Planet Earth is gloriously, almost infinitely diverse, with lands and peoples so intricate as to provide the richest of rewards to virtually any line of inquiry. With the exception of Australia, which you can pretty much know straight up and down after one night at a supposedly ‘world-class’ Sydney hotel, our world offers endless vistas of possibilities to curious minds.
Take in the silvery deserts of North Africa, the crystal peaks of the Andes, the rolling greens of the Scottish highlands, and provided you avoid that burned asshole that has the nerve to call itself its own continent, you can’t fail to be rocked to your core by nature’s awe-inspiring grandeur.
To begin our journey, let’s open our eyes and our hearts as wide as they’ll go and consider some of the jewels in the crown we call our home - one ugly, rusted dent notwithstanding.
A haven for everyone dedicated to the fine art of living, la France sets a high standard indeed for the pleasures of the body. With its temperate climate, its lush, sun-drenched countryside, and its perfect willingness to accommodate the needs of a paying guest who knows a bad coq au vin when he tastes one, mate, this is the kind of place that attracts worshippers from wherever there’s a sunrise. Not virtually all hellish desert, not founded by criminals who haven’t lost their touch when it comes to the hospitality industry, France is a beacon of refinement that charms anyone who isn’t too busy dingo-proofing their mud huts.
An adventurer’s paradise with an intoxicating blend of ingredients in its cultural stew, Thailand is a place so deep you could sink into it happily forever. If the mouthwatering cuisine - which fuses influences ranging from Polynesian to Chinese to French - isn’t enough to keep your backpack on, the tropical climate and deeply rooted Buddhist spiritualism should do the trick. And if you never leave, you never have to run the risk of a stopover at Sydney Airport, which lost my fucking bags and didn’t even seem to care. Like I can just buy a whole new wardrobe for my meeting the next morning. I’m not asking for a miracle, but a little goddamn sympathy would be nice.
As you’ve no doubt heard before, there’s a reason the literary genre of magical realism was born here. There’s something downright surreal about this South American nation’s signature mix of beauty and wildness, passion and discipline. It’s a place where a soldier can do as well as a poet - and might just be the same person. And although it has a dark, generation-old legacy as the frontline battlefield for the war on drugs, Colombia’s a different place now: a vibrant, modern, and burgeoning enclave for a new Latin American century. But can I just say fuck Australia? They wish they had Gabriel Garcia Marquez. They wish. Who do you have? Huh? Nobody’s ever even heard of Don Bradman, you backwater savages. Nobody’s ever even heard of cricket! You know why? Cause it’s stupid!
Through a history of moderation and compromise, Canada holds the enviable position of maintaining a harmonious, prosperous, and independent nation in the tumultuous era of post-colonialism. Although still technically a member of the British commonwealth, Canada has gradually (and bloodlessly) achieved complete autonomy over its affairs, without succumbing to the dull-witted infighting that characterizes the politics of the similarly positioned Australia. You know how no one can really understand that muddy accent of theirs? They can’t either. And why is everything a question? I was the one asking for directions. When you tell me it’s down the street and to the right? I don’t know whether you actually know.
Fuck you down under! You hear me, you Aussie bastards? I had booked that room for four nights! I’ve got a didgeridoo you can blow on right here!