Australia - and the things we miss the most

Mt Warning from Byron Bay

As much as living in Switzerland has been an awesome opportunity for Jo and I, there are just some days when we crave the simplicity and ease of the lifestyle and culture that we grew up with and understand. I think we both know that our treasure is in Australia because that is where our hearts are. However when we return from our adventure seeing all the places we have dreamed of being in, when we were lying in our hammocks on the back veranda, our treasure will be waiting for us and we will have a wealth of new ideas and experiences to add to it.
The day to day living in a new country, 17,000 kilometres from home, with a different language and cultural, social and political ideas sitting on a variety of platforms and with frameworks we do not totally understand, has also been the basis of the rewards that we have received. Yes we have been challenged. Yes we have been overawed by the beauty that surrounds us.Yes we have been stimulated and excited by the amazing places we have had the opportunity to visit, and that will continue while we live here. People here have been generous to us and gone out of their way to make us feel welcome but at the end of the day the people we love and the things we always do to express life in Oz are still a big part of who Jo and I are. 
Here is a list of the things Jo and I miss the most in no particular order. Where possible I have supported them with photos.
Our families and friends and the things we do with them. Lunch, back yard cricket, going to watch the Broncos or any rugby league game for that matter. Having a cuppa and a chat. Bumping into people we know down town or other random places. Just being a friend , a mate and helping out where and when we can.

Kris the backyard cricket king

The William Street gang

Jo and her dad, Dave

Bronte and Darcy meet the horse
Darren Lockyer - Broncos legend

Our groovy little cottage at Witta, it’s gardens, birds and the cows next door. Waking up to the Kookaburras. Playing loud music, lying in the hammocks reading The Weekend Australian. Our amazing Rabbit ‘Magic’. Bubble baths in our claw foot bath, lying in it watching the moon rise. Dropping in on our neighbours. Doing our neighbourhood watch walk and hand feeding grass to the horses.

The view from the kitchen in Witta

Our little cabin at Witta

Our bigger chalet at Witta
Our Magic rabbit

A king parrot

Tawny frogmouths

Rainbow lorikeets

The beach. Amazing crystal clear waves, swimming the length of Mooloolaba beach and walking back barefooted, the sand in between our toes. Body surfing that perfect right break, be it at Little Cove, Burleigh Heads or Byron Bay. Smelling the southerly breeze and letting the salt dry on our warm skin. Wearing the world like a loose garment as you recover on the sand from another exuberant surfing experience.

The Pass - Byron Bay

Tallows Beach - Byron Bay
Burleigh Heads

Cutting back at Burleigh

A foamer at Burleigh

The weather. We know it’s been crap over there for the last six months but when you have not had one day over ten degrees since October you would probably swap a bit of moisture to be warm. To go barefooted, to be able to go outside without three layers of clothing, gloves, beanies and boots is kind of neat. Knowing that after August that summer will actually come although in Australia we call it spring. Having some idea of what the weather will be doing even if it is going to be as hot as hades or rain for a week. Being able to sweat again.

Mooloolaba main beach

Mooloolaba - I can feel it

Left or right at Burleigh

The food and coffee (that fit our budget). Pies, hamburgers, wild barramundi and fresh ocean prawns on Mooloolaba spit. BIg scrummy breakfasts that keep you going all day. $7 kebabs. Fresh, tropical fruit. Consistent coffees made by baristas not machines. Bundaberg ginger beer.


Pizza - Capriccios style

Going out to see movies in languages we understand and subtitles that cover all the script. Hearing people laugh out loud in public and even knowing what they are laughing at. Cheap Tuesdays. SBS.
Our work with kids. The ‘Speak Up’ show and ‘Magicianess Magic’ have probably been the most rewarding things that Jo and I have ever done. It has been awesome to educate kids and make them laugh at the same time. And this work isn’t about the money. The shows were gifted to us and we just keep giving the love back. Hopefully our rabbit will forgive us for taking her away from the amazing healing work she does. 

Magicianess Magic at the Mater Children's Hospital

Magic relaxing after a busy day of shows

Having a balanced life. There is way more to life than work and money and insurance and superannuation and paying a fee every time you need to change your mind. Australians could teach a lot of people over here how to chill. We could export the ‘chill factor’. Now that is something maybe Tony Abbot could get into. I could imagine him walking around Switzerland in budgie smugglers selling bottles of the Australian made secret formula  'The Chill Factor’. Or maybe Julia in a singlet and shorts?

But having said all that, Jo and I both have opportunities to do work and leisure things here that we would never have contemplated doing at home. The educational practices Jo is putting into place in the classroom at ISL are really contemporary and rewarding for all that are involved. She has some very interesting international projects happening this year. The kids absolutely love her for her approach and effort regarding education. For me to have the opportunity to work with refugees, facilitate creative writing courses to a diverse range of people, to publish a book and still have the time to write this blog and another book, is something I haven’t got around to doing at home. The places we have seen have been awesome. The new friends we have made wonderful and inspiring. We have both learned so much and are are grateful for these opportunities. But to coin  some very popular Australian truisms,
‘Gidday mate. How’ya goin’’
‘We still call Ostraya home’
‘And we’ll be seein’ ya pretty bloody soon.’ 

And as one of my brothers would say, that will be,  ‘ When we’re lookin’ at ya’

Talking Strine is so much easier than French. Here's a quote for you that about sums up the Australian (Strine) language:

An Australian's "greatest talent is for idiomatic invention. It is a manifestation of our vitality and restless imagination"
Baker S 1983, A Dictionary of Australian Slang, 3rd Edition , Currey O'Neil, Melbourne (1st published 1959)

Yes and I miss the humour of people like Roy and HG. If you're not sure who they are check out 'The Dream' video on this website.


The horses we feed grass to on our walks in Witta


  1. Hi Rob! Loved this post and I can absolutely understand the hold on your heart of these 'home thoughts from abroad.' I lived in the UK for nearly 4 years from the very end of the 1960s and it took that time away for me to appreciate my love of country. It's true that, until you don't have something, you don't know what it is you're missing. Enjoy gorgeous Lausanne while you are there and rest assured all the things you love will be waiting for you back home when you return. The King Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets at the feeder (right now) outside the room where I'm writing this say 'G'day.'

  2. My mum has good skin. So I just briefly took one of her SKII( to use, which I assume is a moisturizer. It's good man I tell you! She gave me a small bottle of eye cream before but the effects weren't that great and I stopped using. But my mum's moisturizer is good! I can feel it reacting once I applied it


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