Originally Published in the Sandwich Enterprise, April 2009
"At Home in Australia"
It is a borderline rite of passage that the young adult comes to lament their homeland. The hearty majority of human organisms find themselves, by the age of twenty, deeply longing to break away from their past and all that it entails, and the most logical way by which to do so is generally perceived as the abandonment of the site of upbringing.
This is true even on beautiful Cape Cod, as its youthful emigrants often speak of the slowness and boredom brought on by the peninsula, particularly outside the summer season. I know this because I experienced this and often heard and made the very same complaints while breaking from the Cape three years ago.
Having spent a month now living, studying, and loving life half an hour outside of Perth, Western Australia’s capital, I have developed quite a strong appreciation for my original home. This is not a result of homesickness and a longing to return to the familiar. Instead, this is because I am coming to realize how similar the Cape and Australia actually are.
Cape Cod is a fascinating region. Or, as they may say down here, “We live in a bloody wicked place” (note the shared incorrect use of the term wicked, though I grant that us northeasterners are certainly more keen to use it as an adverb than an adjective).
I understand that the United States and Australia are cousins historically and share a Western base philosophy. However, the Cape’s likeness to the land down under is much more concrete. I see it first in the beach lifestyle. Both areas can be defined more by what they allow for leisure than by what they accomplish in productivity. On Cape Cod and in Australia, the populations are proudly willing to pack themselves away and indulge in a day at the water’s feet ignoring the calls of life left behind. More tangibly, the shared affinities for surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and sunsets are clear similarities.
Along similar lines, the love of the land is a shared trait despite existence in entirely different quadrants of the world. Australians, perhaps as a result of the world’s pollution creating a hole in the ozone directly overhead, are quite conscious about maintaining a clean environment. And why shouldn’t they be? The country is a beautiful one with incredible images to turn the head at every available locale, just like the Cape. Cape Codders and Aussies are both quite likely to take advantage of the beautiful geography they’ve been gifted with. And despite their American status, it is evident that Cape residents do care quite a bit about the land. Take the CapeWind argument, for instance. The greatest controversy on the peninsula in the last few years features adversaries on either side whose primary concern it is to keep the Cape and Islands beautiful, albeit while arguing from entirely different mindsets.
The attitudes of the people from the two spots are also comparable. Comparing the personalities of the Cape to everything past the canal does present a very sharp contrast. Sure, you’re going to find your grouch cashiering at Staples or the occasional bad attitude at the body shop, but our peninsula is far more laid back and pleasant than Worcester, Boston, or even Rhode Island. Aussies are world famous for their happy-go-lucky attitude, and I am grateful to have been brought up in an area that similarly values play as at least equal to work and is happy to go with the pace of the day rather than attempting to control it.
I currently only have a couple more guaranteed months as a Cape resident, and until about a month ago, this excited me profusely. However, I have come to see how valuable it is to live in a region that simply enjoys the thrills and beauty of living life. While it was likely inevitable that I would at least temporarily swear off the Cape, I am happy to realize the fortune we all have in experiencing it day by day.
Can I feel the sand between my toes?
8 years ago