Welcome Mike Harling!

A big thanks this week goes out to everyone who has been in contact with me about my latest article in the Sunshine Coast Daily (Sunday 19th July ‘YOU’ feature)…. I am just awaiting the PDF from the (very busy) editor, so those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in Queensland can read it too.

Great news this week, while I answer the influx of emails, I have a fantastic (and pretty damn hilarious) guest to write the weekly blog…

… Over to you – my good mate, Mike Harling!

Postcards Down Under – Queensland

This is great!  After one of the most amazing coincidences ever on my last visit (see the St. Louis, Missouri Tour post and check the comments) I am now at the most amazing tour location so far—Queensland, Australia.  This time, I’m visiting Vicky Gray, who also wrote a book (Didgeridoos and Didgeridon’ts) aimed at you folks wanting to move down under.

Vicky takes the prize for bringing the Postcards Tour the furthest away from Sussex.  So far.  There are, actually, locations even farther from my hometown than this one and if anyone living in the Antipodes Islands in New Zealand wants to host me, no one is going to be able to top you.

Queensland, by the way, is beautiful and, compared to the crowded south east of England, mercifully empty.  I was afraid I was going to have a problem finding Vicky, since the directions she gave me to her house were merely, “Queensland.”  Seeing as how it is the second largest province in Australia—weighing in a 1.8 million square kilometres—I was sure it was going to be impossible to locate her, but after I landed, I asked a guy hanging around outside the airport if he knew where Vicky Gray lived.

“Sure,” he said.  “She’s the Pommy what wrote that book, right?  She lives close by.  No worries, mate, I’ll drive you.”

And after an eight and a half hour ride, we were there.

Queensland is big and broad and sparsely populated, reminiscent of the American prairie, but hotter and with fewer fundamentalists.  It’s also winter down here, which I find interesting, not only because it’s really summer but also because it’s so warm and sunny.  Plus, I am told I have arrived just in time to celebrate “Christmas in July,” as if we needed additional evidence that the Aussies were just a bit off kilter.

My mission here is a bit dubious.  I’m supposed to be talking up my own book, which is about an American moving to the UK, not a Brit moving to Oz.  My book, however, is not a How-To manual but more of a sequence of humorous observations about what happens after you move, and that translates into any language.  So whether you’re a Yank, a Brit or an Aussie you’re likely to find it funny.  And you don’t even need to be an ex-pat.

I’d love to bang on about the book (go out and buy it, now!) but there’s a cold Fosters waiting for me out in the back yard next to the barbeque grill.  And after we eat, we’re going to start hanging up the Christmas decorations.

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Michael Harling is the author of

“Postcards From Across the Pond – dispatches from an accidental expat”

“Laugh out loud funny regardless of which side of the pond you call home.  Bill Bryson move over, there’s a new American expat in town with a keen sense of humor.”

— Jeff Yeager, author of “The Ultimate Cheapskate”



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