Interstate Man Of Mystery (Frankie – 2009)
This is how it goes:
Me: I’ve never been overseas.
Person: But you’re from Tasmania.
(Person laughs for 18 minutes).
Me: True. I guess I have then.
(Person continues anecdote of how they caught a train from Paris to Berlin and then ended up in Amsterdam and fell in love with a New York girl who they lived with for a while before moving to London via Tokyo.)
Me: I’ve been to Broome.
You’ve heard of the 40 year old virgin, now meet the 29 year old travelling virgin – oft attracting the same kind of playful derision from friends and colleagues that Steve Corell’s character does. Like him I am equally sheepish yet matter of fact about it. It just never happened, and now I’ve left it for so long that it’s become too bigger deal. I’ve missed the Contiki boat. Just as Steve’s friends assure him it’s not too late and start an intervention, I want someone to get me drunk and set me up with Thailand.
Travelling’s that thing that everyone does where they escape their life to feel the most like themselves and become more interesting with stories you can’t relate to. Travelling is an opportunity for people to come back to Australia and strut around like explorers with their Spanish fighting sticks, London hangovers, Vietnemese snake wines and American gusto. They can waltz around their home ‘village’ safe in the knowledge they’ve seen outside the square and have an unbreakable bond with the rest of the world forged through a quickie in a Bolivian backpackers.
I was raised with the philosophy of ‘we have no money,’ and jet setted around Tasmania in a caravan. I loved every minute of it, but didn’t think outside the triangle. As an adult, all my money was spent keeping my artistic ball in the air. I couldn’t shake the feeling there was work to be done here before running off to Scotland to crack a fat over architecture. As a comedian I was blasted with orders to go to Edinburgh Fringe and do a show, only to watch colleagues return, screaming about what a great experience it was, only to break down a month later with $10, 000 credit card debts. C’mon, I can lose that kind of money here.
When you’ve never been outside Australia, you spend most of your energy convincing yourself you haven’t made a huge mistake with your life. Here goes – part of me wants to wait until I pass the black belt of my personality so I can get better value for money – like rereading your favourite book and getting more out of it. I get my adrenalin rush from performing; I’m proving myself all the time; Touring Australia gives me an enormous sense of satisfaction and perspective, cruising through airports with loner superiority; I meet plenty of foreigners after gigs – at least one!
Me: New York seems amazing. From what I could tell from The Ninja Turtles Movie it has a lot of interesting characters.
Person: Where will you travel to first?
Me: (Thinks for 18 minutes) Uh, New…
I think I’m going to break the ice with India. The sitar is my favourite instrument, Indian is my favourite food, I think Indian women are the most beautiful and apparently Bombay is stuck in the 70’s and you can get cheap custom made flares. I figure if i’ve left it this late, the only way in is the deep end. A massive dose of food poisoning, brutal scenes of poverty and a complete culture shock will shake me loose of this tiring precociousness. I can finally join the ranks of real adult mavericks who have taken the plunge, delving through the worlds chapters with glee – from the apple isle to the big apple!
Person: Where should I go in Tasmania?
Me: The airport.
Aw Cool! I’ve always wanted to go to India, Mainly for the inevitable culture shock, and I grew up hearing fantastical psychedelic stories from my half sister who travelled there in the 60’s. What an icebreaker 🙂
Tasmania airport- so true! 🙂
Sounds familiar. I had never been overseas either, just had other priorities and never had the money, plus had sage advice ringing in my ears: “You should see your own country first, warts and all, before going overseas and judging others”. Before I knew it I was 35 and still an OS virgin (accept Tas too). So I jumped on a plane to Laos – the most foreign country I could think of. Amazing!! Can’t recommend it enough! Go see India!
I’m off to NY tomorrow! FINALLY! India sounds a bit much….even harder for women! The men there have no manners.