Click to preview The Wide Brown Land for Us; Australia, May 2009 photo book

When I was 12 years old, a strange and wonderful pop song was a huge hit in my little corner of New England. It was called "Land Down Under," and it was by an Australian band called Men at Work. The song included snarling rock 'n' roll guitars, but the lilting melody was carried by a flute, of all instruments, and the tune was backed by eccentric percussion that sounded like a frustrated traveler beating a wrench on the radiator of a car that had broken down on some lonely outback road.

The lyrics told the simple story of a world traveler homesick for Australia, and seemed to be in English, but were punctuated by words I’d never heard before. What was vegemite, and why did the singer miss it so? I needed to know.

Years later, I met some Australians in China who told me that at home the song was considered “daggy,” or, "embarrassingly ridiculous." They also let me taste vegemite and I hated it. But it didn't matter. I knew already that someday I would have to discover this upside-down land where everything from condiments to rock music and the English language itself was familiar and exotic at the same time.

In May of 2009, Pipi and I finally visited Australia. In three weeks we covered five states and 4,162 miles by train. We got to know extended family, all relatives of Pipi’s new Australian sister-in-law. We discovered lots of eccentric music, learned many new words, and ate a number of really good things. (I still don’t like vegemite, though.)

This is the story of our Aussie Odyssey, from the streets of Sydney to the nearly uninhabited Nullarbor plain.


About the Author

Nicole Clausing
nclausing Oakland, CA, USA

Despite having almost no natural sense of direction, Nicole Clausing is an intrepid traveler--and a compulsive documentarian of her adventures.

Nicole graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Asian Studies. Since then her travels have taken her to much of Asia, Europe, the United States, and, most recently, Australia. Just three continents to go.

She lives in Oakland California with her partner in life, crime, and globe-hopping.

Publish Date  December 12, 2009

Dimensions  Large Square  84 pgs Standard Paper

Category  Travel

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Comments (2) Write a comment


jediamente says

Nicole, what a great book. I come from 'the land down under' and I thought it was a lovely representation of our country. So glad you had a good time. Well done.

posted at 09:36pm Mar 30 PST


Omawyn says

This was the best Christmas present I could have received. I had followed her blog while she was on the trip so knew that she had something here. She has done a marvelous job of editing; the pictures are huge and professional. This is done as a top of the line book!

posted at 07:30pm Feb 24 PST


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