Melbourne, The Existential Crisis, & Very Few Pictures

I wrote this post yesterday, but dodgy hostel internet connections have prevented me from actually posting it until now.

So I have finally arrived in Australia.  The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne was remarkably uneventful, it flew through the night so I tried to sleep as much as possible.  Seeing the sun rise across a curved horizon was pretty cool though.

Touching down in Melbourne at around 09:10, I made my way through security which was an absolute breeze.  AirAsia were kind enough to supply all passengers with the appropriate immigration forms (take note Hong Kong Express!) and I was amazed by the automated security checks.  I scanned my passport in a machine which gave me a ticket, I put the ticket in another machine that took my picture and compared it to the picture assigned to my passport, the machine then gave the ticket back which I handed to a single member of staff along with my immigration form and I was done (take note Hong Kong International).  Electronic passports are the way to go!

After purchasing a sim card for my phone I wandered outside into the glorious Melbourne sunshine to figure out how I should get to the hostel.  Turned out to be not very difficult, having booked 7 nights at the place I was entitled to a free shuttle bus service that took me straight there.

I spent most of that first day in the hostel resting, I would have liked some sleep but figured that would probably be a detriment to my already suffering sleep pattern so I stayed awake.  The only thing of significance I did do was to make contact with a friend of a friend of a friend (oh how the internet can work wonders!) who happens to have a spare sofa bed in an apartment, and after arranging to meet with him and view the apartment we have agreed that I will stay there for a month before I head off on further adventures, at a very reasonable rate I might add.  Having now persevered through two nights at the Base Melbourne hostel I am very much looking forward to having somewhere more peaceful to reside (and cheaper).

Sounds all hunky dory right?  Well at this point I shall cut to the chase and just say that currently, I’m not in the best of spirits.  This may hint at the post’s title, please allow me to elaborate.

The first day and night I spent in this hostel weren’t the most pleasant of experiences.  Having reached the hostel I quickly discovered that it’s very much a party hostel.  The place boasts its own bar, and is located in the midst of one of Melbourne’s most popular night spots, St Kilda.  I’m not the most active when it comes to “going out every night to get wicked crunk, yo”, so being surrounded by people mostly between the ages of 18 and 23 who do like to go out, get themselves drunk and make a lot of noise, I feel somewhat out of place.  It doesn’t help that I’m not great at introducing myself to, or conversing with people, especially the kinds of people that seem to be frequenting this hostel.  On top of this, the turnover of guests in this place is pretty rapid so I don’t really get a great deal of chance to get to know anyone slowly and quietly, the way I like to do things.

So, at the start of my adventure, I barely know anyone, and have no one to really talk to.  Then I realised that I have nothing to do.

The getting to know people and finding friends situation I’m sure will improve over time, but the last bit is the real killer of my mood.  Whilst planning this adventure of a lifetime it seemed like the possibilities were endless, I could do whatever I wanted, whenever and however I wanted.  Having now arrived in my future land of opportunity I discover that I’ve left every single shred of stability back at home, and now I have too many choices that just keep muddling themselves.

I had a job, I had a house.  I had a routine where I’d go to work, go home, relax for an evening, take part in some hobbies, then go to sleep and repeat.  At the time it seemed very drab and not something I wanted.  At this point in time I’d give quite a lot to have it back.

Having no plans is an odd thing to come to terms with, and I’m really scraping to form some sort of idea of what I should be doing, but with so many options I can’t help but find obstacles in the way.  Things such as, trying to find a suitable job in Melbourne; ultimately I’d like sponsorship (or so I’ve told myself) so I should look for a job I’d want to keep.  But if I get sponsored, I’d end up stuck in Melbourne without seeing the other cities I want to.  Or deciding how long to stay in each location; Some people seem to stay in each place for months, getting a job and an apartment before finally moving on.  I could see a city in a week if I wanted and then move on before getting restless, but then how will I be able to tell where I’d like to settle?  Argh, the conundrums!

It’s hard to explain in writing, and it’s probably just my brain overreacting to everything at the start but I seem to be under this weird pressure to do everything, all at once, which isn't possible.  I am now beginning to formulate some ideas of how I’m going to play things.  What I find disappointing about myself at the moment though, is that I’ve only been here three days, and already I can find more excuses to go home, than I can to stay.

Now before you go commenting about  how I should stick it out, it’s just a bit of homesickness, and that I’ll be fine in a few weeks.  I know.

I have a month of accommodation (maybe a bit more if required), so I’ll stick that bit out to see what it’s like having no job (unless I get a job) for a month.  During this time I should get a feel for how I’m going to do best at coping over time, which will give me a better idea on how to play the rest of this adventure.

I’m looking into the options of wwoofing (willing workers on organic farms), I’ll post about this in the future but you basically work on a farm in exchange for accommodation and food.  I do not want to stay in hostels any more than I have to, a few nights at most so I’m going to be trying to find house/flat shares.

Whatever happens, I’m going to do what makes me happy.  If that means I spend a week in each big city in Australia then come home after 2 months, so be it.  Chances are I’m just a smidge homesick at the minute, and once I get on my feet properly (I haven’t even been into the centre of Melbourne city yet!) I’ll be well away.

I genuinely miss my old life though.  I miss having a permanent roof over my head, I miss having a steady job, and most of all, I miss my friends and family.

Oh bollox, now there’s a tear in my eyes.  Let’s talk pictures shall we.  I haven’t taken any!

OK, that’s not entirely true, I’ve taken two since landing in Australia.

The first proper day I spent here (yesterday) I went for a walk.  I walked for over 20kms (13.8 miles according to a mappy thing I made), but I didn’t take the camera with me.  I wanted to spend time clearing my head a bit, and to be able to see things whilst wandering.  Having a camera with me puts me in a distinctly different mindset, one that I didn’t feel like having at the time.

In hindsight, I should have taken the camera with me.  The paths around Albert Park, and along St Kilda beach (towards Brighton.  Not that Brighton) offer some stunning views and some interesting things to shoot.  Whilst wandering, I made plans to wander the same two routes (park, and beach) on separate occasions to take pictures.  They haven’t really happened yet, for a few reasons.

Yesterday, I got sunburnt.  The sky was clear blue (I didn’t see a cloud all day), and the temperature was 22 degrees C.  It was like an English summer day and even in summer I don’t wear suncream in England.  I also don’t take 6 hour, 20km walks in England that have the sun on my back one way, and the sun on my front the other.  My face, neck, forearms and elbows are now pink and I currently fear the sun.  I also have a blister on one heel and another almost-blister on the other due to wearing the wrong socks for walking.

This afternoon I tried to take a walk (covered in high factor suncream), but got paranoid that my sunburn would get even worse so turned back.  Also, the direction I was walking in wasn’t as pleasant as Saturday’s.  This evening I walked to Albert Park again for sunset, having thought the view of Melbourne’s skyline over the lake would make a pleasing image with the sun almost setting (blue hour for you photographers out there).  It turns out that the image wasn’t great, but because you probably all want to see something, here it is.

The other picture I mentioned is of a signpost.  Albert Park is home to around 150 (I think that was the number I read) black swans.  they have signs warning drivers that they may be crossing the roads.

I’ll try to be more upbeat next post, and have some more pictures to show you.  Not sure when it’ll be though as I have really exciting things like opening bank accounts, acquiring tax file numbers, and getting a medicard sorted to do tomorrow.  And the forecast for the next two days is rain, and humidity so I will likely spend a lot of time in a melty pool on my bed.