This post was written by Hatchet reporter Ann Marie MacVey, who is currently studying abroad in Australia.
I’ll begin by noting that domestic airport protocol in Australia is definitely different.
Want to bring liquids in your carry-on? Go ahead!
Do I need my I.D. or passport? Nah, love, you’re alright.
Traveling within Australia was about as stress-free as possible (though as an American, I began to worry that the no-I.D. thing was actually a bad thing.)
Sitting on my Qantas Airways flight, I noticed instantly the “city slicker” vibe from my fellow passengers.
Corporate men and women clad in black leather wristwatches clutched newspapers and organized into aisle seats. And there I was, a kid fresh out of the Queensland tropics, listening to “Stir It Up” in a romper and wearing my hemp flip-flops (they’re known as “thongs” in Oz).
Initially, I was keen to visit Sydney and fall back in the rhythm of a city. But after observing the gray commuters, I remembered why I wanted to leave D.C. and head for the beach. It’s easy to get caught in the fast, expensive life of an international metropolis. Pricey cab rides, foreign food, and boundless shopping are glamorous, but they can also be draining.
Sydney is no exception. It’s a mix of San Francisco’s warmer weather and steep hills combined with New York’s “melting pot” reputation.
I admired the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, got lost in the sprawling Paddy’s Markets and soaked in the nightlife. But I found I was happiest to unwind on the sand of Coogee Beach.
My excursion to Sydney served as a firm reminder of why I opted out of a big city in the first place – to shake that hyper-competitive mindset that is linked to metropolitan life and American culture.
I found it’s better to simply enjoy Australia for the place it is, rather than the things it offers. That includes learning to love the trusting, laid-back rules at the airport, and after dealing with LAX too many times, I don’t think that will be too hard to appreciate.