I’ve just returned from three weeks travelling Europe, and for someone like me who hasn’t done much long distance overseas travel, it was certainly an eye opener. Firstly, just to get from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, is a 14-hour flight. My connecting flight from there, was another eight hours. So just like that, I’ve spent 22 hours sitting in a tin can in the sky; and I still had to get home at the end. Think about how far you could drive in that time? For me, that would be to Brisbane and back, or Melbourne and back. Then the cost; just the flights to get to Europe set me back $1700, then there is accommodation, food, activities and taxis for when I got lost (often) to factor in. $1700 buys a decent amount of diesel and camping permits if you get where I’m going with this.
I must make it clear, I don’t regret a second of this trip and I recommend everyone travel overseas at least once. It certainly did make me reflect on just how big Australia is though, and how varying the terrain is here. The benefit of Europe is that neighbouring countries are so close. Feel like pizza in Italy for dinner? Jump on a plane and an hour later you’re there. We certainly don’t have that luxury here. But as we all know by now, the journey counts for more than the destination … well, unless you are crammed into economy class for 14 hours next to someone who is allergic to deodorant.
Another thing worth mentioning is how much better our 4WD scene is here. The whole time I was away, I spotted one Series IIA Land Rover, a JK Wrangler on 40-inch sticky Treps (just what you want in Athens traffic) and a Mercedes Geländewagen or two. Except for the Jeep, none were modified beyond some chrome bumpers. None had dirt on them nor looked to be ever taken off-road. Ever!
So this begs the question, is Australia the perfect holiday destination? Yes and no. We are so regulated in this country, wrapped in cotton wool and taxed heavily for the privilege, if you want my honest opinion. But hot damn, we do live in a beautiful, safe and friendly place that really has something for everyone. Would I go overseas again? Absolutely! But I must admit I’m absolutely stinging for a local camping trip … I need a holiday from all that travelling. And I couldn’t think of anywhere else in the world I’d want to take that holiday right now.