More than one person has told me most Americans do not travel outside of America. I do not know how accurate that statement is, but even if it is true, is it necessarily a bad thing. Ironically it is my time in Australia that has got me to reflect on this point. When Australians started telling me that I had visited parts of the country they have never seen it made me feel smug. Then I realised how little of England (particularly North England) I have seen. It is unclear to me why I have not visited larges swathes of my home country, below I have listed some possible reasons or excuses.
After leaving Australia this September I may never have the opportunity to experience moments, such as swimming with turtles or seeing Ayers Rock sunset again. This is in contrast to England where I envision having many opportunities to explore the country.
Perhaps my parents taste for foreign travel has resulted in me never really developing a hunger to visit my own back garden. When people mention the words travel and holiday, images of Caribbean beaches rather than Cornwall beaches are more likely to pop into my head.
England is small and densely populated. It is plausible that I could see the whole country just by transitioning through the different phases of life, perhaps it is not necessary to make a conscious effort to explore it. During my time at Nottingham Trent University I explored many midland based cities.
I live less than a hour away from Heathrow and Gatwick airports. From these airports I can get to most of the world. Within less than 6 hours of leaving my house I can be in many new countries. For people living in regional Australia getting to airports of a similar standard to Heathrow and Gatwick could require a 10 hour plus drive or firstly taking a flight from a regional airport. For people on the East coast of Australia there are only a handful of countries they can get to on a short haul flight. Perhaps if I was in the same boat as people living in regional Australia I would be much more focused on visiting my own country.
One reason people travel is simply to escape cold, miserable weather. As Australia is so large each state has a distinct climate. If people in Melbourne want a change from there cold winter weather, they just need to travel up the East coast. People in England, have to fly to different countries to experience any noticeable change in temperature. Todays weather (9th May) illustrates this point.
It is far easier to see places on your doorstep than places which require long drives or a flight to get to. As people backpacking Australia tend to be in casual jobs, it is fairly easy for them to quit their job, relocate and get a new job. The same can not be said for my friends back home in highly competitive, full time, in demand jobs.
It has never been a priority of mine to research places to go and things to do in England. This is in stark contrast to when I travel to foreign countries. This is a shame. Only recently did it become apparent that Stonehenge is under two hours away from my parents house. During Inter Railing, I thoroughly enjoyed the Hungarian baths, a quick google search has just highlighted to me that you can have a similar experience in Bath. On one of the Australian Facebook pages, I saw a quote saying ‘when you get home your house may have not changed, your friends may have not changed, but you will of changed and that’s what counts’. I can relate to this, my trip to Australia has changed my perception of my own back garden. This trip has made me more curious about all the things England has to offer.