I Chose Australia

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Australia Rock, Narooma

I chose Australia, where the coastline is an endless series of long (postcard perfect) beaches, and whales and dolphins jump out of the ocean as I gaze at the horizon. Sometimes crocodiles swim into the ocean and deadly jellyfish breed, as well, but only in the north. On the beaches of Manly the tiniest penguins walk out of the water as dusk arrives, and the Bluebottles washed up on the Sydney beaches are not deadly, only highly unpleasant if they sting, as Aussies would emphasize.

Meringo Beach, Eurobodalla National Park, NSW, Australia

I chose Australia, where I bump into wild wallabies while walking in Sydney, and laughing Kookaburras steal the crackers from my hand. Then from my son’s hand. Then they also steal the sandwich from my husband’s hand. (To be fair, these steals happened on different days.) Where cockatoos squawk under my window, and vibrant red waratahs bloom – and something surely blooms, no matter the time of the year.

Cockatoos in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

Kookaburra in the park, NSW, Australia

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park,NSW, Australia

Cockatoos and galahs at Hornsby Hospital, NSW, Australia

I chose Australia, where some rivers flow in two directions (not at the same time), where landscapes are vast and endless, where crowds don’t exist, where both the cutest and the most dangerous animals live. Where the norther you venture, the riskier it becomes to touch anything, even an innocent-looking green leaf, especially if it’s heart-shaped. And if you think that only jellyfish can sting, it’s time to get familiar with the Gympie Gympie stinging tree – so that you can avoid touching it in the wild. But that’s again far north, in tropical Queensland. In Sydney you need to at least eat the plant to get poisoned, so no worries (and don’t eat plants in the wild).

Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, NSW, Australia

Australia: harmony of blue, green and red. Land of extremes. A corner of the world where everything is different. A continent which is probably the most hostile towards life, except maybe Antarctica. Maybe, but I’m not sure. It’s Australia where a prime minister goes surfing and no one ever sees him again (of course, I’m not exaggerating, it was Harold Holt and he disappeared in 1967).

But it’s also Australia where we spend most of the year bushwalking, camping, canoeing or enjoying the beach in our free time. And it’s the Sydney metropolitan area, one of the few regions in Australia which humans can tolerate in the long run. Hence house prices are sky high. I know, not only because of that, but hey, purchasing your own home is an unattainable goal in most Western cities of the world, anyway. In Sydney you at least have beaches and sunshine.

Katoomba Falls, Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

No, it’s not perfect. But it’s Australia. It got under my skin the first time I visited. But if I told you I planned to move here ever since, it wouldn’t be true. Yet it was a quiet, determined desire in a hidden corner of my heart, getting stronger with time.

I knew I could live here, and I’m not the kind of person who wants to move to every country and city she visits – on the contrary. While I’m passionate about a ton of places I visited, and I’d visit them anytime, there are only a few where I’d move. Sydney is one of those few.

Csaba and I spent three weeks roadtripping Australia in 2018, and ever since we knew we’d come back one day. But when, how and for how long? Those were simply details to be clarified. And it wasn’t easy to clarify them, mind you. But talking about practical details and immigration law would kill this article, so let me return to my sentimental thread of thoughts.

Burgess Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Because finally, here we are – and a lot is compressed into this short sentence. Nevertheless, here we are. I chose Australia. And there are pros and cons, plans and reasons – and ultimately, they don’t matter much. There’s no answer to a lot of things in life, and it washes away your plans like the rising tide washes away the sandcastle you built.

Why Australia? Because I’d be nowhere else.

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Bea is a travel writer and the founder of NSW Footsteps, a blog about New South Wales travel, including bushwalking, hiking, canoeing, snorkeling and other outdoor adventures. She’s been traveling for more than 10 years, and she’s passionate about sharing all she has learned along the way. Moving to Australia was one of her big dreams, and now she continues exploring the world – and one of her favorite corners, New South Wales – from her Sydney base.