Friday, February 26, 2016

Where does the love for our country spring from? Tricia McGill

My latest release can be bought here.
I sit and watch the evening news and my heart bleeds when I see so many displaced people seeking refuge in Europe and elsewhere; fleeing a war that they had no part in, only to be shunned by some people simply because they seek a better life for their children. They have little hope of returning to the land of their birth, and this leads me to wonder exactly how they feel inside. I can’t imagine what I would do if I had to choose a few of my treasured belongings—enough to cram into one or two bags—and leave all that I love behind.

My husband and I and two of my sisters with their husbands came to Australia seeking a better life in a free land. Admittedly I came mainly to join my three sisters who already lived here, but it was also because we were offered a better life in a prosperous country. And it has been a better life, and for me in particular a fulfilling one. No wonder I say I have been blessed. That’s not to say I didn’t love my early days in England. But the weird part is that I have an affinity with Australia that is probably much stronger than the one I had for the land of my birth.

Australia has been kind to me in so many ways. At times I can be brought to tears at the sheer beauty to be found in some parts, and wonder at this odd love I have for my adoptive country. Recently I watched a show on my TV that disappointed me in so many ways. Which was stupid, when you come to think about it, as the comments that annoyed me were made about Australia and not about me personally. So why should I get so upset when an outsider criticizes things that I have no control over?

This program featured a well-liked Australian. I happen to like his shows so that is why I watched this one. But, it turned out that he had brought his two English sidekicks from his show produced in England, and the idea was to show them the “real” Australia. Sorry, but bringing two Poms out and taking them on a road trip from Darwin to Sydney down the red center of our country was not showing them the true beauty of the landscape (just my opinion). They constantly complained about the flies. Well, if you travel the outback in the hottest part of the year in a small camper-van, you are going to encounter flies, and there is such a thing as insect repellent that works really well. The side trips they had to endure was not my idea of a great road trip. Wild pig hunting? Not a pastime I would chose if I was showing off my beautiful country and its strange habits. Enough said.

For years my husband and I left chilly Victoria around July/August, hitched our caravan to our car, and set off on a 3 month jaunt around the country. We have circled Australia, taken the inland road right up the middle, driven across the Nullarbor Plain, let me see—four times, traveled up the east coast innumerable times, been to Uluru (Ayers Rock) driven across the Sydney Harbour Bridge countless times, and to be honest, there are only a few places in Australia that I haven’t seen. And, a lot of my writing got done during the stop-overs. My husband was a keen fisherman so I have traversed many miles of the country in search of good fishing spots, tramped many beaches that were so isolated I doubt I trod in any other person’s footprints.

A while back there was a discussion in our author’s group about the movie Red Dog, well I sat in front of his statue in Dampier a long time before he became world famous. I’ve touched a dolphin at Monkey Mia in northern WA, seen platypus swimming peacefully in Tasmania, hand fed wallabies, been close to an echidna, and all in their natural habitat, not in a zoo. I’ve slept in a haunted house in Strahan Tasmania, stood inside an enormous tree in Walpole right up the top of the country. When I see a motor home or caravan on the road I still get a lump in my throat and wonder where these lucky people are off to, and wish I was tagging along. I fear my traveling days are well and truly over, although my friend and I are planning another trip across to my second favorite state, Tasmania, in the near future.

This post was brought about as last evening I watched a show about an Aboriginal man who has made good in this country. He revisited the town where he grew up, and was explaining the affinity his people have for the land. And I can truly understand this, as although I wasn’t born here, I have such a love for this land it is difficult to explain. And I thank Fate, or whatever had a hand in my destiny, that I found such a haven.
All of my contemporary romances are set here, don’t ask me why, but it never occurred to me to set them anywhere else.
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