I must confess there are often some surprising reactions and questions I have been faced with while travelling when mentioning that I come from the great land down under....
NO I don't know your friend/cousin/cousin's friend Phillip and I have not met any one from the cast of Neighbours or Home and Away!
Australia is a big country...huge some might say. And with the population of my great country edging towards 24 million people, no we do not all know each other! This was something that has been asked a few times but one that comes to mind was years ago when I was staying at a hostel and got chatting to a guy in the common area, as you do, and as always the subject of conversation turned to discussing our home countries when he stated "My cousin Phillip lives in Australia".... *awkward pause*... the tone in which he stated this indicated that he thought I may have in fact known his cousin... nope!
YES we have an accent
I was shocked to be asked more than once while travelling overseas if I had an Australian accent!! I, like most people, love a good accent and get swept away listening to other people from other nationalities talk and apparently the Australian accent is also one that people love listening to. There were a few time on my most recent trip when friends I was catching up with were introducing me as their 'friend from Australia' and before I even had a chance to respond I was greeted with an excited "Do you have the accent?"... at one point my Canadian friend responded on my behalf with a "Nope, no accent, she doesn't speak with an accent at all!"... I usually responded with a cheeky "No I don't have an accent, you have an accent"
YES it does get cold
Despite what Summer Bay may have lead you to believe, my country is not bathed in glorious sunshine 365 days a year. Whilst there are some parts of the country that is blessed with warm weather for most of the year, most of the country has 4 distinct seasons and one of those is Winter and it does get cold! I was recently travelling overseas during our Winter and was often met with "Yeah, but how cold does it really get?" Some people who had never been to Australia were shocked to learn it snows in parts of Australia... Yes SNOW!! *gasp*.... so while it may not reach the horrendous depths of -40 degrees (and beyond) like it does in some parts of the word, we do experience cold weather. For the record, the coldest ever temperature in Australia was recorded in 1994 and it was -23.0 degrees. So be warned if you are travelling to Australia during our Winter months you are going to need to pack some winter woolies!
NO you are
Someone I met overseas legitimately stated that they do not want to come to Australia because they thought they might die due to the number of dangerous animals we have. Sure we have more venomous snakes and spiders than any other country in the world and we have sharks, crocodiles, box jelly fish and other deadly creatures lurking in our oceans, but we also have 23 million people living in (almost) perfect harmony with these deadly creatures every day. Don't be scared, be smart... Come on over!
YES I have seen kangaroos but NO they don't hop down the main streets of our cities.
Despite the fact that last week it was reported on the news that a couple in Melbourne woke to find a kangaroo on their roof, they are not just hopping randomly down the main streets of our cities and towns. Kangaroos are also not the cute, lazy, friendly animals they are made out to be. The can actually be quite fierce and dangerous and in some parts, quite the pest to farmers. They are also known to cause quite a lot of damage to many a driver's car on outback and country roads. If you want to see one in the wild, you will have to venture beyond the city limits but unfortunately you are probably going to see one dead on the side of the road first.
Have you ever been asked a random question about Australia while travelling?
What stereotypes/myths have you heard about Australia?
Anything you need clarified?
Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below?
My Brown Paper Packages for Wednesday Wanderlust.