• Barbara Murphy-Shannon

Australia,Chapter 1 -Never Never

Updated: Aug 9

Bob and I were watching TV in his apartment when the phone rang, it was Liz. She just arrived in Hong Kong from Bangkok.

I met Liz when I was in Bangkok back in January. She’s Erin’s cousin who is traveling with Beth. When Beth and I started this journey last October from Massachusetts, the plan was to go to New Zealand then to Australia then to Kathmandu, Nepal, where we would meet her friend Erin who was coming out of the Peace Corps before Christmas.

We ended up spending more time in New Zealand for reasons which I’ll share later but let’s just say there was a Monk, a Milford and a Mohawk involved.

Carpe diem baby!

What this meant was when we arrived in Australia our time was cut short.

I was torn between going with Beth to meet Erin in Kathmandu and only seeing a small part of Australia or staying longer in Australia and seeing less of Nepal.

I decided to stay in Australia and I’ll fly to Kathmandu on January 6th.

Australia- Never Never

I was super excited about Australia for so many reasons.

First, the Australian accent…

I love their words and phrases like ''mite'' (mate), ''barbie (obviously)'' (barbecue), ''emma chisit'' (how much is it?), and ''sorten TV'' (saw it on TV).

Then they scored on the gene pool with good looks ((Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, Chris Hemsworth,…) They also have this Mad Max kind of man’s man attitude. Remember Paul Hogan, the star from the movie Crocodile Dundee and the commercials, '' Come and say 'G'day' (pronounced G'dye) and I'll throw another shrimp on the barbie for ya'' promoting Australia tourism…you had me at G’day!

Let’s talk about Australia for a bit. Australia is a big country, roughly the same size as the US, they speak English but yet they have a different kind of vibe, slower, more easygoing and a lot of that stems from the way they speak. Here are just a few of my favorites.

1. Brekky: breakfast

2. Maccas: McDonald's

3. Arvo: afternoon

4. Bloody: very

5. Sauce: ketchup

6. Bogan: sort of like dickhead, asshole

7. Tea: dinner

8. Fresh off the boat: new to Australia

9. Heaps: a lot

10. G’day: hello

11. Pissed: drunk

12. Good onya: good work, well done

13. Chrissie – Christmas

14. Coldie – Cold Beer

15. Mozzie: mosquito

Then you have Sydney, a cosmopolitan city full of restaurants and nightlife, the Opera House and still only 20 minutes from fabulous beaches.

Australia's relationship with its aboriginal people is similar to our relationship with American Indians. In the last few years, they have realized it's not easy nor is it right to drag the aborigines into the 20th century. They have been given land rights. Their God is the land. Some have said they are the most ancient people on the face of the earth.

Australia has so many wonderful sights and places to visit such as The Great Barrier Reef to the Outback they call the Never Never.

The Never Never is the name of a vast, remote area of the Australian Outback, as described in Barcroft Boake's poem "Where the Dead Men Lie":

Out on the wastes of the Never Never -

That's where the dead men lie!

There where the heat-waves dance forever -

That's where the dead men lie!...

There are still places way up North where you will be virtually the first to set foot there.

When I arrived in Australia I never would have predicted that I would find myself in Never Never …lost…no water, no food, no shelter…hurt…bloody…and scared I might die out here and no one would ever find me.

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

To be continued.


This is a true story that chronicles my rebellious journey when I was 24 years old backpacking around the world looking for solace after the end of an abusive marriage (ok to escape). An intensely graphic and heartfelt memoir of self-discovery is about how getting lost can be where you belong, how traveling to new cultures and meeting new people helps you heal (they don't judge), find your voice and remember who you really are and want to be. It is certain to inspire anyone who has ever woken up in a life they don’t want to be in. Many life lessons and some bad decisions (sorry Mom) along the way. Buckle in! It's going to be a bumpy ride.

xoxo, Barbara

Barbara Murphy-Shannon, Psy.M. is a Mindset Breakthrough Business Coach for Entrepreneurs and Leaders. Sign up for my weekly blog or reach out at Barbara@barbaramurphyshannon.com