My son is now in Australia, getting some medical practice before he enters his final year and, at last, qualifies as a doctor. Here he is reflecting on the conservative attitudes of many in his generation, and of the deep conformity which appear to lie behind the veneer of adventurism and difference.
I think I'm really learning a lot about 'people' (funny as that might sound). I'm in a hospital in sydney at the moment doing orthopaedics and having a great time playing the surgeon. The orthopaedics is good and I've seen some pretty gruesome stuff (I would typically say amazing here but it would just be bad taste). I assisted in a below knee amputation of the leg yesterday evening after some guy threw himself under a train.
As ever though the dilema is to stay on studying or bugger off down the coast to have some fun! (I think the latter shall soon win out). The people you meet on the road though are a real weird selection (and yes I am aware I'm one of them... but I'm weird in a normal way... a lot of these travellers are just plain idiots). As a friend of mine said .... travelling is the finishing school of the middle classes... and I'll be darned if he's not right. Most of em go to uni... get
their degree.... can't decide what to do cos their degree isn't actually much use to them and then bugger off around the world for a bit (firstly as an escape and secondly so that when they are grand-dads or else are just sitting around in the pub they can pretend they did something interesiting once in their life... that other people haven't done.... but in fact most people (like them) have travelled to phuket, bangkok, laos, machu pichu et al etc .... and actually most people(like them) have done all that stuff and infact not learnt anything about the places they've been to! I'll be darned if any of my mates have... learnt much that is (about vietnam or chile or peru etc etc)!) I do realise I'm rambling here.
I think its because The only people who get to do all this stuff are those with the chioce to do it so most of the brits and frech and germans and spanish etc etc are of the same mould in a weird sort of way. Obviously you can draw some pretty interesting conclusions from that.
I suppose its like those kids in america who dress up in the goth clothes (you know- all the black eye-liner and leather jacket stuff (the marlyn manson bunch)) are trying to do their own thing and be 'different' but end up looking just like everyone else... i think the same can be applied to the backpakers I've met over here. They all strike me as rather similar and a lot of the time really bloody boring. Of course there are exceptions though.I do however love Aussies.... and a more rascist bunch i don't think i've ever met! (apart from of course most indians)
There are a few other students from overseas here (mostly english) and I'm surprised by the ease at which I find being over here on my own. By that I mean I'm pretty happy just doing my own thing. I think that its sort of revealing how people act when they don't know you from Larry but are also looking for some friendship (I think a few 'em are all a bit daunted by it all). Its amazing how bloody niave some of the people you meet within the world of medicine are.I met a girl while I was travelling on the way up from adeliade to melbourne who was 18 and had just finished school. She was from South africa (an afrikaans I think) and was about to start uni in Holland (as a medical student funnily enough but thats not important). She'd been out here for around 4 months spending the whole time travelling on her own. Real adventurous type but not stupid or reckless, just sensible. Well needless to say I was impressed by her gumpshun (just getting up and going off on her own). Then I arrive at the hospital in Sydney and meet some of the students staying here. Well most of them hadn't even left the hospital let alone sydney! Imagine coming all the way to Australia (or anywhere in the world for that matter) and not trying to see a bit of the country... crazy! There is one girl here, she's around 23, from London- ... I suggested she travelled around for a bit, maybe up the coast to Fraiser Island (which is by all accounts one of the most incredibly beautiful islands in the world!). She looked at me in horror saying that there's no way she could travel around on her own ... it would just be simply too dangerous! I let out an inward sigh. People really don't know what they are missing.