Melbourne has been voted “the most livable city” in the world three times in a row by multiple sources.
Let’s come back to that fact later. I arrived in Melbourne last week. Without going into detail, let’s just say I had a series of unfortunate events unfold- one after another after another. Unlike New Zealand, I basically left on a whim – bought my one-way ticket, didn’t know a soul, and thought I’d figure everything out when I arrived.
Like most travelers, right? Because tons of people buy their flights the week or day of, and just show up and hope for the best?
Well, I’m here to say, “Eff that, I don’t operate that way.” I never have, and probably never will, especially after this experience. A bigger country, bigger city, bigger opportunities to get lost. I basically upgraded to a city that was practically the entire population (3.6 mill) of the whole country of New Zealand.
So where did I go wrong? How, why and when did I reach a breaking point when I was living in “the most liveable city in the world?”
Quite frankly, I almost gave up. I almost threw my hands in the air (like I just din’ care) and yelled, “IDGAF, I’m done with this.” ALMOST. And my God, I have never come so close to ever giving anything up so quickly (less than a week) in my life – it was that bad.
This has nothing to do with Melbourne itself – I f*cking love Melbourne. Excuse the profanity, but it needs to be emphasized. This city is love. This city is amazing. If you haven’t visited Melbourne at least ONCE in your life, you need to get yourself out here eventually. It’s that incredible.
This is ALL ME. My hardships have nothing to do with Melbourne or Australia in general. My battle. My mental and emotional states, my willpower, my needs and goals. I’ve been bouncing around cities, islands, and countries for about two months now, no steady income, and it really wore me down. There was no end goal to keep me going. I wasn’t that happy anymore – sure, I was seeing new places, but I was ridden with anxiety over various things. My life, as described by a best friend, seemed like “a whirlwind,” to say the least. Heck, I didn’t even know what I was doing or why I was moving so quickly – perhaps too quickly?
Because I lost my social network in Wellington when I upped and moved (granted, it was very small – but amazing), I was faced with the realization that I was on my own this time – I didn’t know a single soul in Melbourne. Couldn’t call anyone, couldn’t reach out to anyone familiar here – I felt alone for the first time in seven months.
Sidenote: There are, of course, plenty of ways to meet people when traveling – of course I know that. Hostels, bars, going up to strangers and chatting, you name it. But quite frankly, I’m not a fan of any of those options – especially not when I just need alone time. As an introvert, it’s my clear-cut nature to stick to myself and toughen it out on my own.
I stressed. I could barely sleep. I played out scenarios in my head. My Type A personality was going haywire, trying to process all of this and understand whether or not I should even be abroad.
I even wrote myself a note on my phone and would periodically check it when I was feeling pangs of anxiety fill up my chest. It read: “Think before you act. Is this really what you want?”
Australia is a beast of a country – it’s huge. And yes, when you’re on your own, no job, no friends, no family, no schedule – it can be gratifying, but also incredibly scary. If you think too much, you OVERthink and can make hasty decisions that aren’t always for the best.
If you had the chance to live in Australia for a year, would you seize the opportunity or let it go to waste? Would you fight your fears and power through or give in to a comfort zone again?
After far too much deliberation, I closed my eyes and hoped and prayed that this opportunity, while far more challenging than expected, would also provide me with some of the best experiences I may ever have in my lifetime.
So here I am – still in Melbourne. Embracing and challenging the unknown because this is EXACTLY why I left California in the first place. Surrounded by some of the best food, culture, art, music, creativity, festivals, and social scenes. And yes, I’m still in love with this place – just as I fell in love with it back in April for the first time.
These hardships – these inherent “failures and misfortunes” – they’re all for the best, as much as I think they’re here to ruin me. And I can hear a million voices in my head, especially those of close friends, who are rolling their eyes and reassuring me that this wasn’t a failure – it was a learning lesson to shape me. If this was my goddamn rock-bottom point in seven months of travel, I can only hope the rest looks up from hereon out.
I’ve figured out time and time again, no matter how hard I push myself, I’m not meant to be a damn “global nomad.” But I am persistent, perseverant and optimistic. I applied for this visa, I wanted this, so now I’m here to allow everything to fall in place. And when I’m done gallivanting around on my “working holidays,” I have a freakin’ luxurious place in mind to go next, with the one thing I love more than anything else in the world.
Good things come to those who wait, and I’m positive that Melbourne has more in store for me – and the rest of Australia is glimmering to me like a beam of light at the end of the tunnel.
Cheers to you, Australia – you magnificent thing of a country, you.