Last Australia Day, I was barely two months into my London life. With an empty house (everyone had escaped winter for, well, Australia), I rounded up a couple Aussie mates and headed to Elk Bar in Fulham. As Australia Day’s go, it was brilliant: Bundy rum was on special, the place was decked in green and gold, and everyone was there to have a good time. It felt like finding a second family of long lost relatives, and a hundred drunk Aussies belting out John Farnham’s ‘Your the Voice’ was nothing short of epic. That night I ran into a couple mates from home, and when I grew tired of waiting for drinks and tried to sneak behind the bar, no one kicked me out – I just got served.
This Australia Day, I will be back home after almost 18 months overseas. By the time you read this, I’ll be on a flight somewhere over Singapore and deciding what goodies I’ll be purchasing duty free.
On the day itself, a couple mates and I will be road tripping from Sydney to Dubbo for a mate’s engagement party, complete with slip and slide, swags, and camping out on the front porch. Goodbye any chance of snow, and hello searing heat and swimmers. I’ll be trading pints for schooners, pounds for dollars, and beginning every single sentence with ‘In London…’ (Bonus points to the friends who won’t want to punch me in the face after the first couple times this happens.)
This road trip will be an excellent reunion, as we all lived together at university. We’ve stayed in contact, so it should be just like old times. The question I can’t stop asking myself is, has anything changed at all? And if it hasn’t, will London just feel like a faraway dream?
The Australian Times asked all of it’s contributors to write a short piece about this year’s Australia Day (January 26) and last year’s. This was my response.