While the US and other parts of the world are opening up again, Australia may open its borders again in… mid-2022. This is just such a long time away. So here is a (non-serious but kind of serious) list of things to try when you’re homesick like you’ve never been homesick before…

Quick Fixes for Homesick Aussies

1. Tell Alexa to play songs by Peter Combe. If you grew up in Oz in the 80’s and 90’s, you absolutely need to hear “Wash Your Face With Orange Juice” right now (if Alexa doesn’t recognize your transpacific pronunciation of his name, just ask for the song directly. Alexa has it, trust me).

2. Crack open that packet of Tim Tams or Shapes your Mum or your mate sent you that you were saving for a “special occasion”. Today is that special occasion.  

3. Speaking of your Mum, give her a call. Doesn’t matter if you called her yesterday or you don’t have any news, you know she always loves a call.

4. Back to snacks, if your stash of Aussie treats is LONG gone, go back in time and make some fairy bread (American sprinkles are pretty awesome for this!) Or if the idea of white bread and sugar no longer has the same appeal as when you were 8, splurge on some more real snacks at Treats From Oz.

5. “Walk” down some of your favourite Aussie streets on Google maps. It’s not as depressing as it sounds – you quickly forget you’re sad you’re not there in real life, and try to zoom in on the new garden at your childhood home, or laugh at the new old couch outside the flat you shared for Uni.

International Brands are your friend

I’m a big supporter of shopping locally as small businesses recover from the pandemic. However, visiting these international stores feels just. Like. Home.

6. Go to IKEA. As soon as you step in the door you can pretend you’re in an IKEA in Australia. The mental transition is seamless as the screaming of small children sounds the same in every language and accent, and there’s something about furniture shopping that the under 5’s everywhere can’t handle. Also you’re likely to find a handy dandy storage solution, which is really always a delight.

7. Go to Target. Not quite the same as Aussie Targets, but close if you avoid the supermarket section (one box of Reese’s Puffs will spoil your mental teleporting).

8. Go to a large cinema. When you’re comfortable with crowds again, most large cinemas look just like your local Hoyts. And after all, you were probably watching an American movie when you were in Australia anyway, so again, it’s a seamless transition.

Aussie food is really important

9. Ask your family for a recipe for a hot meal from your childhood that you’ve never cooked before. The smell of it will fill your home and take you right back. For me this recipe was my Mum’s Tuna Patties. 

For America Josh it was his Nanna’s recipe from leftover roast lamb with curry rice.

10. Roast a leg of lamb. I’ve heard that Cosco sells lamb, but I also recommend trying your local Halal butcher. The smell is Aussie Christmas on tap…

11. Make iced coffee as it should be made – with a big scoop of ice cream!

12. Go on a mission to find Aussie style fries i.e. chips i.e. not little skinny things but nice big chunks of potato. The closest I have found in NYC are the superb fries at Paul’s Da Burger Joint in the West Village. Comment below if you’ve found anything closer?

Get outdoors!

13. Go to the beach. Even if you’re technically looking the wrong direction, Australia is on the other side of the ocean… if you go through a couple of continents as well.

14. Hug a tree. Nature is grounding and tree hugs are the same all over. Or make a world sandwich — simply lie on the ground, and have your mate in Oz do the same, at the same time. World sandwich! 

15. Sit by a campfire in the dark. If it’s complete darkness – guess what? Yep, you’re in Australia again.

Homesick cures in NYC / maybe wherever you are too

16. Go to an Aussie café. There’s now, wonderfully, a million of them.

17. Go to a different Aussie café. As there’s a million of them you can really mix it up. Or if you’d like some company, go to All the King’s Horses in the East Village on a Friday morning with America Josh, and his dog, Roo. He gathers Aussies & friends on a weekly basis. No need to drink your cappuccino alone.  

18. Go to Macy’s and ride the wooden elevators and pretend you’re in David Jones in Sydney.

19. Go bike riding. Bear with me for this one – every time you stop at a light and end up with a bunch of other bikers, pretend you’re with your neighborhood bike gang as made famous by “BMX Bandits”.

20. Wear all your Aussie merch and go for a walk. NYC is full of enough Aussies that your Aussie flag T-shirt or Rabbitohs jersey will bring out another Aussie to say G’day.

When nothing else works…

21. Lean in to what you love about your new home. This is totally counter-intuitive, but remind yourself of all the good things where you live.  

22. Get to Inbox Zero. Your inbox is your digital home after all. This is also an excellent task of distraction.

23. Call everyone mate for a day. Everyone loves this. Don’t forget the variations like “old mate”, “little mate” etc.

24. Check when your passport expires. You haven’t used it in a while, and you don’t want that dumb life admin task to hold you up when you can get on an Aussie bound plane again. Here’s how to do it if you need to renew.

25. Make out with someone. Home is where the heart is. And your eyes are closed, so you could def be in Oz.

26. Print out some photos and put them up. They will make you happy every time you look at them, for the cost of like 9 cents each.

27. Practice your Aussie accent. Watch “The Castle” to remember how it’s really done, as well as getting a refresher course in such classic one-liners as “Tell’em they’re dreamin’”.

28. Send a care package to Aussies you love in lock down, because they’re back in lock down all over. While you may be the lucky recipient of care packages, now is a good time to send one back.

29. Don’t be alone. Homesickness and loneliness are close cousins, so pick up the phone and give someone an old-fashioned call. If it’s not your Mum, they’ll definitely think it’s an emergency and pick up (who calls anyone just for a chat anymore?) But you know, it could be an emergency if you’re so homesick you’re willing to overcome your millennial phone anxiety to talk on the phone.

30. Tell Alexa to play Slim Dusty. I know, now I’m just getting sentimental, but “I Love to have a Beer with Duncan” is a sure pick-me-up.

None of these things are the same as a big hug from loved ones in Australia. But remember, you’re not in this alone, and one day, we’ll have airport reunions that will put the opening sequence of “Love Actually” to shame. Actually, I’d watch a whole film of all our epic post pandemic reunions. Because they are going to be epic. On that thought, maybe play “Wash Your Face With Orange Juice” one more time…