If, unbeknownst to myself, you’ve blocked me on several social platforms or had my posts made invisible on your feed (I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, but hey, glad to have you back regardless) — you’ll have missed that I moved to Melbourne!
Indeed, I ventured out of a so-called “mini Melbourne” (at a colossal push, we’ll call it that), just to the make it to the land of Wellington’s far more cultural, fashionable and notably well-seasoned elder sibling. For the sake of dramatics, I’m tempted to say it was a long journey, but you and I both know the flight was just over 4 hours. And just like that, I had a new place to call home. I also had no home (if you wish to look at the more literal, slightly more concerning side to my circumstance — I myself tend to avoid it).
Fast forward 2 months down the track and I’m wandering streets as if I know them. No, seriously — I had to walk an extra 2 hours home the other day, after getting distracted on the phone to a friend (yes, Annie, you). I’d say I found myself who knows where — but I’m sure someone knows. That person just wasn’t (and still isn’t) me.
It’s two months in, and I now have a home. I have a place I like to walk right alongside it. I’ve deciphered (several) of the best coffee shops (though in such a competitive market, I’m yet to conclude where the best avo smash is served— stay tuned on @currentlylovingblog). I’ve updated my wardrobe numerous times (oops). I’ve met with new (and old) people. I’ve even boarded a tram for more than novelty purposes. I’ve been to the art gallery and to the beach and to the zoo.
But more important than ticking off tourist destinations: I have a supermarket that I can call my local. And this is not just exciting given that Coles makes buying home brand desirable (#notanad). This is one of the many things (it may come as a shock, but they’re actually not all food-related), which comprise what it is to feel settled. Not only do I feel at home, the feelings of home are actually beginning to materialise.
The experience of this has been predominantly positive, somewhat negative. This is unsurprising — after all, that’s what home is. It’s a congregation of life. Of every emotion and experience, state of being and story. All sealed with a maternal-like hug and a sense of security.
On that note, let me share with you the good and the bad of finding home, here in Melbourne city.
Let’s start with when I first landed.
The first two faces I recognised here were those of Shani Grimmond and Michael Finch, lifting their bags into an Uber at Melbourne Airport. Now, I’ve watched Shani’s videos for a long time (if you don’t know, they’re both beauty/lifestyle YouTubers). Naturally, then, this moment meant a lot to me.
It was a sign (or at least, I took it to signal) that firstly, this was the right place for me. Secondly, that things were destined to happen for me here. And thirdly, that real, cool people actually exist in Australia. I’m not saying that no one cool exists in New Zealand. But the scope here surpasses, say, former Sticky TV stars. Disclaimer: I genuinely love and grew up with these guys, so I mean no discredit to them at all.
P.S. If you want to see my latest VLOG (filmed on the same day these photos were taken) or follow my journey since moving to Melbourne, take a look below — and of course, subscribe if you like what I’m doing.
In a weird way, I felt like I could see potential for success right in front of me. This is not to say that Shani and Michael represented its epitome (though I had started vlogging that day so one could argue otherwise). More to the point, however, seeing two individuals I’d followed (and even, grown alongside) in my first few minutes in the city, certainly amped me for what Melbourne would serve over the next few months.
P.S. I have not since seen Kylie Minogue — but wow is her hype alive and well over here. It’s heart-warming to discover that Australia and New Zealand are quite alike in the way they hold onto (and honour until death) the celebrity they’ve produced.
Even more heart-warming than that, however; even more indicative of the true Australia-New Zealand bond, has been the warm welcome with which people here have greeted me. You often hear stories of loneliness and isolation when it comes to moving countries. Me being me, I was too distracted by the opportunity for change and excitement to really dwell too much on the potential for this. Two months in, however, and I can say with gladness that the possibility hasn’t yet come to any fruition.
I could attribute this to moving with my boyfriend, A.J. And yes, partly I do. When a journey like this is shared, the uphills seem far more manageable. The open roads are met with twice the content. But even with each other, we could still find ourselves lonely.
Both A.J. and I agree that the sense of comfort and the happiness which can be drawn from friendship and from a relationship are far from one in the same. By all means, that boy is my best friend. But for all the joy and good times he can give, I know as much as he does, that he can’t attempt to replace a girl friend for me. I can’t suffice as a mate for him. Friends bring to our lives far different things. We share with them differing experiences too. I would never, based on the strong friendships I’ve had thus far, underestimate the value of these to a wholesome and a well-lived life.
What’s more, I’ve always felt my most inspired, my most happy, and more specifically, my most happy to be me, when surrounded by lots of different people. This has added layers to the person I am. I’ve often too found motivation in who my friends are to me; in who I am and who I could be to them as well.
I’m getting caught up in the beauty of friendship here, but my point is, the same warmth these connections have brought me in the past, has not been lost in the journey from New Zealand to Australia. Since landing in Melbourne, I’ve been lucky to have people from all walks of life reach out to me.
To the degree of effort, I have been both shocked and absolutely touched. It’s come from people who I’ve known well in the past, from others I’ve known only slightly, all the way to those I’ve only recently met. I have been reminded of the humbling nature of people. Many are willing to open up their friendship groups like they are their life stories. I’ve enjoyed to hear about each and every one.
To all those who have opened your arms to me in some manner, it means more than you likely know. I can’t wait for someone else to move across to Melbourne, just so that I can extend a similar hand; a warm cup of coffee and my phone number attached.
I haven’t even touched on the effort made by my family and friends back home. I could be here ruffling my hair at Elwood Beach in awe of kindness and the good things in life, for hours yet.
I could also talk about the footpath and road rage that exists here in Melbourne for the same length of time. I must admit that I miss the kind Kiwi who would stop to let you pass; the apologies that occurred between two people as they fumbled over left or right, go or stop.
I find here that if someone’s coming towards me in the street and I’m in their way — hell, even if my bag slightly crosses over their line of direction — I have just two options. I better bloody move, or prepare myself for an unapologetic, sumo-style shoulder slap. I mean, sure, I wanted hustle and bustle. I don’t think I signed up for hit and bash.
But whatever, it keeps me humble.
People are just as bad if not worse behind the wheel. I used to believe Wellington drivers were prepared to flatten me like an ant for lack of co-operation. Melbourne drivers surpass even this. I hesitated before stopping to give way for a women entering the supermarket car park the other day — something I regarded previously, as an act of consideration.
Well, apparently, its not viewed so kindly here. I didn’t hear her, but what I believe she mouthed was “what the actual fuck”, and what I know she signalled was no other than the finger. This was all executed in front of (another women who I assumed to be) her mother, sitting emotionless in the passenger seat. All I’m saying is Instagram only shows the highlights, you know?
Aside from interactions with the fast and the furious, most other encounters (and non-encounters) with strangers have been remarkably uplifting. After all, a larger population tends to mean too, a larger population of likeminded people.
My favourite time of day is the morning, and yet, in the couple of places I’ve lived previously, my passion has been shared by few. To spot a passer enjoying the crisp air, watching the mesmerising lift of night to day, has been rare.
Then I visited Manly late last year, and as I woke for a morning run, I was absolutely taken by the company who joined me. Surfers scattered the sea line, waiting to ride towards the sun (it appeared brighter over in Manly). Volleyballers jumped with a vigour and a bounce beyond most people’s comprehension for 6am. There was life — an expressed, celebrated passion for it.
I was so inspired by the intent of residents to maximise their mornings before work. This was their time. This would be their day too.
I sought to know and to be surrounded by similar people every day. Imagine: no such thing as the mundane. No such thing as a normality we didn’t absolutely covet!
I have found these people in Melbourne. Most people will speak of crowds with distaste and displeasure. As for me, crowds are what I have sought. Packed bars and full streets. Fast-paced walks, a city that never sleeps.
I’m so glad that when I wake to run early in the morning, that I am now joined by runners and walkers and bikers; each of whom share the same degree of passion as I. It may be for the morning, for their sport, their hobby or their routine. It may well be for life.
And so I’ll say it again: there is an abundance of life here. I am so intrigued, so motivated by the routines, the choices, even, the allocations of time which comprise each one.
Far more than the road rage and the YouTubers, THAT has been finding home to me.
It’s been the Coles across the road, the people in it at 11pm AND the god damn passion with which we’ve ALL exuded to be there.
Stay passionate, everyone. It’s one of the best things you can be.
Photographed by Adrian Jackson