Waiting to be picked up by my friend at Brisbane airport, I heard over my shoulder the sound of bare feet running on the concourse. Kids running around in bare feet? Really?
But this is Australia – and Queensland, where the weather is stunning all year round and I remembered from working in Melbourne back in 2010 how frequently I had seen people wandering around with no shoes on; around the beach, when driving, when calling into the shops. It’s what many of them do.
My first day I explored the South Bank area of the city, filled with cafes, parks, all alongside the river as it flows opposite the Central Business District of downtown and was immediately reminded of how active Australians appear to be, and how readily they spend time outside enjoying the climate. Having just been in Singapore the contrast was particularly stark. Whereas Singaporeans appear to spend a lot of time indoors, and a distinct lack of available space, Queensland was the exact opposite; wherever I looked there were parks, space, walking paths, with people outdoors enjoying them. Strolling down the South Bank at 8.30am just before a normal work day I saw people running, walking, cycling, completing box-fit classes, rock climbing, kayaking and swimming.
It’s startling at times how an environment can have such an influence on the opportunities and norms of any community..