
      b. My friend told me about the site when it first came out. I saw the contribute button at the top and immediately began writing articles to send in. Two were published and gained a lot of popularity and then I got an email asking if I wanted to be a permanent author! I’m still in shock about it to be honest haha.

      If you want to be one, I’d suggest that you just keep writing and contributing! Sometimes they decide they want new writers and they could ask you if they like your work. It might take awhile (I submitted about a billion articles, 2 were chosen and were published months after I submitted them…) but don’t get discouraged!

      Good luck! 🙂

      • August 27, 2012 7:03 am

        thanks so much!

      • October 8, 2012 4:27 pm

        Hey! It’s me again. So, HelloGiggles e-mailed me like a little over a week ago saying they were considering my piece and to please submit a pic of me/pic for the article, and a link to my blog.
        Do they normally tell you if they’re going to publish your article?
        Thanks once again 🙂

      • October 8, 2012 5:56 pm

        Hey, that’s great! I’m fairly certain that when they ask for your pic/blog post link, that means it will definitely be published (that’s the same email I got when my first post was published). So congrats!!! 🙂 The tricky part, though, is that they may not tell you when the piece will get put on the site. It could be anywhere from a week to a few months before you see it so just make sure you keep an eye on the home page.

        While this may not make you an official “author” on the site yet, it definitely boosts your chances! If the post gets a lot of traffic, there’s a good chance you’ll be seeing another email from them. 🙂

        Hope everything goes well! And if you tell me when your piece is published, I will most certainly spread the word about it! 🙂

      • girlmeetsnotebook permalink
        October 10, 2012 4:18 am

        You are my HelloGiggles spirit guide. Thank you! Yeah, I was wondering if they would e-mail me when/if the article goes live, so I’ll just have to keep a lookout. It’s “5 Witty Costume Ideas for English Majors” (something kind of similar to what I posted on my WordPress but more put together).

        Thanks for the advice:)

      • October 10, 2012 4:39 am

        Wait…that sounds fantastic haha. As a potential English major, I highly approve of that article.

        Anytime! I’m always glad to answer questions for a fellow Giggler. 🙂

      • December 20, 2012 7:49 pm

        Hey Tyler! SO HelloGiggles just e-mailed me two or three days ago asking if I wanted to become a regular contributor! I am STOKED. And totally scared that the ideas I pitched to them are like, total garbage. How many days did it take for them to get back to you? I e-mailed Chrissa back with my ideas, bio, and picture and she hasn’t e-mailed me back yet…Is that totally normal? Thanks, AGAIN 🙂

      • December 21, 2012 4:11 am

        Hey, that’s great!!! Congrats!!! If I’m remembering correctly, it took about 2 or 3 days for her to respond so I wouldn’t worry about it. And if you submitted more than one column idea, definitely don’t worry about it. They might even like more than one of your ideas and ask you to do both.

        Welcome to the HelloGiggles community! 🙂

  2. September 9, 2012 10:11 pm

    This is brilliant.

  3. October 2, 2012 3:09 am

    Hi there! I found your blog from Hello Giggles, and I’m already a fan after your first post. As someone who studied abroad in Sydney my junior year of college, I must emphatically reiterate what you already know: go! I was terrified of the same things—and I had brushes with most of those things. BUT. Look! I’m still here. And it was the best semester of college. Hands down. You will love it too. Australia gets in the blood.

    Plus, you make all your family come visit you to cure homesickness!

    • October 2, 2012 3:30 am

      That’s so comforting to hear!! I’ve heard mixed reviews from people who have traveled there but I’m starting to develop more of a YOLO mindset (forgive me for the term). And that is very true! The only hard part will be convincing my mother to suffer the 24 hour plane ride. 🙂

      Thanks so much for reading! When junior year finally comes around, I’ll be sure to post many updates about my adventures. 🙂

  4. November 15, 2012 9:09 pm

    Hey Tyler,
    First off, love your blog/hellogiggle posts.
    Secondly, I studied abroad in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and it was the best decision of my life. All of the ideas we have of what Australia is aren’t really true. I never saw a deadly spider, except for once on a trip to the outback where some random Aussie outback guy (they’re called Bogans the American version of redneck) got rid of it without flinching. You don’t have to scuba dive, I actually hate water, can’t swim to save my life, so you can chill on the many beaches they have up on the northern coast (Cannes, Gold Coast) and watch your friends scuba dive. The time difference is hard to adjust at first, but the journey there is so exciting! Honestly, I was hesitant go to the other side of the world, but then I realized, when in my life will I get the chance to go to Australia for five months?! Never really. And New Zealand is their neighbor so I highly recommend you stop by there as well for some of the most beautiful nature you will ever see, it’s epic Lord of the Rings stuff and it’s THE place to bungee jump. Oh, and EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE you meet in Oz is incredibly nice and kind. GO TO OZ. You’ll fall in love and find yourself wanting to stay there.


    • November 16, 2012 2:39 am

      First off, thank you! Secondly, your post is extremely comforting! (Especially the spiders part…just the word brings up frightening images in my mind.) I actually read a book recently about traveling around Australia (A Sunburnt Country by Bill Bryson) which mentioned the “mini-beaches” around the edge of the Great Barrier Reef so that you can go snorkeling and just hang around instead of scuba dive (although I feel like if I don’t scuba dive, I might regret it later…my mind is still wrestling with this idea). I’m both excited/scared about the distance! Ignoring the obvious misery that will come from the 24 hour plane ride, I think being so far away, in a place that you can’t just travel to nonchalantly over summer break on your own time, is enthralling. Seriously, you could go to London any time but when are you going to find the time to go halfway across the world to the middle of nowhere? Oh, and I will definitely go to New Zealand. If I don’t find my way to this relic, I will hate myself for eternity: Look at that. Like, cmon.

      I also had to google your OZ reference and let me say, that is the cutest country nickname ever.

      Anyways, thanks for your comment! All of this feedback on the greatness of Australia…it’s making it pretty hard to resist. Guess I’ll have to go there myself and see if all the hype is true. 🙂

  5. February 27, 2013 11:09 am

    I just found your work via Hello Giggles and have been reading through your blog, very entertaining. As this post is quite old now you might already be in Australia, but if you are still considering please go. All my life I had suffered from that same yearning, only for me it was to travel to Africa. In the middle of last year I did, all on my own. It was the best thing I have ever done, leaving was also one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Some scary stuff, i.e. being charged by a bull elephant, did happen to me. I survived and now it is one of my favourite stories to tell.
    I can also say as an Australian that there is so much more to Australia than bugs, sharks and heat. It even snowed in summer this year! You will have an amazing time, not many people get the opportunity to visit for more than a couple of weeks. There is no way you can see even the smallest fraction of the country in that time. All of Europe fits in here with heaps of room to spare. Its huge. The great thing is if you hate it, you can always catch a flight and be home in a few (quite a few I know) hours.

    • March 17, 2013 3:23 am

      Hi Jorja! Sorry it took so long for me to respond to this! I am not in Australia (yet!). I have one semester left before I leave for my adventures abroad. My only hesitation with my decision is the fact that all of my friends will be in Europe in different places, something which may never happen again. So I’ve started to wonder: Should I go to Europe and hop around or go to Australia (/New Zealand), which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go? After reading everyone’s fantastic comments on here (including yours! the bull elephant story sounds actually terrifying/exciting/but slightly more terrifying than exciting), I know that I will go to Australia, if not with my school then immediately after I graduate, as a gift to myself. 🙂

  6. Caleb permalink
    July 24, 2013 5:06 am

    I found your blog through hellogiggles and absolutely love it! I’m an Aussie (Australian, if you haven’t learned our vernacular yet…). I’ve never had a run in with any of the things you’re fearful of and I’ve lived on both sides of the country. I hope you have an incredibly enjoyable stay over here! Where are you studying over here? 🙂

    • Tyler Vendetti permalink*
      July 24, 2013 3:41 pm

      Hey!! I’m not studying abroad there yet but when/if I do, I’ll probably be near Sydney. It makes me feel slightly better that you haven’t seen any creepy bugs at all! Maybe other Austrailians made the existence of these creatures up so that no one would travel there and they could have the whole country to themselves. (Tehe!)
      Anyways, thanks for reading!

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