Homesick Aussies turn to hilarious hotline

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Travel insurance company launches 1800 STRAYA number to let lonely Aussies abroad hear recordings of familiar sounds from home.

Homesick Australians can listen to waves crashing at Bondi Beach and other quintessentially Australian sounds when they dial the news 1800 STRAYA phone number. Photo / iStock
Homesick Australians can listen to waves crashing at Bondi Beach and other quintessentially Australian sounds when they dial the news 1800 STRAYA phone number. Photo / iStock

It happens to the best of us.

That pang that hits us in the guts, quick and fast. Or perhaps it creeps in slowly; a dawning feeling that something's not quite right.

Either way, it's the same thing. It's homesickness, and it's horrible.

It struck Canberra high school teacher Joshua Ross when he least expected it during his recent travels through the UK, Germany, France and Spain.

"I missed familiarity," the 30-year-old told news.com.au.

"Most of my time was spent in non-touristy German cities where English wasn't the expected language, and so I was often reminded that I was a foreigner. I missed my usual haunts; the local coffee shop, especially - coffee is just not the same in Europe.

"It certainly didn't detract from the fun of exploring new and unfamiliar cities, but it definitely gave me a sense of uncertainty and made me feel like an outsider."

As more and more young Australians head overseas alone - as many as 74 per cent, according to a recent study by Travel Insurance Direct - homesickness is bound to claim many more blubbering victims, nostalgic and lonely in a foreign place.

So Travel Insurance Direct, best known for assisting travelling Aussies in genuine emergencies, has done a hilarious thing to try and help.

It's just launched a free hotline called 1800 STRAYA (+61 1800 787 292) that lets lonely Aussies abroad hear recordings of familiar sounds from home.

It's the most quintessentially Australian thing you're likely to hear.

A very ocker automated voice on the other end of the hotline guides you through you nine options designed to give you an instant hit of epic Australiana.

You can hear the sound of waves crashing at Bondi Beach, kookaburras squarking in the bush, and even the clatter of empty tinnies being poured into a wheelie bin.

There's the roar of crowds at the MCG, Waltzing Matilda being played on a gumleaf and the clamour of Sydney's night-life on a weekend.

If you press six, you can "remember what it's like to be on hold with Centrelink indefinitely", and possibly be relieved you're not back home after all.

The Homesickness Hotline wasn't available when Joshua was on his European travels but he said staying in touch with loved ones as much as possible was the best way to get out of the funk.

"A lot of text messaging with friends and families, and the odd phone call to remind me of home," he said of his homesickness coping strategy.

"Keeping in regular contact with loved ones will remind you of what you will return to once the fun of travelling is over.

"(Homesickness) definitely wouldn't deter me from travelling solo again, but it has given me perspective in knowing how long I can cope with it before needing the comfort of friends and family."

Ten sounds Kiwis might want on a 'homesick hotline'

1. The dawn chorus

2. Milk being steamed for a flat white at a bustling cafe

3. Water rushing over the Huka Falls

4. Battered fish being lowered into a deep fryer

5. A jetboat roaring into life

6. A waiata

7. Tent pegs being hammered into sun-baked ground

8. The crowd at an Eden Park All Blacks match

9. The voice of Tammy Wells - aka The Briscoes Lady

10. Heavy winter rain hammering on the roof

What sounds of New Zealand would you want to hear if you were homesick? Tell us in the comments section below.

- news.com.au

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