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An Aussie's Lament

By Friendless in Culture
Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 03:27:03 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

The recent article about Those Darn Americans coincides nicely with some thinking I have been doing. When I was in Tucson, Arizona last year, I drove down the freeway where the signs point to El Paso, Texas one way, and Nogales, Mexico the other. Coming from a strong country and western background, El Paso and Nogales are holy sites for my family, and I was desperate to visit them. If I drive down the highway here, the signs point to Toowoomba (the Garden City) and Ipswich (Home of the World's Biggest Redneck). I'd rather drive into the bay. Why does the U.S. seem like the land of opportunity, and Australia seem like the land of missed opportunity?

OK, so I have lived in Australia for thirty-odd years, and the grass is always greener on the other side. But consider these points:
  • Railways crossed the U.S.A. in the 1860s. Queensland Rail has been ripping rails up due to disuse.
  • The American dollar is strong beyond all common sense. The Australian dollar drops in value in response to any bad news from anywhere in the world.
  • Australian I.T. workers go to Sydney or to the U.S. Most Australian states export I.T. degrees. However, the quality of Australian I.T. as good as anywhere in the world.
  • Most Australians can tell you more American history than Australian history.
  • Immigrants flooded to the U.S. in the 19th century, and settled on every single bit of it. Immigrants flooded to Australia in the 20th century, and settled in Sydney and Melbourne.

There's a song about being stuck in Lido, Calfornia. There's a song where Bobby drifts away somewhere near Salinas, California. Country and western songs probably name every major town in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. There's even a song about Morenci and Clifton, Arizona. Where are the great songs about Toowoomba QLD, Geelong VIC, Bendigo NSW and Albany WA? I can't even name any provincial towns in South Australia!

When I was in Arizona I was talking to a miner in a company town. Because the company owns the house he rents, and they own the whole town, when he retires he will be forced to leave town. I told him that was dreadful, in Australia the company would NEVER be allowed to kick old people out of their homes. His reply was "Aw heck, it'll be great, I can go ANYWHERE!". I don't think there any near-retirees in Australia who anything like as optimistic. Why not?

Consider the problem of places to go. If you fly into Cairns QLD, and want to travel around the country, you will go to Townsville, Bowen, Rockhampton, Childers, Maryborough, Gympie, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Ballina, Coffs Harbour, Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong, in that order. Technically, there are other places to go, but you wouldn't. In the U.S.A., if by some mistake you get to Casper Wyoming, you will be torn between going to Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Denver, or Sturgis (if you're into that). There are so many places to go to. I believe this is why rail travel in Australia is so unpopular - because there is nowhere to go but along the coast. If you go inland, you take the same route to go back again. (One exception, the route overland from Adelaide to Alice Springs to Darwin.) No Australian wants to sit on a train for 12 hours to get to the next place worth seeing.

Now, the Australian economy. If the U.S. dollar drops, so does the Aussie. If the Euro drops, so does the Aussie. If the bloody Estonian escudo or the Easter Island Big Round Rock with a Hole In drops, so does the Aussie. Apparently, Australia is the least financially independent country on the planet. Oops, the Kazakhstani kopeck is on the way down... This has something to do with the lack of the free enterprise spirit in Australia. And that has something to do with the lack of success of free enterprise in Australia. And that has something to do with the high level of cynicism in Australia. I can't explain the relationships between them, but I think it is related to the optimism thing again.

OK, so American and Australian history. Let's consider the case of slavery. Everyone knows the U.S. fought a civil war over slavery, and that the slaves worked on the cotton plantations in Mississippi and Georgia and places like that. Some people know Australia had effective slaves called the kanakas, to cut sugar cane. Not many people know where the kanakas worked, but it was places like Brisbane, which I think would shock some people. The kanakas had the sense to go back home again after they were released!

Finally, about the I.T. industry. Even for Australians, the place to be is Silicon Valley. I have a theory that the success of Silicon Valley is due to an entrepreneurial spirit that has lived in California since the gold rush days, after all venture capital and claim-staking are not that different in theory. I believe that such an environment is not likely in Australia due to the ascendance of cynicism over optimism.

In general, I believe in Australia. We have a beautiful country, decent government, and educated people. However we do lack the optimism and fire of the U.S.A. I don't know how to resolve Australia's problems, but I think it is possible. She'll be right, mate.


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An Aussie's Lament | 27 comments (21 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
Aussies are the same as the rest (3.83 / 6) (#3)
by Aatos_ on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:09:14 AM EST

I don't think that there is a single country in the world who doesn't have this sort of pessimistic self-image of itself. Possible exceptions are ofcourse USA, which doesn't have strong identity due multinational residents and France which makes feeling superior sort of form of art.

Whenever there is a failure in important sports happening like olympics, the local papers of country X tend to bash their countrymen. Or maybe a high-publicity event like top-level meeting of heads of EU and again the papers are full of critic against locals being ignorant, without style, whatever.

This is just result of collective need to feel sorry for itself from time to time, and the media taps on it. It is also linked to the grand field theory of 'the grass is always greener on the other side of fence'.

An unlamenting response (4.42 / 7) (#7)
by vastor on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 12:43:44 AM EST

I'm afraid I have to disagree with much of the posting.

First to Queensland ripping up rails - so are Amtrak routes being cut (or planned anyway). When I was in the USA, the map/timetable I got due to start had a map without a leg of the journay in on the map because it was supposed to be cut but then had an insert with it back on again since it had been given a year of fresh life.

My own parents are planning on travelling australia when they retire (or want to anyway, not sure if they actually will), so thats atleast one pair of near retirement people that are looking forward to it.

Mixing flying and rail works well - my parents did the east to west coast trip one way by train (which took 3 days or something) and flew back the other way. I'd suggest that you look at a passanger rail map of the USA sometime there aren't that many ways to cross through the inner sections and if we had the population densities in the north of the country they did then you could probably do different circuits as well.

We've only got one inland city here too (Canberra) while the USA has plenty much larger than it and thus warranting connecting train travel.

Also, if you think sitting on the train for 12hrs straight between stops is a big deal then nobody would do LA to El Paso and then on to New Orleans in the USA (which I did and I'm an Australian). I did a 10hr bus trip to Brisbane from here too and that was only because the train had been booked out otherwise I'd have had a similar length trip on it.

The bulk of Australias populations and things to do that will draw large amounts of people are on the coast - 95% of people live within 100km of the coast or something like that (I've forgotten the exact figures). Inland Australia is of a lower quality land (overall) when compared to the USA. So much more land has to be used to support the same income producing agriculture so towns tend to be much smaller (making them less interesting) and also much further apart.

Mainland Australia is a slither larger than mainland USA (note: Alaska isn't directly connected and thus doesn't count for those that do go look up the actual figures), but we've got 20mil versus 230mil or so (I'm leaving out 20 mil or so for the excluded US territories). Reports say we've only got a carrying capacity of about 50 mil total (before there would be insufficient fresh water etc).

Maybe you just hangout with people who don't like to travel, but I have every intention of seeing Victoria/South Australia/WA/NT (and even Tasmania) someday.

Perhaps it's as you point out - immigrants don't travel much and as an immigrant you've experienced the same thing. Pretty much everyone I know plans and pretty much has travelled a reasonable amount.

There is probably a similar bias towards travelling to California/Florida in the US to what we experience here in travelling up the east coast. We just have an even more exaggerated geography that discourages travel into the interior.

As for the Kanakas, they had no choice but to go home. Pacific islanders were banned from entering Australia after 31 March 1904 and any remaining after 31 Dec 1906 were to be deported. Though the deportation was more to do with the White Australia policy than anything else, but it's highly inaccurate to say they decided to leave when they had little choice in the matter.

Free enterprise is a lot of work - Dick Smith (one of our successful entrepreneurs) said you should expect to work 70hrs a week if you expect to make a successful business. That a far smaller proportion of Australians feel that big a burning desire for wealth etc isn't a bad thing IMO. On the other hand, the social security safety net does bring some complacency with it I think (not that I'd advocate it being made even worse than it has been made in the last few years).

Inland Australia and rail travel (3.00 / 4) (#8)
by Friendless on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 01:13:40 AM EST

I guess I did not make myself clear, and look like falling off the Tacoma Narrows bridge because of it :-). Australia is caught in a downward spiral of no inland towns hence no inland rail travel hence no inland towns. The U.S. seems to be in a state of equilibrium, where there are enough of each to support each other. In theory, there is no reason there shouldn't be great squads of people travelling from Rockhampton to Charleville to Dubbo to Mildura to Coober Pedy to Alice Springs to Darwin, it's just that the inland of Australia has never been taken advantage of. There are no places there that people really want to go to. When I was in Arizona I went to Tombstone, which they made a movie about. Tombstone is about the size of Childers or maybe Wagga Wagga, but somehow they never attracted Kiefer Sutherland's attention. Also, Tombstone is a really dusty dry place, and not on the way from anywhere to anywhere, but the tourist trade is phenomenal. What I am trying to figure out is what America has, that Australia does not, that has caused the inland of the U.S. to be settled and Australia's to be abandoned to the sheep. I think the article has come across as negative and pointless, and indeed lamentable, which is not what I intended.

[ Parent ]
Low revenue = low expenditure = little development (4.60 / 5) (#10)
by vastor on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:34:17 AM EST

I'd still maintain that it's the higher quality agriculture that is why inland USA is more successful than inland australia.

People is the other factor. If only 1% of people in the USA travel and only 1% of them go to somewhere like Tombstone then thats still a fair number to drive tourism there. Do it here and you're talking about a tiny trickle - which is probably how it is.

And thats excluding foreign visitors. I seem to recall seeing figures saying we had about 1mil visitors a year (1/20th the population) while the USA had about 300mil visitors a year (more than the population).

Best figures I can find say we had USD$9,002m in receipts and spent USD$6,192m abroad while the USA took $94,163m and spent $69,455m abroad. Which is the opposite to what I was looking for (the figures I thought I'd seen must have been fictional/imagined).

Curiously though they had 47.7m visitors with 52.7m people going abroad (a shame that figures for Aus aren't listed for actual people), which shows visiting the USA is probably more expensive than visiting an average country.

I think you might find that not having movies made about so many places is why they aren't so big. Just look at gundegai (sp?) with the dog on the tuckerbox - it probably gets a reasonable number of visitors compared to what it'd have otherwise if it wasn't part of the famous song. Likewise the town in victoria where Seachange was filmed is supposed to be getting a fair number of tourists now compared to how many it used to (gundegai is atleast vaguely near canberra though rather than entirely in the middle of nowhere).

The problem is - why would people want to move inland? I've no bad memories of Scone (and can't recall any of the rural towns we lived prior to there), but a city like Newcastle does have many more options than a town like that (while also not being a stinking big city like Sydney).

Low/declining commodity prices has also killed off a lot of what used to be living inland. Farmers and other townsfolk can no longer afford to pay for the convenience of local services and thus towns end up with little supporting them as the bulk of goods end up being bought from cheaper outside suppliers.

Another issue is that manufacturing in Australia is pretty dead. Certainly it is compared to the USA - I was surprised by the amount of industry in Nebraska for example. Textiles and manufacturing is in decline in the big cities, moving it out into regional areas would be good if not for the fact that it's going backwards as it is.

So services are in decline because the main source of service employment is in decline. Manufacturing is in decline nationally so isn't a solution. Farming is in decline because of low commodity prices and has much lower land quality than in the USA on average anyway, so even towns spaced three times further away are going to be smaller than their US counterparts.

Tourism may revive things, but people don't build tourist resorts where there isn't a (or anticipated) demand. Tourism also tends to create more low paid jobs as well, that was Cessnock's plan for when their coal mines shut down. But it'll really wind their economy back even if all the highly paid miners find jobs with tourism (switching from AUD$100k/year to AUD$30k/year). Cessnock is atleast near to the vineyards so has a source of tourists. Ayers rock gets tourists because it is so famous - they fly in and out for the most part, places within an hour or two drive would benefit, but any further away and it probably doesn't make a big difference how many visitors it gets.

But really, I think if you turned inland Australia into quality farmland like much of inland USA is and it'll have increased profitability, more transport will get more trains. More spending will have more local services, ease of access and more stuff to do will bring more tourists and they will be revived. Another thing is that farms are more mechanised now and so probably employ less people per farm area and also import a higher proportion of equipment from out of the area (and quite possibly overseas).

Unless a wonder crop is introduced (like many farmers want hemp to be) with a higher revenue/profitability to what is currently farmed then inland australia will remain the dead centre it is percieved as been. I'm somewhat for some terraforming, creating an inland lake (maybe even sea) etc but that kind of thing is frowned upon because it destroys habitats.

People farm sheep because little else can be farmed there, not because it's a cash crop. You just have to see how much money is gained from 1 sheep on a patch of inland australia compared to what cotton grown in the USA on a same sized patch of land would get to see why one is doing well while the other crawls along.

But yeah, your story did come across badly. I seem to recall that the state gov't here in NSW was looking at reviving some of the old unused inland railways, but I'm not sure if anything happened or will come of it.

[ Parent ]
2 reasons: water & population (4.50 / 4) (#12)
by Dacta on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 06:39:45 AM EST

There are two reasons inland Australia isn't populated. The first, and main reason is the lack of water.

As Vastor has already pointed out, Australia can't support as many people as the US or Europe per square km, because of the lack of fresh water. While the east coast isn't too badly off, the rest of the country is mostly desert (literally).

Coober Pedy, for instance, had to install a desalination plant in order to cope with it's population. The installation of that plant had to be subsidised - it simply cost too much otherwise.

Another thing about the desert: It's not the nicest place to live on earth. People live at Coober Pedy because they can mine opal. Most desert towns exsits becuase of mining, militaty bases (Woomera) or tourism (Ayer's Rock township). At Coober Pedy, people build underground because of the climate.

This bring up the second point. Why would you live in a place like that when the Australian coastline is a much easier place to live. Unless there is a really good reason, towns don't just appear in the middle of nowhere.

In the US, there are small towns everywhere because (a)there are a lot more people and people expected to be able to travel one day by horse (or later, train) and then stay in a town. In Australia, there has never been the population pressure, and people have always expected huge distances without civilisation (for people who haven't been here, there are plenty of streaches on Highway 1 - which goes around Oz - where you can travel 200, 300 and even 400 km (say 100-300 miles) without seeing even a petrol station.)

As for:

There are no places there that people really want to go to. When I was in Arizona I went to Tombstone, which they made a movie about. Tombstone is about the size of Childers or maybe Wagga Wagga, but somehow they never attracted Kiefer Sutherland's attention. Also, Tombstone is a really dusty dry place, and not on the way from anywhere to anywhere, but the tourist trade is phenomenal
Well, you don't know what you are talking about. I used to work for a tourist company and people want to go to outback Australia all the time. For instance, there is this big rock in the middle of Australia (You may have heard of it: Ullaru - aka Ayres' Rock) which attracts so many people per year it supports a whole town of over 1000 people which exisits only to feed and sleep the visitors. That is by no means unique. William Creek, in the middle of Australia is a town of 1 pub, and airstrip and a petrol station. 1000's of people visit it every year - and I bet you $100 (Australian) that it is just as hot & dry and even more god-forsaken than Tombstone is. (It is so isolated that people park their light planes in front of the pub - see www.postcards.sa.com.au/features/william.creek.html)

Movies? You want movies, we got movies. A town like Alice, Pricilla, Queen of the Desert, Storm Boy, and Crocadile Dundee are all about Australia away from the cities of the east coast.

As for trains: you only lay train tracks if it is economic to do so. There are few places away from the east coast of Australia where it is, especially when you have to compete with Road-Trains in NT, SA and WA. Train travel is irrelevent to personal travel, and has only limited relevence to freight transport (and I used to work for a major Grain Export company, so I know what I'm talking about here. There are very few times when rail makes economic sense in Australia. Mining & Sugar Cane are the best examples, but human transport, grain and wool, cattle or sheep freighting is a very risky investment at best.)

[ Parent ]
just like north america vs europe (4.00 / 4) (#9)
by eMBee on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 01:30:29 AM EST

it's funny, your comparison of australia vs north america is almost like a comparison of north america vs europe i would make.

  • railroads are almost dead in the US.
  • in europe every single bit is populated, while in the US (note: this is a gross oversimplification of reality) people first settled on the east cost until it was to crowded, then moved to the west coast, and then only started to populate the less friendly parts of the country.

greetings, eMBee.
Gnu is Not Unix / Linux Is Not UniX

Put it down to the population size (4.50 / 6) (#11)
by jesterzog on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 06:23:07 AM EST

Now, the Australian economy. If the U.S. dollar drops, so does the Aussie. If the Euro drops, so does the Aussie.

Put it down to population size. I'm coming from NZ where I heard an analogy that if you draw a circle of a certain size around a specified point in Europe, there's something well into the hundreds of millions of people living in it. (I forget the exact number.) It's a similar proportion in America.

If you draw the same sized circle around the central point of New Zealand, you get 3.5 million people and one hell of a lot of seagulls. I'm not sure about Australia but I imagine it'd be similar. (Except about 17 million people isn't it? I might have that wrong.)

In Europe, all the countries trade between each others' borders so even when there's an economic downturn the economy's still massive compared with this part of the world. It's similar in the US, except the local trade goes more between states instead of countries. (Can anyone in the states confirm this?)

In Oceania there's simply not enough people to support that much trade locally, so a lot of the economy relies on selling things to Europe and the US. When their economy dies off though, they don't buy it. You could try to make it more independent, but unless you added a zero or two to the working population size, you'd probably end up with nothing more than the current internal economy on it's own.

jesterzog Fight the light

Interstate trade. (4.50 / 2) (#24)
by telosphilos on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 05:30:50 PM EST

It's similar in the US, except the local trade goes more between states instead of countries. (Can anyone in the states confirm this?)

I don't have the numbers around any more, but is true. Internationally, we mostly buy stuff from Mexico and Canada.

Our tax law in most of the states is actually written to take advantage of this. We have what is called "Use Tax" which is really a state sales tax on goods sold to companies where the sales tax charged was not correct for the state/county/city/tax district/whichever. (I am fairly certain all states have it in the USA.) I can tell you when I worked for the bank, we had plenty of that going on and I had to take seminars and study that stuff. From what I learned there, it basically comes down to the importer's purchase the goods and then resell the stuff as part of the interstate trade. This makes imports fairly transparent in the economy after the importer. So be careful of the statistics. Our tax laws make our business practices fairly weird.

-- Peace and quiet is a sleeping baby.
[ Parent ]
the good the bad and the 'merican (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by unstable on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:56:59 AM EST

"Why does the U.S. seem like the land of opportunity, and Australia seem like the land of missed opportunity?"

america invented rock and roll.... but we also invented the back street boys.

we invented the muscle car... and the pinto

our dollar value is higher than alot of other countries.... so we can buy more worthless crap.

america is not all that great... people think its the land of oportunity until they get here... then they find out it is just like alot of other places.... there are worse places than USA but there are some better ones too.

Reverend Unstable
all praise the almighty Bob
and be filled with slack

American Slavery (4.50 / 10) (#16)
by HypoLuxa on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 02:46:29 PM EST

In your article you mention slavery in America, and say that everyone knows about slavery in the Deep South. I think that the reasons you know about slavery in the Deep South (and nowhere else) are very similar to the reasons no one knows about the kanakas.

I'm a southern man, and tend to read a lot about the history of the South (although I am by no means an authority). I imagine that the history of the kanakas is shameful and embarassing to most Australians, just as slavery is in the United States. People choose to ignore it because it is uncomfortable. This is one of the reasons that when you hear of slavery in the US, you hear only about plantations, cotton, and the Deep South. You don't hear that all the original colonies held slaves. You don't hear that almost all of the "founding fathers" had slaves. You don't hear that the Bank of Boston funded slavery for southern landowners until 1862.

Slavery in America, particularly with the Civil War thrown in, is far too large and painful of an issue to be ignored, so it is taught. It is taught in a very strange way that seems to isolate on parts of the story and does not disclose most of the facts, because they too are painful. This likely has parallels to how the history of the kanakas in Australia are taught.

I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

You are better off without them. (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by your_desired_username on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 03:07:18 PM EST

I do not understand why you want repulsivly overcomercialized tourist traps.

I do not understand why you want lowest-common-denominator movies made by people who have no cognizance of the importance of world-building, characterization, etc.

If you Aussies do not have movies and tourist traps like we do - I can only consider that evidence of better taste and higher intellect.

Australia (2.66 / 3) (#18)
by balls001 on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 05:14:55 PM EST

Can I just point out that Australia was founded as a prison colony, which doesn't really make a great basis for a utopian society or a thriving economy =)

Although neither does a boat-full of French settlers.

As for the Silicon Valley part, it's just great PR by the companies that call it home. Around here (Toronto, Canada) Silicon Valley isn't necessarily the best place to go. Personally I would loved to be in Austin, Texas.

Australia *cannot* be like the U.S. (3.75 / 4) (#19)
by static on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 05:30:48 PM EST

Several points. And these are all opinions.

1. Significantly, the Australian geography is very different from that of North America. Their landscape can support the number of people they have. Our landscape cannot support the number of people they have. At least not without some serious terraforming.

2. The Aussie dollar hasn't sunk as low as you think. In the last 12 months, it has dropped slightly from ~70 yen to ~60 yen and from ~45 British pence to ~33 British pence. Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar seems to be up in the stratosphere. Incidentally, Japan is our biggest trading partner, not the U.S.

3. The U.S. War of Independance instilled in the country a sense of patriotism. But Australia was created out of an act of British parliament, and not a civil war. So we have a well-developed sense of apathy instead. You said it yourself: "She'll be right, mate".


Whining and whinging (1.40 / 5) (#20)
by jann on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 05:34:17 PM EST

Whining and whinging.

if you don't like it ... leave ... there are massive numbers of brittish isles backpackers who would give their left eye to live here.

Also, if Brissie is getting you down ... well ... that is understandable ... it is a shit hole. Go to Sydney or Melbourne, get a job and an appartment within staggering distance from the city and enjoy your life. Until you do you have no idea what you are missing.

P.S. I have difficulty understanding the point of this article ... J

P.S. (1.00 / 1) (#21)
by static on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 05:39:15 PM EST

Me too!

And I live in Aus!


[ Parent ]

Re: PS (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by supine on Tue Jan 02, 2001 at 09:44:31 PM EST

I guess like everywhere, Australia has some good points and some bad points. He just mentioned most of the bad ones. If you were going to write a fair article you would need to add the good points, for example:

1 - the laidback lifestyle
2 - the beach
3 - the great people

...i could go on and on and on... ;)


"No GUI for you! Use lynx!!!, Come back, One year!" -- /avant
[ Parent ]
The U.S. Civil War wasn't about slavery... (4.50 / 4) (#23)
by Tumbleweed on Wed Jan 03, 2001 at 11:37:50 AM EST

> Everyone knows the U.S. fought a civil war over slavery

Not true - the civil war was fought over the southern states trying to leave the republic, not over slavery. Granted, slavery was a big issue, and one of the reasons why the south wanted to leave, but that's not the reason the civil war was fought. FYI.

editorial note (4.00 / 1) (#25)
by CodeWright on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 12:16:46 PM EST

kazakhstan uses the tenge and teen, not the russian ruble and kopek

A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

Why look to the best and feel down? (none / 0) (#26)
by Rainy on Thu Jan 04, 2001 at 02:48:05 PM EST

I mean.. let's see.. which countries are the best in the world? US, Western Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and NZ. That's out of one hundred-something countries! Keep in mind that even the richest have thier own problems - in US the crime, racism; japan had huge economy downturn; western europe is very expensive to live in. As for optimism.. it's hard to say. If you take an average person from US, he may even be less optimistic than an average Aussie - there's alot of people here who live in ghettos, etc. You know, I personally wouldn't mind moving to Australia or something like that later on when I earn a bag of money. I'm not all that much in love with hyperactivity of NY - I'm the kind of guy who'd prefer to buy a small house on australia coast and go boating or surfing every day and watch the sunset from a rocking chair ;-). US is good for working here a few years and making a wad of money though.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
Grass is greener... (none / 0) (#27)
by Lola on Tue Jan 09, 2001 at 01:13:19 PM EST

Of course, people will always visit a new place and will inevitably discover things that are both better and worse. That's the point of travel, after all. I'm going to be corny, but I believe this is true...if you are truly happy and content with yourself, you can live anywhere and have a good life. I live in New York City, and love it, but there are also a million other places I know I'd like to live as well. Just have a damn good time, wherever you are. If you're having a bad time, think about why and change it. Chances are the negative feelings come from inside.

An Aussie's Lament | 27 comments (21 topical, 6 editorial, 1 hidden)
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