A skippy from Australia

19 juni 2019

G’day! As a new addition to TravelEssence, let me introduce myself: My name is Vanessa, an Aussie living in The Netherlands. How did I end up here? Well, Dutch love of course. I spend my days at TravelEssence in the marketing team as a writer, and would love to tell you more about my home country!

Growing up in Australia was easy-going. Islands were my backyard, koalas lived across the road and distance was never considered an issue. My home, Brisbane is a banquet of sunny days, flip flops and the great outdoors. Brisbane has a humid subtropical climate which usually meant one jumper was enough to cover the whole winter and closed shoes were not always a necessity. To be honest, I really miss the freedom of wearing open-air shoes all year round.

A koala in Australia

My days as an Aussie kid were spent fishing, jetty jumping, riding my bike, swimming and getting into all kinds of mischief. On a hot day, ‘slip and slide’ was the smartest way to keep cool (a tarp with a hose- cold water and detergent). At school, I was taught how to handle a snake bite, the importance of wearing sunscreen and that the eight deadliest animals in the world lived in my country. As a kid, if I did see a spider, I wouldn’t even bat an eyelid! I loved to hear my grandad’s stories about growing up in the bush and walking to school barefoot, a real Aussie battler.

My teachers always told me that we are living in a lucky country. With all that sunshine growing up and no worries mentality, I can see why. As well as sunshine, Brisbane has spectacular storms. After a hot day, you can feel the pressure in the air and then it starts- massive cracks it the sky. Nature showcasing a spectacular fireworks show. The rain pours down hard and suddenly you feel the temperature drop. This was a splendid moment as a kid- dancing in the rain!

Story Bridge, Brisbane

Australians are an incredible mix of diverse cultures and backgrounds. The Dutch have an abundance of high-quality sources of which family records are kept. This means in The Netherlands, many people know what their background is. Growing up, I had no idea what mine was. My grandad told me, we were of Black Irish descent and possibly a bit of English in there. This said nothing to me. During my days at school, I was sometimes asked if I was Aboriginal, I couldn’t answer. The question was there, was it possible?

Recently, my sister started a family background search. What was our family history? Where did we come from and how many generations were Australian? Then finally, after all those years the truth was revealed. I was part Aboriginal. Apparently, my family came from the region of Armidale. My grandfather’s grandma was Aboriginal and also his great grandad was too. I felt pride and was glad for the clarification but somehow felt as though I actually knew all along.

I am proud to be raising my Dutch- Australian- Aboriginal son, Louie in The Netherlands.

Vanessa and her family