A year ago by Marquis A Matson ∙ 6 min read
I just finished the smoothest soy latte I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking. It was accompanied by a massive muffin that was more like a cake with semi-dried cherries, toasted coconut flakes, and pieces of melted chocolate.
I’m telling you this because I feel that it’s a very important representation of what it’s like to be in Australia.
Food is a craft and restaurants are like museums. Prices may be high here but if there’s anything I learned about living in Australia, it’s that I really like having a lot of money. Being “rich” is fucking nice.
But I’m not really that rich. Just rich enough to live in one of the nicest places in the world, but not rich enough to not think about saving money. Which is one of the many reasons we’re moving to Mexico. We want to be able to buy things with cash and it’s a lot easier to save cash when your living expenses are super low.
I may not be leaving to Mexico just yet.
Living in such a rich place means that everyone around you is also semi-rich and, in fact, likely richer than you (me). So when it’s time to sell my made-to-camp SUV on Facebook Marketplace, there aren’t all that many people who are interested in buying it. Their trucks are probably even nicer than mine, although I still get butterflies when I look at her.
So we’re coming in at a month until departure and we’ve still got both of our vehicles and no access to a single COVID test. COVID tests are being hoarded across Australia at the moment because our cases have peaked since the borders between states have opened, so everyone is in panic mode. It feels reminiscent of the Toilet Paper Incident a couple of years ago, except now it’s with rapid COVID tests and frozen chicken breasts.
Not only that, but we’re finally being forced to wear masks indoors and check in everywhere we go. We’ve casually had to do this over the past year, but life was mostly unaffected by COVID until very recently.
Just as we’re about to leave, things are tightening up.
So rich people don’t want to buy my used shit and there are no COVID tests that I can buy in order to get out of the country.
It reminds me of my friend Kate’s story about leaving India to get back to her home country, New Zealand. Her story is way more hectic and honestly I recommend you listen to it if you want to hear some of the crazy kind of drama we get ourselves into on occasion simply by being nomads. Her story is exceptional, but that’s why you gotta listen to it.
So uh, time will tell what will happen over the next couple of months! We’ve got a backup plan, which involves postponing our flights until we have the other stuff sorted.
And if you’re like my partner, then you are probably wondering why we’d book the tickets before those things were sorted to begin with. And as my partner has already answered that question: it’s because it’s incredibly difficult to change my mind about something once it’s made up.
I had decided that I wanted to book flights out of the country because I was determined to leave on those flights. Build it and they will come, right?
But unlike my partner, I’m still not all that familiar with Australian culture. Where America gets off on convenience and efficiency, Australia gets off on living a good life.
And a good life takes time.
My partner reminded me that his country has fewer than 30 million people over the entire land of what’s equivalent to the United States. The US, on the other hand, has 329+ million people.
Where I live now, the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, has ~ 330 thousand people.
So there isn’t as big of a market for literally anything and everyone has tons of money anyway so they’re not always looking for used toys. Many are, of course, but not in comparison to the US, which is where I have experience selling my stuff online.
Not only that, but everyone is currently on summer vacation. You see, Australians get a standard 4 weeks (27 days) of vacation each year and I guess a lot of them take that vacation starting around Christmas and through January.
In the US, shopping typically spikes in January because everyone is motivated by a fresh year. And winter vacations just aren’t as popular as summer vacations.
Here, in my current experience, people are not shopping for vehicles because they are knee deep in Aperol Spritz in Noosa, the vacation capitol of Queensland. And I live 15 minutes from Noosa, so I’m watching everyone on family vacation, notably not swiping on Facebook Marketplace.
It’s these kinds of things I didn’t think about when booking my flights because they’re not at all like my previous experiences.
So we’re in quite a predicament.
I low key panicked for a week or so once I realized that I was not, in fact, prepared to leave like I thought I was. But then we looked at our options and it just means that we’d get to stay temporarily in other parts of Australia we’ve always wanted to know better and that doesn’t sound like a bad alternative.
But this is what I love about a nomadic life. Sometimes you just have to rip the bandaid off and begin. It will deviate from your plan within the first day of planning, so might as well go with the flow.
And because my nature is not to go with the flow, I love these big reminders.
It’s easier now to go with the flow than it has been in the past. This is something about Australian culture that I didn’t expect to learn. Australians are easy to get along with, in many cases. I’ve met a couple nut cases but Australians also do a lot of drugs so sometimes you come across someone who is cooked.
But for the most part, they’re a very easy going people. They prioritize life and enjoying it over work stuff, yet they make heaps of money. There’s no ego about what you do for a living because they mostly just work to buy toys, like trucks and surfboards and vans and trailers and all kinds of epic 4WD camping gear.
Seriously, I just spent a week in Carnarvon Gorge over Christmas break and the kinds of caravans that we saw were insane. Like, mobile homes with huge tires and solar power. Like the off-road camping version of the muffin-that-was-more-like-a-cake from the beginning of this post.
This may be specific to the Sunshine Coast, I don’t know. Most of Australia is pretty rural but honestly I’ve never been to a single place in Australia that didn’t have barista coffee that was made with the respect that it deserves.
So I’ve been over here just learning how to go with the flow in one of the flowiest places in the world. It makes it kinda hard to leave and also kinda alright that I might not be able to.
As nice as it is, I’m ready to pocket some of this cash instead of spend it on all of this (absolutely welcomed) luxury. It just seems like the best way to reach my goals even faster.
And as I’ve explained earlier in this post, it’s hard to change my mind once it’s made up about something.
Alright, I’ve included two full circles and one heart-warming lesson, so that seems like a good place to sign off.
Hope you had a restful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. May 2022 be good to you!