I’ve left Melbourne for the sunny (nope, hang on, rainy) climes of New Zealand. I am sad, but also excited.
Travelling is full of goodbyes. Or rather, it’s full of ‘see you later’s – because really you never know when and where you might meet a brief acquaintance again. After my three weeks exploring New Zealand, for example, I’ll be heading over to Adelaide to see some friends that I first met on my very first backpacking trip, inter railing in Europe almost five years ago.
I have now dismantled my Melbourne life, left my job and my flat and my friends and my temporary stability, and packed everything into my trusty (read: falling apart) backpack once more, to head off to new and exciting adventures in New Zealand. So it’s time to say goodbye, see you later, once again.
I’m going to miss Melbourne. A lot. I’ll miss the many and varied ways to spend heaps of money, the food stalls and vintage fairs and second hand markets. I’ll miss the street musicians: the guy who plays percussion on recycled containers, the weirdly compelling (possibly homeless?) belly-dancing pensioner outside Degraves Street, and the guy who dresses as Darth Vader and rocks the bass. I’ll miss the dozens of cultural festivals every weekend – Turkish coffees and Greek pastries and French crepes. Sunny afternoons sunbathing in parks and at the beach, way too many espresso martinis, smoothie bowls and endless different types of coffee (what will I do without almond milk turmeric lattes?!?). I’ll miss the rooftop bars to be stumbled across, the trams trundling past my bedroom window, and falling asleep to all the noises of a city at night – drunken fights, terrible singing, and the outlandishly loud speakers from the donut shop across the street playing Shape of You on repeat.
I won’t miss the obnoxiously loud motorbikes roaring their way down the echo chamber of Flinders Street, but nowhere is perfect.
Melbourne is a place that makes you feel like you can be whoever you want, because there is something for everyone there. There is theatre and art and music, food and culture and nature, poetry nights and music festivals and street parties, sporting events and all-night light exhibitions. There are bars for day drinking and pop-up bars dedicated to the Aperol Spritz; there are bars where the office workers, swaddled in their suits, descend after work, and more bars for the hospitality crowd to go to after the suits have all gone home. Every laneway hides another secret, and I just haven’t had the time to discover them all yet, which sucks.
But Melbourne will still be there when I eventually return – and return I will. Even if it’s years down the line, when I’ve finally decided to stop messing around with this travelling lark and get a real job.
In true British fashion (and boy do I hate myself for it), I saw off my last night in Melbourne by seeing off far too much wine and other assorted alcoholic beverages (thanks for buying me drinks everyone), went out to the Casino until about 4 in the morning, and stumbled home to three-ish hours sleep and an early airport journey to look forward to.
I consider this type of behaviour very unlike me. Though evidence would suggest otherwise.
I would not recommend it, either. I have never been hungover on a flight before and it was an entirely unenjoyable experience.
Miraculously, though, I made it to New Zealand and through customs without arousing suspicion (I must have looked like death, I’m surprised I didn’t get hauled aside for questioning). I managed to buy a ticket and board another bus without mishap. Half an hour later, end in sight, I got off the bus (at the right stop, success!), walked the five minutes to the hostel, and was reunited with my best pal Caitlin, 12 000 miles away from where I last saw her.
Rhys, her boyfriend/designated carrier of extra stuff that won’t fit in her bag/final member of the group for this three week New Zealand adventure, would like to be exempt from appearing in this blog.
Expect him to be mentioned often, readers.
But anyway, it’s onwards and upwards from now (literally, into mountains and whatnot). Melbourne was a wicked place to spend three months: I could happily have stayed there longer (though had I stayed working in that bar I think I would have turned into a deep fried potato). I’ve made some amazing friends who I will try very hard to keep in touch with (though historically I am awful at that).
But for now, it’s goodbye to all the crew from the bar and all our terrible ongoing jokes and our (OK, my) obsession with spicy potato wedges. And it’s goodbye to Phea, my near-constant travel companion for the last six months and more.
At times I worry that I might not be able to cope without Phea making me sensible. She’s done a bloody amazing job of being the road trip car DJ, persuading me not to have cereal for dinner and noodles for breakfast every day, and making sure I don’t lose my passport/phone/hostel room key at any given moment. She’s put up with my shit for longer than anyone else has ever had to, for which I can’t thank her enough. Caitlin and Rhys, I hope you’re up for taking over this strenuous task.
(I have already managed to leave my phone in a hostel room and consequently miss a bus, three days into the trip – but that’s a story for another day.)
So here we go: three weeks, two islands, and several full days to be imminently spent on buses.
Can’t bloody wait.