ABOUT | TRAVEL (B)LOG | PHOTOS | MIXED GRILL | MAP
            <<  Byron Bay, 1-Mar-2014  >>

Epitaph for Australia

Member of Cockroach Generation, living in Ginsberg's utopia or dystopia - choose one. Sun and sin in Australia.

As John Denver (and later Steven Tyler) sings: All my bags are packed, Iím ready to goÖ

Together I spent almost 9 months in Australia, broken by ďholidayĒ in Indonesia. And so, hereís my epitaph for Australia.

Iíve said in before, I say it again:
My dream of living in Australia kind of came true against my own will :-)
When I was a child (not that I feel too adult now) I imagined Australia as the Paradise. The sun, the ocean, kangaroos, surfing, beach volleyball, great cities, big open space. This was my imagination. And itís all true, itís all here. Endless beaches, waving ocean, hopping creatures, red dustÖ But, there are few things that are not here. As a child I could not have known that I will miss shadows of cathedrals (which I never visit) on cobbled streets, houses made of stones, touch of history in the streets. I donít know how to describe it, but itís a feeling. Even in USA I felt much more at home than here. I remember that Lonely Planet once wrote: ďEurope is not just continent, itís state of mindĒ. And while such a bullshit sentence could be written about ANY continent (which continent does not have that specific atmosphere that cannot be really described?, all of them do!), still this sentence kept on coming back to my mind very often. Itís something about the European state-of-mind-ness that is missing here for me. For many others, this is actually exactly what they are looking for.

Do I love Australia? Hmm, I donít. Was it fun here? Damn right it was!
For me Australia is like a girl youíre dating for some time, because sheís good looking and fun, but whom you donít intend to marry :-) or spend more than limited time with her. I would have never guessed that Australia is going to be the place where I spent most of the time of my journey (and I wouldnít bet a dime, on the day I arrived and found out how expensive it was). Itís not India with its shocking full scale cultural intensiveness and ability to turn your life and values upside down. Australia is like a colony on Mars. Lifeís easy and good, but the soil is not soaked by magic that only comes with time. Iím so glad that I came here. It was one of the easiest times of my life. I made enough money to sustain myself here, while having enough time to go surfing and read and be with my girlfriend. Life was easy and fun here. Not magical, but easy and fun is also good.
Honestly, I do not feel the urge to ever come back to Australia again, there are simply so many other places to explore, but I bet I will be back here earlier than I think. The lure of the money which I can earn hear to finance my travels is simply too big. Money talks, letís face it. And this is a nice place to be while digging for gold.

But my strongest memory of Australia will be connected with the travelers here. The army of backpackers that Iím part of.
We come here and fulfill Godís will: we prosper and multiply. We are like cockroaches, emerging from every corner, from every dark place. No, not like cockroaches, like locusts. We descend onto Australiaís fruit and we eat the land. We eat, and drink, and party, and fuck and all over again, and far away from Rousseau and Descartes we live our small insect life, that is so much fun. Half Nietzscheís-ubermensch (he would be delighted to see how successfully weíve finally stepped over shadow of god) and half children-of-sun we live in a place from Ginsbergís utopia or dystopia, but I donít know which. We talk about love, but we mean sex, we talk about social injustice while spending $30 on cigarettes and smoking them in the first class of the first world, we despise The System but we are parasitic on its fruits. We call for return to the nature, but what we mean is blessing of ignorance. We are throwing an epic party on Titanic. Looking at us, in Australia, we are a generation that deserves a name. We are not lost generation, or beat generation, and we are not generation X either. Almost none of us had to fight any great fight, although the current world wide crisis and especially the turmoil of southern Europe starts to count. But still, Iím not sure if Occupy Wallstreet counts as great fight of a generation for its self-expression. Maybe yes, maybe not. And we escape, here to Australia. This is a prime country for cockroaching. It has great white menís cockroaching tradition. We, the whites, came here, killed the natives and called this land our own. And now, every backpacker says: Hey, thatís not my fault, it wasnít me. It happened 200 years before I was born, so how can you blame me? And so we wash our hands and keep on cockroaching, in this wonderful first world resort Australia. We are young, happy and white. Lifeís easy, lifeís fun. And we learnt to live cheap, here in land Down Under. We donít need much, just like those cockroaches. Me and my homies from the Cockroach Generation. Itís good to be a cockroach, cockroaches are the survivors. And if not, well, the last one please turn off the light. Evolution does not ask questions, it just happens, and happens and keeps on happening. I wish I could write a novel, a manifesto about all of this. About happy days of cockroaches and locusts. One day maybe.

Thatís it from Australia.
Over.

And no words could be more appropriate than those of Woolworths self-checkout machine:

Do you wish to print a receipt?
- No.
Take your bags. Thank you for shopping with Australia's fresh food people!

PS: For future usage, I will store here is bloody Aussie slang, as I will need it next time I come here: bloody, mate, reckon, epic, massive, heaps of, frothing, brekky, goon, schooner, coldie, legend, fucking legend, campa, cheers.


Click for photo gallery




     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak