An Open Letter To Australia

Dear Australia,

My name is Alex, and I’m writing to you from the other side of the world: Orlando, Florida. I’m going to be frank in this letter. It’s going to get real, and it’s going to get very personal, so prepare.

I consider you my ‘one true love’ when it comes to travel destinations. Sure, I can fool around with Mexico or Norway or Greece, but I’ll always stay true to you in my heart. You’re the one place that I have always wanted to go since I was little. Before I wanted to go to Italy, before I wanted to go to Indonesia, before I wanted to go to Mauritius, I wanted to go to Australia.

It’s like I can sing “You’re The One That I Want,” from Grease. And it works because Sandy was Australian. See, Australia, we were meant to be together.

The love story started in 2003. 5 year-old Alex was sitting in the giant movie theater chair, squirming to sit up straight on the red cloth cushion. Soon, the screen transported me to an animated reef somewhere off the coast of Northern Queensland. And the story of Finding Nemo began. I was beguiled- I sat with my mouth agape at the color and the beauty of what lay under a seemingly lifeless ocean surface.

Unlike the amnesia-prone Dory, I never forgot those 2 hours. And to this day I could probably recite the whole of the movie’s dialogue (well, roughly).

I realize that a boy of 16 has a long time to wait before he can set foot on your pristine shores, but I’m patient. I’ve already had my heart set on a semester (or preferably a year) studying abroad at one of your universities- and that’s enough for me to be OK now. But when I reach you, when I step off that plane, I will kiss the ground of the airport. I’ll climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’ll surf on Bondi Beach. I’ll dive the Great Barrier Reef. I’ll sail the Whitsundays. I’ll hike the circumference of Uluru. I’ll swim with seals at Esperance’s Lucky Bay. I’ll watch the ships sail out of Fremantle Harbour. I’ll ride camels on the beach at sunset in Broome. I’ll pet a koala the Taronga Zoo. I’ll hike out to see the stars in the Outback. I’ll drive a 4×4 along Fraser Island’s 75-Mile Beach. I’ll hot-air balloon over the Atherton Tablelands. I’ll hike up to Wineglass Bay in Tasmania. And I will learn to throw a boomerang- it should do nicely against my enemies.

I’ll do anything and everything in your southern wonderland. And I can’t wait. People always tell me, “Alex, what if you get there and you don’t like Australia?” After mentally slapping such skeptics, I simply reply, “What’s not to like?”

Whether you’re horrified or flattered by my confession, it doesn’t matter. I am utterly infatuated, and no poisonous spider, box jellyfish, or Tasmanian devil can turn me away. Everyone says that Australia is out to kill us. I ignore them- to me, you are perfect.

With Love,

Alex

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