When I was 18, I followed a life long dream and made the move from my small town of Brighton up to the UK’s capital of London.
At first, the hustle and bustle and novelty of walking past iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace as part of my daily commute was overwhelming.
However, it was a brief stint that lasted just a few months until the loneliness and franticness of the city wore me down and I moved back home. That experience in London led me to believe that I just wasn’t a city girl and I was resigned to that: until I moved to Melbourne.
I arrived in Melbourne at the end of last year on a Working Holiday Visa- you can follow my travels from day one on this section of the blog.
The decision to do so was totally random and in my mind a short term one. At first, I said I’d be home by Christmas, then that extended into April. Then April came and I said I’d stay until summer. Then that brings us up to the current date now, almost one year on and still here.
Although it’s been voted the world’s second most livable city for years in a row according to the Global Livability Index (coming in only after Vienna), Melbourne isn’t a place that’s particularly high on the tourist map- I’m guessing mainly because it’s so damn far away from the rest of the world.
So why Melbourne?
Well, I’ve visited quite a few cities over the last few years: Paris, New York, Bangkok, Copenhagen, Sydney and Hanoi, to namedrop a few. However, there’s just something about Melbourne that makes it so unique in comparison to other places that I’ve been to.
For starters, on the map, Melbourne is way bigger than London (almost six and a half times bigger) to be exact. However, Melbourne’s Central Business District or CBD is much smaller and way more compact so almost everywhere is in walking distance. Secondly, its population is proportionally lower than London at 5 million compared to 8 million. So, although Melbourne’s tourist attractions, bars and restaurants busy, it never feels overcrowded.
Australia’s cultural capital
Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital which means that there’s an overwhelming amount of exhibitions and galleries to explore on days off from work. That goes without mentioning the countless festivals and events that are held throughout the year- and then, of course, there’s Melbournes ever-changing street art scene.
Eating and drinking
Next reason- Melbourne’s drinking and dining scene in the city is out of this world. If you’re a foodie then this is the city for you. Last week, my parents visited me from the UK and they commented about the huge amount of dining options available in the city: and it’s true. Next, there’s the city’s love affair with coffee. Melbournian’s are coffee addicts and Melbourne has more cafes per capita than any other city in the world. In fact, it’s actually referred to as the coffee capital of the world.
The best of both worlds
Like my hometown, Brighton, Melbourne is located on the coast. This means that in summer, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to relax on and enjoy the warm weather. What’s more, Melbourne is also surrounded with outstanding natural beauty in all directions such as National Parks, vineyards and of course one of the world’s most iconic drives, the Great Ocean Road. This coupled with everything that the city has to offer, means that Melbourne is the best compromise between city living and the great outdoors.
I could go on and name lot’s more reasons why I love Melbourne so much but you only need to go and take a look through the posts on this blog to see why. Besides, that’s not the point of this post. The purpose that I’m trying to get across is that this move has proved to me why it’s important to keep expanding your comfort zone.
I’m from a small UK town of 600,000 people. It’s by the coast and it’s seasonal meaning that winters are quiet and sleepy. At home, I spend my weekends going for walks and baking rather than doing the rounds of rooftop bars and making coffees in a busy cafe with queues out of the door.
My time living in London led me to believe that I wasn’t a city girl but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I was content with my lifestyle in the UK but in Melbourne, I’ve never felt more alive. In a city where I have the space to express myself and do the things that I love but also an ever-changing list of places and events to keep me occupied, this year living in the city has been one of the best of my life.
It all goes to show that sometimes if things aren’t going to plan, it’s not you who needs to change but the place that you’re in itself.
Have you ever had an experience similar to mine where changing the place that you lived changed your whole perspective? Please get in touch, I’d love to hear.