There’s no real getting away from the fact that Aussies love to travel. Literally, there isn’t. We’re a rampant global pandemic – the green and gold plague – and there aren’t many places on this earth you can go without overhearing someone carrying on in that loose, ocker brogue.
It’s to be expected, therefore, that when you duck off to see the rest of the world you’re going to meet a fair few people from the sunburned country. Ask ten strangers in any hostel where they’re from and eleven will tell you “‘Stralia”.
For the most part, though, the typical Aussie traveller can be fairly neatly broken down into a few different archetypes. Whether you’re legging it from bulls in Pamplona, shivering in a tent on the Inca Trail or sipping tea on top of the fucking Himalayas, it’s a given that you’re going to run into a few of the following characters along the way.
You haven’t played beer pong until you’ve played beer pong with Robbo. Seriously, he knows all the rules, and will very obnoxiously instruct everyone in the hostel about the right way to have a toss. Of course, if other drinking games are more your bag, Robbo’s still keen. You want to play Kings? Robbo’s always down for Kings: he knows all the rules to that one too.
If you haven’t noticed by now, Robbo loves a cheeky bevvie – because he’s from Australia, obviously, and we’re professional drinkers down there. He once did a shoe-y with Dune Rats, and they seemed like “absolute sick cunts”.
Robbo “froths” a good pub-crawl – or a bad pub-crawl for that matter – and will deadset drink you under the table until he vomits down the front of his Singha singlet.
Did you know that Charlotte spent a year living in London? Of course you do: Charlotte tells everyone she meets that she spent a year living in London, and she absolutely hated loved it. It’s the “Manhattan of Europe”, apparently. Not that Charlotte’s ever been to Manhattan, but she does hope to move there once she finishes her law degree.
Until then,Charlotte is spending her mid-semester breaks exploring some of the ‘less fortunate’ corners of the world. She finds it “so humbling” to experience third world cultures, but also insists that you haggle on the price for everything. Her Facebook profile picture is a selfie from her voluntourism stint neutering goats in Tanzania, in which she grins ear-to-ear amongst a group of famished African children – none of whom appear to know what the fuck is going on.
Charlotte’s Instagram tagline describes her as a ‘wanderluster’ and a ‘nomad’, followed by some Jack Kerouac quote about the beauty of life on the road. Her Instagram photos consist almost entirely of ‘off-the-beaten-track’ backdrops foregrounded by her feet in Birkenstocks and some kind of pristine condition Penguin Classic. Probably Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea.
Charlotte wants to get to Cuba “before it becomes bastardised”.
Jay works in that ~super trendy~ hostel you just checked into, and probably seems like a pretty cool guy on first impressions. He made you take a ‘welcome shot’ when you checked in, and he’s since made it pretty clear that he’s just taking life “one day at a time”.
A real free spirit, this one.
Jay was only intending to spend a couple of nights in whatever exotic locale you happen to meet him, but it turns out he “Just couldn’t leave”. While this might sound romantic and bohemian, the fact is he’s been here for ten years and is all but completely dead inside.
Regardless, he’s pretty fucking in touch. Jay practices sun salutations every morning in the courtyard – shirtless, so you can admire his Buddhist ohm tattoo on one shoulder and Christian cross on the other – and knows every Jack Johnson song on acoustic guitar. If you’re lucky, he might even whip out his ‘uke’ to play an earnest rendition of ‘I’m Yours’ by Jason Mraz.
You definitely met Georgie in Santorini. Or Ibiza. Or on ‘Sail Croatia’.
Georgie’s the kind of girl who knows what she likes and bloody well sticks to it. She has no qualms checking into a five-star resort and spending all day by the infinity pool, drinking frosé and documenting her ‘#hotdogsorlegs’ on Snapchat. And power to her.
But Georgie is also a ‘were-woo-girl’, and as soon as night comes around you’d best believe she’s slipping into that sequin mini-skirt and cranking things up a few notches. Frosé gets swapped out for a “Sex On The Beach with a Wet Pussy on the side, LOL!” and the nearest dancefloor is hers for the twerking.
Georgies almost always travel in packs. A few hours and several Sambuca shooters later, expect to see two, maybe three of them going at one other whilst bawling their mascara-laden eyes out.
Here’s the thing: there’s nothing all that wrong with Owen, really. He seems like a genuinely nice guy: he’s on a gap year, travelling around by himself, and just wants to know if anyone’s sitting there, or whether you’d mind him tagging along with you for the night.
But, like a stray cat that you shouldn’t have been so generous as to feed in the first place, Owen’s a hard one to shake. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with that: he really does mean well, and seems outgoing enough. It’s just that he’s a little socially inept.
Owen’s a lover of small talk, and will always default with the old faithful “So where have you been so far?” chat. He will attach himself to you like a remora fish, gently penetrating any and every social circle you find yourself in – and that’ll be fine, because he’s just so bloody polite.
But he also doesn’t quite understand social faux pas’, and has a pretty bad habit of putting his foot in his mouth. Particularly once he’s had a few drinks, Owen will inevitably start spouting inappropriate jokes and/or sentiments, loudly and uncomfortably, in some kind of schoolyard attempt to curry favour.
But he does seem like a pretty nice guy, overall.
Someone you know
You probably feel like you’ve travelled to the far ends of the earth; that you’re in a whole new world enjoying a wealth of brand new experiences; that ‘home’ is a distant memory. But the tourist trail is real, it’s a small world after all, and you’ll inevitably come to realise all of this at some point because, no matter where you are, you will almost definitely run into someone you know.
It’ll probably be somebody you haven’t seen since primary school, or that you only half-knew in high school – someone that was in your tute at uni, perhaps. You’ll bump heads whilst standing in the bar line, exclaim over-enthusiastically about how incredible it is to run into each other, here of all places, and maybe even spend the night sharing rounds. Then you’ll part ways and never see one other again.
Not such a lonely planet after all, eh?
Feature image: Sail Croatia