In this Dream Roll blog I thought I would share some of the crazy/bemused questions/statements that I have heard from my time travelling the world over the past 15 years. As an Australian traveller I think I have heard every random thing possible and just when I think it can’t get any funnier, someone comes up with something else that stops me in my tracks.
I could write on this topic forever, but in the interests of your time and my training, I’ll keep it to my favourites, for now …
- Do you ride a kangaroo? – This must be the most asked question for any Australian when traveling overseas and the biggest misconception about Australians. I often say, ‘Yes, I do, and that is why I am in a wheelchair,’ which often gets a stunned look before I explain that there really isn’t people riding kangaroos over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Read more on my kangaroo story in the Dream Roll blog here.
- Do you eat kangaroos? – I often get asked this one, usually followed up with, ‘what does it taste like?’ People all over the world seem stunned that we can eat kangaroo and some people are totally devastated that anyone would eat anything so beautiful.
- How long is the drive to Australia? Yes, someone actually asked me this question while I was shopping at Walmart in southern USA. What do you say to that? Well, I’m an Aussie so I said you had to drive west through Texas, continue on to LA before turning south-west and continuing until you reach Australia. They asked how long the drive was and I just calming said, ‘Oh, a few days, nonstop.’ Yes, they were serious.
- Can you speak American? I don’t understand what you are saying. Well, this one stumped me. I was chatting to some people when they asked me to speak American, as they didn’t understand what I was saying. Mm? I was a little confused, but I think they meant that my accent was a little hard to understand. I tend to turn on a horrible American accent when this happens.
- What language do you speak in Australia? Oh, this is one of my all-time favourite travel moments. Yes, I have actually been asked this. I had a little fun with this one, gabbling out a few random noises to speak “Australian” to them and then translated it back into English. They were totally amazed and inspired by my ability to speak English so well.
- What is the size of Australia? There is nothing silly about this question, but it is yet another example of how little many people I’ve come across in America really understand about the world outside of the United States. Someone who was genuinely interested asked me this while I was travelling across the southern US states. I explained that Australia was big. ‘The size of South Carolina?’ they asked. I said that yes, it is much much bigger than that, that in fact Australia is the size of North America, that we have farms bigger than South Carolina. ‘So, is Australia the size of Texas?’ was their next question. I think you’re starting to see where this was heading. Again, I explained that Australia is the size of North America, to which they firmly responded that, ‘No, nothing is bigger than Texas.’ Let’s just move on, I was never going to win this one.
- How do you survive in Australia? Isn’t every animal deadly? I have heard this in a few countries, although, to continue the trend, it is usually Americans who ask it. I’m sure it’s not just Americans who think this, it’s a common perception of Australia, but Americans are rarely shy about asking these sorts of questions regardless of where they are. Of course, I calmly and simply explain about the rarity of encountering venomous spiders and sea creatures, crocs and shark … ha! Almost had you. I would never let that golden opportunity to extract the urine pass me by. I tell them that yes, as they have heard, everything in Australia can kill you, even drop bears. When I explain what a drop bear is it scares the heck out of them and they never want to go camping in Australia. Oh, the joys of not taking things too seriously.
These are just a few of the things I’ve heard over the years, and there are plenty of other remarkable comments made to me or around me during my travels for sport and backpacking around countries. I love meeting people during my travels, and sometimes they can provide some real highlights without even realising it. What are some of your favourite comments during your travels?
I am currently working on new travel blogs, because there are so many more stories to tell, so keep an eye on my website for more Dream Roll offerings.
If you would like me to cover any country or topic from my travels, please contact me and I will get working on a blog for you, but until then, keep searching the world for your dream.