As I’ve shed my city slicker ways to hack it as a young nomad I’ve noticed conversations ’round the campsite are peppered with phrases that this time last year rarely, (if ever), passed my lips.
This new voice seems to match my ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to life, and has likely been unconsciously picked up from spending 24/7 with my bushman of a fiance Drew, and from the interesting characters we’ve met along our journey.
Here are five sayings you’re likely to hear if you camped a night or two in our backyard – the great Australian outdoors.
1. Drop a mate off in the bush
Picking up the shovel and roll of toilet paper at a campsite is usually a dead giveaway that one needs to use the bathroom. But to be sure everyone knows your whereabouts (so they don’t unknowingly follow you on your merry way), you can also proclaim you are going to ‘drop a mate off in the bush’ as you set off.
2. Good one
These two words can be heard coming out of my mouth in response to absolutely anything.
A neighbour brings over a thick log of wood to chuck on the fire: ‘good one.’ A fisherman gives directions to a fresh water stream nearby: ‘good one.’ When Drew knocks a coconut down from a tree and drills into it so I can have a refreshing drink I exclaim…
‘Good one Drew.’
‘Good one’ is extremely versatile and can also be used in a sarcastic manner, like when I woke up to catch a cow greedily licking the rim of our camp oven: ‘good one.’
3. Old mate
Any male for whom you do not know their name. As a general rule, ‘old mates’ look like there’s not much going on upstairs, but are usually full of good stories. These characters have seen a thing or two in their lifetime and if you listen long enough you’re bound to learn valuable life lessons.
4. Pump up your tyres
If a friend is feeling upset or just a bit out of sorts you may need to ‘pump up their tyres.’ I try to do this by making a phone call or shooting through a few text messages. But if phone coverage isn’t available there’s always the trusty post card. Any gesture to show you care will work wonders to nurse a friends punctured wellbeing back on the road of life.
5. You’re rippin’ my nightie
When someone does something very annoying they are metaphorically ‘rippin’ your nightie.’ Like when Drew laid a straight in a card game, my Step Dad who was visiting us in Central Australia said, ‘Drew, you’re rippin’ my nightie.’ You can also exclaim ‘doesn’t that rip your nightie’ to someone who has experienced something unfortunate. Kicking over a newly cracked can of beer meets this criteria…
but then again so does singeing all of your arm hairs in the flames of a roaring fire.
As I travel outback Australia I’m learning that this country is full of ordinary people doing the best they can with what they’ve been given; no matter what we do for a living, or the words we choose to speak, we are all one in the same.
While you won’t hear me crying out ‘fair dinkum’, ‘you flaming gallah’ or ‘stone the crows’ anytime soon, I am embracing the Aussie outback lifestyle and I wouldn’t be surprised if I return to the big smoke and sound a little simple or feel a tad out of place.
But I’ll worry about that when the time comes.
Yeah, good one.