Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road

When you live, breathe and eat America, you tend to love it more than any other country in the world and believe that America is the ONLY country in the world that you can be happy in. Living out here has forced me to utilize parts of my brain that I do not normally utilize and take place in everyday parts of life. One of the main things I had to learn was about driving on the left side of the road as well as driving on the left side of the car. It is an interesting feeling because you think, after everything you’ve been taught in America is right, you’ve been driving on the wrong side of the road. It goes a little bit deeper. Everybody is well familiar with the high minimum wage, which currently setting at $17/hr. Many people assume that the high minimum wage will also make the cost of living high, which in my opinion is false in so many notions. In America, many individuals base the cost of living on gas prices, the cost of milk, the cost of healthcare and the housing market. While I was in America, this made complete sense to me on gauging life and a salary based on how to calculate a lot of these things. There are so many factors that tie into the Australian way of life that differ from the American way of life.

One major difference I noticed was the cost of insurance. Back home in Atlanta, GA my insurance is significantly different. I am the owner of a completely stock 2007 Mazda RX-8 and I am 24 years old and at the time, had not one ticket in my name. My insurance for liability was well over $600 to even be a part of parents’ insurance plan. Here, I am a witness to a couple of families having full coverage home insurance, full coverage on 2-4 vehicles with at least one driver under the age of 25 for less than $400 a month in total. It further lets me know that some of the things I used to think were reasonable in America, are unreasonable.

Another major difference that I noticed was the price of buying homes. You have your expensive homes, but I never saw oversized homes. I’ve seen 3 bedroom homes for $100k with a spare room, two car garages and plenty of room. I’ve also seen 10 bedroom homes that are $300k-$500K and stand on many acres of land. The newer homes tend to have solar power than actual energy and they often have recycled water that they often use for a neighborhood. No, this does not interfere with the tap water; recycled water often is used in toilets, etc. They take so much pride in having enough to be comfortable out here. Houses here are built with quickness, quality and longevity (in my opinion). Many of the homes I’ve seen are four-sided brick with clay roofs or four-sided stucco with clay roofs. There are a lot less panel sided homes than what you would see in the states.

The enjoyment of life out here seems to be much of a priority than in the states. People out here love to laugh and have a good time and there is not really any jealousy issues. You have your jerks, you have your cocky people, you have your greedy people but that doesn’t stop people from loving to have a good time. You bring an Aussie some beer and they will bring you a good time. People don’t really try to destroy you as a person, they rather just move on with their lives. In America, you see the demeaning lives of society; “ratchet black people” in the news, “racist white people” in the news, “gang affiliated Spanish People” in the news all the time. Here, there is so much less violence. The news is pretty interesting because it’s so much more positivity spoken, rather than discouraging news about who got shot etc.

In a sense you feel like you are driving on the wrong side of the road in life when you come to a place like this because everything you dream of in America is happening in other parts of the world. Yes, there are drawbacks and differences but it’s much more peace. The people I’ve encountered are hardworking people but it’s worth experiencing everything. There is so much less drama and a beer can pretty much mellow out any altercation here, especially if it’s free. Well… Maybe driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t that bad. Until next time….

Polk

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