Australia is the best country in the world…?

I love my country. Sometimes I marvel at how I’ve won the lottery of life, being born here in the lucky country, the land of opportunity.

When I started travelling, I realised that my passport is one of my most precious possessions. Wherever I go in the world, I carry the golden ticket: a document saying I belong in Australia – that they will always let me come home.

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But recently something has changed.

I was talking to a new friend who grew up in Iran. As a teenager, he left a war-torn country, having witnessed unbelievable horrors, for a new life in Australia.

He worked hard to overcome barriers of language and culture. He studied late into the night, earned a degree, and won a government job. You’d think he’d had it made, but it broke my heart when he said that if he ever had children, he wouldn’t raise them here. He’d rather take them back to the war-torn Middle East than put them through the daily racism he faces. After twelve years, he still feels like an outsider – ignored, bullied, excluded, slapped with religious slurs – even though he’s never been Muslim. For the first time, I felt ashamed to be Australian.

I look at our indigenous people, who, according to the UN, have the second worst quality of life in the world, and I wonder about our lucky country.

Australia is the best country in the world… for me. But I’m not the only one who lives here.

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My Australia Day Commitment

cut-expenses-1_21176251For the last four years I’ve been living with my parents. There were a variety of unfortunate circumstances that led to me having to move back in with them, but finally I’m moving out again under very blessed circumstances.

I’ve been able to save quite a bit of money living with mum and dad and it’s enabled me to renovate my apartment. Amongst the blessings though, I have seen my heart gripped by consumerism.

I love the adrenalin zip of the credit card. I love packages arriving in the mail. I love scouring the net for home wares and never turning away from a clothing sale. I love buying books at the click of a button and finding new and wonderful shoes.

Towards the end of 2014 I read this article about a woman who decided not to buy anything new for a year, and I knew that that is something I wanted to do.

So in a couple of weeks I’m moving house. Once that’s done this is my commitment: Beyond essentials and gifts, and until December 2015, I will buy nothing new, or even second hand.

No clothes.

No shoes

No cosmetics

No books

No home wares

Today is Australia day. I live in one of the most blessed countries in the world and I want to break the hold that consumerism has on me. I want to learn to be content with what I have.

Wish me luck, and I’ll keep you posted!

My Lucky Country

I was at the movies the other night to watch Gatsby with some girlfriends.

We were quietly chatting our way through the fifteen minutes of pre-movie ads, when this one came on. The conversation faltered as its magnetism drew us in. I made the comment that ‘there’s something about this ad that is just so me,’ and we watched in fascination as it unfolded. We tried to guess what it was for, and I got it: My state; my home.

I’ve always been proud to be Australian, and ads like this make me see why.

If you have a favourite ad from your country, city or state, I’d love to see it. Send me the link!