Distance: A Matter of Perspective

The first week of uni just finished and I’m still alive which is a massive plus.

If you too, like me, entered tertiary education for the first time this year, you would have been relieved to find out that the first week was entirely made up of get-to-know-you sessions which you’ve been exposed to your entire life. You know, the ones where you have to meet another random person in your tutorial, exchange some information and then introduce and sell this person to the class as if they were the latest washing machine which you’re pitching to a single viewer of Home Shopping TV. “This person is fantastic! They drive this type of car and live here! They went to this school! They are doing this degree! They fold away under the bed for easy storage! Buy now and I’ll throw in their sibling for free!”

Well, maybe not quite like that, but you get the idea.

One question which annoyed me more than most was about how much you have travelled. It seems as if everyone in my tutorials has already managed to visit every continent on earth. I’m now convinced that everyone has either been to Italy or England at some point in their life except me.

I was proud to say I’ve been to three states in my life. And really, I mean two since I’ve only had a passing acquaintance with New South Wales. I’ve been as far east as Melbourne and as far west as West Beach yet I would say I’ve clocked up more kilometres than all these globe-hoppers with whom I share a tutorial.

You see, I’m from the country. The sticks, the bush, whatever you want to call it. That means it takes at least half an hour to get anywhere to do anything and driving over three hours for a game of football or netball is not uncommon. Many of my former classmates would occupy a bus seat for close to two hours a day to get to school. But we really don’t care.

Driving long distances and for long periods of time is just a way of life when one comes from the country. I was taken aback in my first few weeks of living in Adelaide when I found out that apparently Mount Barker is too far away for a lot of city dwellers to get to. On the flip side, a fellow spectator at the Adelaide Oval told me that he doesn’t go to as many games as he would like since he doesn’t like the ‘long drive’ back to Tea Tree Gully.

I can’t comprehend those words. For the past six or so summers, I’ve driven the three hour journey from home to watch a three hour game of T20 Cricket, only then to drive the same three hour journey home. Six hours in the car, three at the cricket.

When people find out that I’m so untraveled, aside from giving me a look of both pity and slight superiority, they will usually ask whether I’ll travel in the future. And the answer is no. Well, probably not and there are two reasons for this.

Firstly, I wouldn’t class myself as a big spender and the thought of paying for air travel, hotels and attractions puts me right off. My crazy sense of logic deems it a lot more prudent to buy a coffee table book with pictures from all over the world. I don’t need to visit the Eiffel Tower, I can view it on page 132 in the living room.

Secondly, I have already done my fair share of travel in life. Just not in many different directions. Most of it has been spent going up and down highways. Google told me that the circumference of the earth is nearly 40,000 kilometres and by using my rough estimating skills from Year 9 maths, I would take a guess that I have travelled around the earth at least 12 times in my life. That’s travelling to the moon with plenty left over.

In my head, I have already done plenty of travelling to sporting matches, events or to see family. It’s just not the type of travelling most people would think of. Sure, I could have exchanged a few miles to go see the lights of Paris or the rolling hills of Europe but is it as good as travelling a couple of hours to play the Perponda Grass Root Parrots on a 40 degree afternoon? Well, I know my answer but I’ll let you decide.

Words by Kurt Miegel
Image by Jessica Johnson

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