1. I didn’t wear sunscreen.
Turns out the hole in the ozone layer isn’t just some cabalistic buzzword to describe global warming, one that doesn’t actually impact your life in any meaningful way. Turns out the ozone hole is a total dick.
2. I misjudged the distance between towns.
Australia doesn’t put nearly as many gas stations on its long stretches of highway as you’d think. So you have two choices: Bring enough gas, or bring enough food and water. I myself chose neither.
3. I tried to handle the wildlife.
You’d think the Internet would have taught me beforehand. In fact, it took swelling to the approximate size and color of the Kool Aid Guy to realize that, hey moron, you can’t just let white tail spiders crawl on you. At least it matched my sunburn.
4. I tried to avoid handling the wildlife.
Blue-ringed octopuses like to hang out in tide pools. You know what else hangs out in tide pools? Big, sharp rocks that you can’t just jump over to get away from octopuses.
5. I tried to give wildlife as wide a berth as possible.
Because even when you think you’re just taking a nice walk through the rainforest, a wait-a-while vine has to just reach out and remind your ankles that you’re living on borrowed time, and who needs skin anyway?
6. I just went ahead and stayed the hell away from nature.
And then promptly got hit by a car. Muscle memory is a lifesaver in some instances. Which way you turn to look down the road as you cross is not one of them.
7. I tried to plan for the weather.
People talk about Australia like it’s either a giant red desert or a gorgeous, surfer-laden beach. I was under that impression when I arrived, but those hailstones certainly taught me a lesson. Taught my car windshield a lesson, too.
8. I tried to outdrink a bogan.
Who would have guessed that a guy who lives on a farm 10 hours from the nearest building with nothing to do all day would be so good at drinking? Cheers, caunts.
9. I tried to outdrink a city dweller.
HOW CAN THEY ALL DRINK SO MUCH? DO THEY NOT HAVE WORK IN THE MORNING?
10. I tried to drink goon.
Goon sacks are five-liter bags of piss wine that cost about the same as a hamburger. Drink such prestigious flavors as Fruity Lexia and Crisp Dry White, while ignoring the fact that the ingredients list includes such overtones as fish and eggs. You’ll taste them the next morning.
11. I tried to drink anything.
If you want to avoid goon, you’re going to be paying somewhere between “Guess I’m not eating this week” and “Guess I’m not paying rent this month.” Sure, my body was in one piece. But when I woke up the next day and looked at my credit card statement, my spirit cracked in half.
12. I picked up some bad habits.
Despite cigarettes costing $20 for a pack, loads of people do it anyway. Way more than in America. And they’re all too happy to bum them out to Americans shitfaced on goon.
13. I went for a second year visa.
Working holiday tourists can earn a second year in Australia by toiling away for three months on a remote farm filled with snakes, spiders, and presumably, the dude from Wolf Creek. Or, I mean, everybody except Americans can earn a second year. Which nobody thought to tell me until a month in.
14. I went in when the AUD was worth $0.94 USD… and left when it was worth $0.74.
Remember that bit about my spirit cracking in half? That was being drowned in puppies and supermodels compared to sending my tax return home.
15. I left.
And that’s the most painful memory of them all.