It’s been two and a half years since I first arrived in Melbourne and I’ve come a long way from the 20 bed dorm in the backpackers that I first stayed in.
Unfamiliar streets have been replaced with treasured memories, the new has become the normal and the city that once seemed so huge to me, doesn’t feel that big anymore.
Having the opportunity to have spent some of my most pivotal years in a city like Melbourne is a luxury that I am thankful for everyday. I am greatful that I have had the chance to grow and develop as a person in a place that’s so bustling and so far from my home in the UK. Travelling is fantastic but spending the time living and working abroad is so much more rewarding.
Obviously, living on the other side of the world during a pandemic is not the easiest of situations. It’s hard to be away from my friends and family and it’s tough knowing that wherever I make the decision to live, for now, there is no going back. Like so many others, I am also struggling with not having travel in my life right now. While I am grateful that I am still abroad, despite the odds, Melbourne has become as familiar as home and I often find myself missing the freedom and mystic of my backpacking trips.
Having said that, I am grateful for the slower pace of life that has been inflicted on me. Living through one of the worlds longest and toughest lockdowns helped me to appreciate everything that I do have now; that be the people, the city, my job and the luxury of having places to go once again.
Life living as a 20-something in Melbourne is all over the place. Sometimes, free time is infinite but sometimes I don’t buy groceries for a week. It seems like there’s a new bar or restaurant popping everywhere but then I’ll bump into the same person three times in a day and the city has never felt smaller. Melbourne can be hot and then cold, it can be bustling on one street and deserted down the next. It is one old terrace house next to one huge gleaming skyscraper. It’s all over the place and it’s changing all the time but that’s just Melbourne and that’s how we like it.
Here’s what one of my days living in Melbourne looks like.
It’s friday and the alarm goes off at 6.30. I wake up and make a coffee before getting ready to walk or cycle to work. I have a few jobs at the moment but either way my day will primarily revolve around coffee.
If I’m doing a long shift, then I’ll order brunch at work but If I get out by midday then I’ll take myself off for something to eat. Melbourne has so many fantastic Asian restaurants: Japanese, Hotpot, Malaysian, Indonesian: you name it. I like to enjoy an iced matcha at Ima Cafe in Carlton or grab some sushi from Hinoki Japanese pantry in Collingwood and sit in Carlton Gardens.
Depending on my mood, I’ll either squeeze in some exercise (probably a long run along the river or to the beach, or a swim at the outdoor pool at the Carlton Baths- weather dependent). If I’m feeling more chilled, I’ll do some shopping- in Fitzroy if I’m looking for vintage clothes, art supplies, plants etc and in the city if it’s just for general stuff). Alternatively, if it’s groceries I need then I will probably try and head to the market before it closes at 2pm. Everything is so much cheaper and more delicious there- plus its pretty much plastic free!
I’ll head home and get ready. There’s usually something on most evenings of the week In Melbourne and I almost always plan something for the weekend. A night out will usually start with some pre-drinks at the courtyard in the back of the house, often with the neighbours. If we’re feeling wild then we might head to the local pub- its literally across the road and basically an extension of our house these days. I don’t go out like I used to pre-covid so these days we usually venture out to a bar, a house party or ideally for a chilled cocktail and dinner.
I’d like to say that I have more days off than I do working but that would definitely be a lie at the moment. Post-lockdown life has meant there’s a lot of work going since things have reopened and six day weeks are the norm. If I get a full day off, I like to make a day of it. Ideally, I’d head out of the city to the Ocean Road or the Yarra Valley however I’m also happy to just go off for a bike ride and see where the day takes me.