Guest Post by Abby Strangward
Body coated in sand, sea glittering before me, seagulls edging their way towards the remnants of a fish and chips dinner – I could stay here forever.
Australia. You’re a dreamy mess and I love it.
Life down under? It’s pretty average, for me. I live in a small coastal town right at the bottom of the country, near Melbourne. I wake up every morning and rush to school, and spend my afternoons at home working, in town with my friends, or by the beach. On Tuesdays I go surfing with a group of friends (my favourite part of the week). Weekends are spent in a sleepy haze down on an island, catching up with friends and sleeping on the roof.
Australia feels like a roughly sewn-together patchwork of everything; I’m surrounded by people, food and culture of every nationality and ethnicity. Living here teaches you so much respect. I do believe Australia has a culture all its own; everybody is so different, but we’re all Australian - we’re all ready to head down to the beach and grab some fish and chips. We love sport, the beach and the land, and half of us don’t give a shit about Australia Day but no-body cares. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and for the most part, people are accepting of each other.
The ‘land down under’ is perceived so differently around the world. There are so many stereotypes associated with us aussies – and not half of them are true.
Every animal is trying to kill you. We don’t walk outside and encounter a snake on the road. Poisonous spiders aren’t in every corner and frankly, I’ve never seen a crocodile in my life. We do have native dogs. The birds are nice too - except for the magpies. Australian magpie season is open season on the back of your head. They swoop, they dive, they attack, and if you look down, no-one can help you.
Fashion. We have a reputation for board shorts, budgie smugglers, hats with dangling corks and thongs. But Melbourne and Sydney in particular are establishing themselves as fashion capitals, and the streetwear there could rival London and Paris.
Vegemite. I hate vegemite. That yellow-labelled salty brown spread is awful. Why are we known for this? Why?
Surfing. It’s not something we’re taught the moment we exit the womb. Personally, I happen to love it, but it’s not a talent we all innately possess.
No culture. We have art galleries! We’re trying our best!
Tim Tams. Actually … this one’s a little true. But have you ever had a Tim Tam? They’re amazing. I’m proud to be associated with this tasty chocolate treat.
We ride to work on kangaroos and have pet koalas.
Have you ever tried to get near a kangaroo or koala?
I actually have a fantastic story about this; I was driving home with my mum just after 11pm, and a baby koala wandered out onto the road. We stopped and approached it and it sniffed our hands and let us pat it.
So that happened.
But that’s rare, I’m telling you. Kangaroos are downright mean. We do use cars and bikes, not the native wildlife.
Australia has shaped me as a person. Nothing I’m doing now would be possible without the influence of my home. My blog, Seafoam, is so heavily influenced by the ocean and my way of life. I’m incredibly grateful for how I’ve grown up. I’m in love with my home and I’m desperate to travel the world, but not until I’ve surfed up on the sunshine coast, sat in cafes in Byron Bay, lived and worked in Sydney, and gone to festivals in Perth. I dream of Paris, New York, London and Los Angeles – but home is always here.
Abby is a 15 year old Australian girl living by the coast. She takes photos, makes videos, writes about everything and speaks a bit of shitty french. You can generally find her by the ocean, in bed, or on the wrong bus somewhere.