Nine Things I Have Learnt Whilst Travelling….So Far!
The missus (Tracey) and me have been on the road travelling for a little over two months now staying in a variety of hostels, campsites and family and friend’s houses. It’s fair to say that we’ve loved Australia, some parts more than others, but I thought it was time to review and reflect on what I’ve learnt so far. I know some of you might say it’s about time that I learnt something… but I’m only 53 and I’ve got years left to have fun! So here goes:
Number One – Aussies don’t speak English!
Australians are very much like Americans. They think they speak English – but they don’t. Australian is a language all of its own, made up of lots of words ending in ‘o’.
Salvo – Salvation Army
Smoko – Smoke or Tea Break
Bottle O – off licence
Freo – Freemantle, a lovely city south of Perth
arvo – afternoon
ambo’ – ambulance
rego – vehicle registration
Rotto – Rottnest Island, a lovely place south of Perth.
If in doubt, stick an ‘o’ on the end and you will probably sound just like a real Aussie! This works for names too – Jono, Tomo, Dicko, Timo etc. We love them all really though and the one thing they smash us out of the park with is my…
Number Two – Aussie Fish and Chips are THE best
Australian Fish and Chips are bloody amazing! I know my Yorkshire friends will be gasping and spitting into their frothy beer at this statement, but the simple fact is that Aussie Fish and Chips makes ours look and taste like garbage. It’s freshly made (yes you have to wait a while but you wait for a Chinese or Indian takeaway right?), you choose your fish and how you want it cooked, and their chips are large, crisp, and their portions sizes are huge.
The ONLY downside is they don’t have malt vinegar, using some shitty clear stuff instead, but that’s a small price to pay for a tray of freshly cooked grilled, battered or crumbed fish with fresh crisp chips. I had salmon cooked medium rare recently with some scallops on the side and chips and it rocked. We also love barramundi, snapper, whiting and flat head. Thank you Australia for taking fish and chips to a whole new level – there’s a huge business back home if we did this as well as them!
Number Three – Washing Up liquid works great as shampoo/shower gel
All this fuss and palaver over what type of shampoo to use – washing up liquid works really well. When you’re camping/travelling, space and weight are at a premium so when you run out of shower gel, guess what? Washing up liquid works great! I’m not suggesting this as a long-term plan but on a short term basis, have no fear about using your washing up liquid on yourself. It works in reverse too BTW!
Number Four – Sunscreen is really important
You know we all laugh and scoff at using sunscreen in the UK resulting in lobster like bodies after a day in the sun. Do that in Australia and you’ll be in hospital in a huge amount of pain. You need to wear sunscreen even when you have a tan over here. The sun is flipping hot and you will burn very quickly.
There’s a good reason Aussies wear what they call a ‘Rashi’ which is a lightweight t-shirt when they’re swimming, coz being in the water magnifies the sun’s effects and once your sun screen wears off, you’ll burn baby burn!
Oh and wear a hat too, as often as you can. It’s cool to wear hats over here – all the kids wear hats to school and even though we may think they look like dorks – they are necessarily protecting themselves from the sun. With skin cancer rates rocketing in UK, perhaps we should adopt a bit more ‘slip, slop, slap’ – slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat. Now where’s my hat gone?
Number Five – Learn to cook before you go travelling
You can travel pretty cheaply if you want too if you cook for yourself and are prepared to rough it a bit. Not rough it in the sense of sleeping rough, but perhaps using hostels instead of hotels and a car and tent instead of a motorhome. Markets are great for cheap produce but you can only buy so much when you’re travelling. It won’t last long without refrigeration and you simply can’t carry it all around with you.
The key to eating well on a budget is to buy fresh, buy little and often and learn what’s cheaper in whatever country you’re in. Here in Australia, meat is pretty cheap, beef, pork and chicken especially so. Fresh fish is good value. Fruit and veg is surprisingly expensive and basic groceries can seem very expensive at times. But cooking for yourself saves you loads of money over eating out. Cooking is not microwaving a frozen pizza (all you guys and gals we’ve met on our travels…) – it’s using raw ingredients to produce a meal. Old fashioned I know, but still by far the tastiest and cheapest option.
Number Six – Eating out is cheaper at lunchtime and Asian is cheapest!
We all want a break from cooking so eating out is important too and just like in UK, restaurants and cafes offer great deals at lunchtime. Asian restaurants tend to be considerably cheaper and very tasty too! A plate of Pad Thai costs about $10 at lunchtime – in the evening this will double. Have a big lunch and then you can eat cheaper with smaller meals at night.
Number Seven – I love Gelato!
Hmmmm Gelato!! Even saying the word makes me happy. Given that storing and eating chocolate is not easy in the heat, gelato has taken over as the yummy option for a treat. I haven’t found a flavour I don’t like yet and it cools you down. Double win!
Number Eight – I don’t miss telly
It’s funny how your viewpoint of life can change when you stop listening to all the crap on TV. All the negative waves that emanate from your screen do get you down folks and trust me, when you stop watching it, you will be happier! Now, having said that, we do luuurve a sit down in front of the TV when we get the chance but it’s generally to catch up on NCIS. We watch movies on our laptop and keep in touch with world news via the web.
I really don’t miss telly!
Number Nine – I’m still madly in love with my wife!
There was some trepidation when we were planning our trip and the effect it might have on our relationship. It doesn’t matter how much you think you know someone and love someone, travelling with them and living with them 24/7 is a different way of life, which is bound to throw up the odd curve-ball!
Have we bickered? Of course we have! Have we had a big row? One, but I take the blame and I think I’ve sorted it out! These things happen – that’s what marriage is like. But the overwhelming feeling I still have is that I am the luckiest man alive to have found a lady with whom I can share my life and laugh and love a lot. You can’t beat that and nothing we are doing is going to change that! She’s the best and I’m madly and deeply in love with her still…
Yes, I know the last one was a bit of a sick bag moment but it’s true I’m afraid and it had to be said! More musings in a few days…