I went to Australia because of wombat poop. Yes, really.
Wombats are amazing creatures, which literally shit bricks and only live in Australia. Ever since I’ve found out about their square shaped poop and their general awesomeness, I’d wanted to go to Australia. In fact, seeing an actual wombat was the whole reason I went to Australia in the first place. I knew practically nothing about destinations worth visiting in Australia, besides wombats, kangaroos, Sydney and Ayers rock. I am not even sure if I was fully aware wallabies were not kangaroos. But I figured every place in this world is interesting and since people visit so much, Australia should be even more so (this tells you a lot about my travelling style).
So I embarked on my journey preparations: turns out, Australia is more expensive than one would imagine. Since most of my friends did not have the money or the time to go, I decided to try something new and go by myself. I settled on going in June and July 2017, since I had the summer off as a student and winter in Australia meant cheaper travelling, less scary spiders and insects and most importantly, less tourist crowds. I settled on about 4 weeks in Australia and about a week in New Zealand to see the Hobbiton movie set (as a huge LOTR geek, I would’ve never forgiven myself if I didn’t go, although I wish I had more time to properly explore New Zealand as well).
Another new thing I tried was couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is a website, which managed to create a community for travellers around the world, where people host foreigners on their home couches or spare beds and sleep on some other foreign bed in return. It is a wonderful way of experiencing life from a more local perspective, develop new friendships and try some unexpected things. The fact that it is also free and helps with saving some money is just a bonus. Since I was travelling solo and I’d never tried it before, my motivation was part cost-saving and part company-getting.
A few weeks and several hundred euros later, there I was in Australia. I appropriately arrived right on one of the Australian public holidays, I believe it was the Queen’s birthday. I am forever grateful that I can say I spent only 2 nights in a hostel out of about 5 weeks, and the rest was spent with incredible people, which I met through couchsurfing. Through the website I also met up with several people for dinners or daytrips and each and every single one was a positive experience. All of them had made my life richer in some way and I feel humbled to this day by the fact that complete strangers gave me the keys to their house and spent their valuable time helping me out or taking me places. One of them even took me to see the wombats in the wild, which was a 3 hour drive just so I could get my wish, so I think he deserves an awesome person award.
My trip was by no means complete, so I wish to return one day and see the rest. I also fully plan to return the favour and host people when I get my own flat with enough space back home in Slovenia and I will write about my couchsurfing experiences here at some point, but until then, all I can say is:
“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”Lord of the Rings the movie