Category Archives: Melbourne

Walking

gertrudesSaddleCAFlag“It means something to walk with someone” – Dr. Aaron Bruce

The quote above comes from Dr. Aaron Bruce, speaker at the Lessons from Abroad conference I attended recently. And damn if it didn’t resonate with me. He spoke of what it means when you walk with someone. To walk with someone is to truly be with them, walking allows immersion in the world around, and connection with those you journey with or pass along the way.

Since coming home from the wonderful land of Oz, I’ve been contemplating the experience and putting all of the memories and lessons into some semblance of order. And I keep coming back to one central point.

You see, the beauty of living abroad, and being way out in an entirely new place, is that it frees you. When you are oceans away and know not a single soul, those little boxes you fit into, the labels you wear, the person you have contrived yourself to be, they all crumble away. Daunting to say the least. There is no choice but to express yourself in the truest ways you can, to be free from any preconceptions that shape others opinions of you. Way out with nothing but yourself, any constructed identities hold no water and are quickly discarded. Growth begins.

It can be likened to a potted plant. Life is good, life is safe in the pot. The boundaries are known and life is more or less assured. But growth restricted. And then the plant is moved from the pot to the earth. Boundaries removed, the plant thrives upon the open connection with the soil, expands its being beyond the boundaries of the pot that now seem so arbitrary and limiting. Roots entangle with a myriad of foreign plants, creatures and other things unknown. At first, such contact brings apprehension. But the plant begins to realize not all that is foreign bears malevolent intent. And the plant expands it’s roots seeking, encountering new and illuminating entities and stories all the while. Learning each new sun that by and large the land is populated with bright souls. Before long, the plant finds itself rooted not only to the soil, but intrinsically entangled with others, to the extent that where one ended and another began became rather obscure.

When you get way out, on your own, the walls crumble, the pot is removed and connection happens. These connections are some of the best you will make. Born of a mutual openness and desire to explore. Born by walking in foreign lands with souls previously unknown. The title of “Gone Walkabout” seems ever more prescient with such connections forged walking with others from all parts of the world. To walk with another, it means a mutual openness, an understanding, a willingness to explore, to be well and truly lost, to place faith and trust in a foreign soul.

I suppose this represents the closing of the first chapter of my experiences in the world. And there could be no more fitting title than “Gone Walkabout”, so I implore you to walk, to walk in a strange place with a strange soul. And with this, I begin to look towards the next chapter, a pair of tickets in hand.

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Eyes Open

The last solid memory I have is hugging my family at the airport and then the feeling of anxious excitement. What the hell I had just gotten myself into?

Everything from that point until now does not feel real. It was as if I got on the plane and have been have the most intense vivid dream. Down the rabbit hole as it were, all kinds of unique and amazing experiences with people who may or may not have been real, and now I can see the end of it. The Alice and Wonderland metaphor is strangely fitting, it is a wonderland, but in a strange and frightening way just as much as it is a in a beautiful way. I have made some incredible memories with some people I can truly call some of my best friends, people I know I will stay close with through life. That is if they are even real. This has not been what I expected, these are not the people I saw coming, but it has been and will be wonderful in my eyes. I’m the last one standing as it were, most everyone had left already, I can feel part of myself leaving with them. The person I am here fades bit by bit as they leave and the reality that my time here is measured in days and hours, not weeks and months sets in. I don’t know how this all happened. I don’t know how I was able to keep myself together and survive all the things I did. Have I been here for years or hours? I really don’t have a grasp on the time I’ve spent here. I’m not sure I care. LAX feels so long ago. I feel a local, I feel I live here, in Melbourne, at least in this alternate life I do. I’ve been here all my life, this is me, at least for now. 

One day baby we’ll be old, oh baby we’ll be old, think of all the stories that we could have told. 

As soon as I get home I’ll spend the next few days sleeping, I’m not even kidding. I really will. And then I’ll wake up back in the reality I have always known, and the person I am in this moment and have been for the last five months will begin to take a back seat, fading away back across the Pacific. It is simply inevitable. I’ll be out of wonderland. And I won’t ever be able to explain it to those who were not with me every step of the way. I want to share this all so badly, but I just won’t be able to convey it all. I have pictures and stories, but those are less substantial than smoke really. This wonderland I stumbled into and wandered through will stay with me and those who have been through it with me. 

 

I’m exhausted and worn down in a way that isn’t exactly physical and isn’t exactly mental either. Being abroad puts a different kind of wear on you, at some point you hit a wall. I’ve hit a wall. I’m tired.

But I am so happy and so blessed to have been here at all. As of a few hours ago I am done. Exams are over. Finally. I am at the Airport for my flight to Perth, then onto Singapore to meet my brother for a bit of adventure. Headed to Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Koh Phangan island in Thailand and then Bangkok before flying back to Melbourne for just a few hours, grabbing my bags and boarding the flight home to LAX. I can’t give the end of this experience the fully fleshed out post I would like to, my brain is a bit too worn out for that and I’ll need a bit of hindsight to understand what it has all been and what it all means to me. So I’ll likely have a final post on this semester in a few weeks when I’m home and rested. I will miss this dearly I know that much, and it will always stay with me. It doesn’t register that it is actually over yet. It probably won’t until I see the California coastline as the sun rises and my plane flys in on July 7.

My eyes are open today. In so many ways my view is wider, my gaze deeper, and my eyes see so much more. Today, and everyday I am blessed. That much I know.

And with that, the walkabout enters its final chapter. Somehow, someway I am still walking. Love you all.

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40

40 days till I’m home. My favorite number. It’s biblical, not too much or too little. My old football number. Troy Percival. Etc.

 

A huge part of study abroad is this idea of “change”, it’s part of my draw to it and same goes for most others. What rarely is mentioned is what kind of change this is. You’d think people would mention it in blogs and social media, but turns out it’s so hard to quantify or explain, so it just gets left out.

 

I’ll give it a shot.

 

It scares me. It scares me that I will never be the same person or have the same outlook as I did 4 months ago. I can’t go back, I can’t undo these experiences. Nothing really can be undone in life, but for some reason this carries a much greater magnitude.The difference is so much bigger than anticipated. Something highlighted for me during a recent conversation with my brother planning our upcoming trip to Singapore, Bangkok and other parts of Thailand. Travel doesn’t seem a big deal to me at all now. A six day hike in Tasmania? Spend four days on an island in Thailand living with a Muslim fishing village? Heck yes, how do I make this happen? Four months ago I would have passed and stuck closer to a comfort zone. It’s still a daunting undertaking for him, same as it was for myself a few months back. I just hope I can shift his outlook closer to where I am now as I feel that opening up my eyes to traveling the world in unique ways has been a major positive of this experience.

 

It’s also scary to see that some of the traits that got me here in the first place have regressed or gone entirely in some cases. These I can fix and recover, and have already begun to do so. Much wear & tear and breakdown is to be expected upon one’s first time abroad, living alone across the pacific for five months after all. What is truly daunting is to see how many flaws and issues I hold within me and. I had thought I was doing things pretty well. But going walkabout has exposed parts of me in bad shape.

 

But I am beyond grateful for being exposed like this. I needed it so badly. I needed something or someone to call me out, to challenge me to step up, to show me my fleas and destructive behaviors, my vices and weaknesses. I’ve gotten that here without a doubt. And it will make me a better human being for it all. 

 

It’s time to return to what got me here while at the same time rebuilding the parts of me that were simply covered up by some shoddy facades. The last week has been excellent, dinner at a delicious back alley Korean BBQ place and then at Taxi Dining Room, the nicest restaurant in Melbourne and all of Australia. That was a well spent $70, props to a friend for making that happen. A tour of Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open is played because I would be a terrible Holycross if I missed one of the great tennis sites in the world, bike tours around the city, experiencing Degraves St and all of the other lane ways and coffee shops of this city once more. It’s a fantastic part of study abroad to meet like minded and different minded people. They push you  I gotta say,I really have come to love being in this city and feel that it has become a part of me, I’m more hipster now (see the scruffy beard, long hair, beanie and fondness for coffee. And now it’s time to push the bar up higher, pick myself up and get to work in plenty of areas of my life. Learning mandarin anyone?

 

The final forty begins.

Edit: Tickets to Tasmania for the Great Overland track hike with some good friends, and tickets to Singapore and Kuala Lumpur purchased. Oh, and did I mention I’m meeting my brother in Singapore? Damn this is unreal, too blessed 

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Normal

There’s certainly a part of me that is ready to be home. I suppose that is partially due to the barrage of “school’s out #summer #beach” posts that are flooding my social media while I still have a week of class and then an absurdly long time before exams. Last day of class is May 31. First exam is June 17, then June 19 and finally June 25. Who designed this schedule? They need to be fired. Being home and done for summer would be welcome.

But don’t get me wrong, studying abroad is an exceptional experience. Realizing that it’s almost June already and that the semester is nearly done makes me question where all the time has gone, and how it has gone so quickly. And then looking back makes me realize just how much I have done and it begins to seem forever ago that I was taking off from LAX. I am genuinely a different person in many way, I can’t lay them out on paper per say, but they are there.

To put it simply, I have different levels of normal. Travelling to Southeast Asia for two weeks alone would have been something I saw beyond myself in January. And now, I’m in the midst of planning it and wonder why I ever thought I couldn’t do it. Nothing, or nobody, fits into simple categories anymore, the world I used to paint rather black and white seems varying shades of grey and yet so much clearer. 

I set out with an intention to live like a local not a tourist. And I feel I’ve managed to do this. I feel like a local student and resident of Melbourne as much as I could after only four months. I picked up a part time job working in a coffee shop north of the city and what could be more Melbourne than working in a coffee shop? I almost forgot that I’ve only been here four months and not most of my life the other day, seriously the strangest feeling to have to reality check yourself back to where you remember that you haven’t been here your whole life and are leaving soon. Realizing this brings relief, gratitude, and a bit of regret. It will be a relief to be home, to be back to somewhere with Mexican food, which I am desperately missing, In N Out, beaches, beautiful weather, family, friends, familiarity and all of those perks. Relief to be home where I can truly rest and do some serious maintenance on my body and mind after what has been and will be five months of … I don’t really have the right word for this. Gratitude that I have this opportunity at all, that I have been able to do it, that these experiences are mine and the change in me is real and for the better, gratitude for the the hard lessons I have learned as well, gratitude that after such an unreal five months, going home still excites me because it is that good, because my family is that loving and my life at home is simply blessed. Gratitude that I get to do this all again, in a different country, continent, and hemisphere in less than a year. The small bit of regret that I simply do not have the time, money, and resources to see, hear, smell, taste and experience everything available to me here. I could have spent the entire five months in Melbourne CBD alone, not even the surrounding areas and not seen it all. Throw in the constant festivals and events, the surrounding areas, neighborhoods and districts, the rest of Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia and well, many years and many dollars would be needed.

A few things I’ve picked up along the way:

1) Coffee is your best friend. Standard for most college kids, but doubly so while abroad and triply so in a city renowned for it’s coffee culture.

2) Fluctuations, be ready for them, some days you’ll want to do anything and everything and some days you simply want nothing more than to sleep and do nothing.

3) Take easy classes. I made the mistake of taking hard courses and can say that I will be taking easier ones next time around. Easier classes mean less stress, more time to explore and experience. Also, try and get courses that have essay finals or something due at the end of classes, not some that have final exams a full two weeks after class ends. Also, the academic structure will be different so expect to hit a learning curve at first.

4) Make a big list of things to do, and start crossing them off. 

5) $10 rule. While traveling, if something will significantly improve your welfare and experience and is about $10, do it, get it whatever. Not paying a premium at the airport for a sandwich because you’re trying to save money will make your flight and subsequently destination miserable because your hungry and tired. Get the sandwich. (got this one here http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/lessons-learned-from-11-years-of-travel/)

 

I’ve done some seriously cool thing the last month, including seeing Afrika Bambaataa live over in Fitzroy, going to see 2001: A Space Odyssey in the 1930s vintage Astor Theatre in St. Kilda, heading down to Brighton Beach, brewing out own cider that turned out damn good among other things. Now it’s on to the final stretch, planning out the last trips I’ll get to take, preparing for exams and doing my best to make the most of this before returning the land of sunshine, beautiful girls, In N Out and Mexican food. 

 

Oh…and it looks like the world’s greatest brother is heading out to meet me in Singapore and Thailand in a month. Damn this is gonna be awesome.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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Boundaries & Bubbles

The point where what should be extraordinary begins to seem normal is a strange situation to find yourself in.

I found myself walking through the Chinatown district of a city halfway across the world. I found myself walking with ease, a certain comfort and poise that would have been unthinkable six weeks ago. Six weeks ago I can distinctly recall attempting to walk down Little Bourke St attempting to find some cheap, scrumptious Asian fare and being quite overwhelmed. Bright neon signs, flashing my retinas with multiple Asian languages, my nose barraged by scents & spices and my ears assailed by a cacophony of languages. Try Shanghai St Dumpling, Ghin Khao, Noodle Kingdom, walk down a side alley for some place called New Kum Den, try our curry, we have the best sushi, freshest fish, spiciest dishes, on and on with the constant siege of the senses. Sensory overload.

The other night, same place, same time on a busy Saturday night in this lively city of Melbourne. Walking down Chinatown in search of some tom yum, pad thai, fried rice or whatever else caught my fancy; except this time I was able to savour all of it, less barrage and more indulgence of the senses. Despite this something nagged at me just a little. A little bug, an itch and a tingle tipping me off. I needed to explore more, push boundaries again. It was still an awesome experience, but this time I felt entirely comfortable. And for some reason this struck me in a not entirely positive light. I don’t think about which way to look crossing the streets (I know, it sounds silly but you’d be amazed how hard of a habit it is to break when you grew up with look left then right and it’s switched on you), I don’t ever need to pull out my phone for directions, it’s all become pretty natural now.

“Natural and comfortable” in a foreign city brings with it positives and negatives. It’s kick ass to be able to know exactly where you are, being comfortable and confident allows you to enjoy the city in many ways. You know some little tricks and shortcuts, you know that you have certain favorite places and sections of the city. It also makes you complacent. Comfortable means that the brand new sheen and excitement aren’t there anymore. Comfortable makes it easy to fall into a bubble, to begin to hit a simple routine and roll through days without the sense of adventure that was a constant during the first months of this adventure. It makes you return to the same few haunts over and over. You stop expanding and growing. Bubble. Not to say establishing certain favourites is bad, just that when surrounded by such a vibrant city it would be a shame to box oneself in. I’ve spent the better part of two weeks mostly within the four block radius of my apartment and the university. Sure, it’s nice to keep a low profile for a while, but I’m not here to be comfortable. Living abroad is not about falling into a routine. It’s about constantly being on your toes and ceaselessly pushing boundaries in some way. So though there is much to be said for some routine and some rest and recharging, it is vitally important to remember why you are abroad in the first place and to take advantage of it to the fullest.

A few more tips for any of those reading this and planning on going abroad in the future:

  • Make a budget, even if you blow it out of the water, and you probably will, it’s a much better peace of mind knowing where your money is going and how you can save as opposed to checking your bank account and seeing decidedly smaller figures than you did a week ago
  • Remember who you are, why you came and stick to these things. Growth is good, change can also be negative and it’s important to recognize the difference
  • There’s a huge difference between dead horse (what they call tomato sauce) and Heinz ketchup. And yes, it is a big deal. I want ketchup, not tomato sauce with my eggs

I would hope that this little adventure bug sticks with me even after I return home. Looking back now, it is easy to see how much I allowed myself to stay inside the box. I fully intend to change this mindset upon returning and believe that this is an excellent lesson to apply anywhere. It doesn’t matter where we are in the world, our hometowns may seem dull and we may feel we have seen it all, but there are always boundaries to expand, new things to try, and bubbles to be burst.

 

Still Walking,

Rug

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Learning Curves

Each and every day is another change in the tides. Some days the energy bursts forth from me, some days I run as a beat up old pick up, all stutter stop and stall outs. It’s all so incredibly volatile, it becomes hard to do much beyond keep moving, keep adapting, learning, and growing.

Such is life I suppose. It’s a reality that all begin to face one day and many quickly come to loathe and dread. As for me, I’ve just begun. Just begun to find my feet in the world, just begun learning how to keep those not so little necessities of life from dropping rainclouds on my big ideas and grandiose plans, hell it’s hard enough from keeping them from raining on my everyday joys. It’s not easy learning to manage your own life for the first time. Any who say otherwise are simply puffing their chests. Add in the small factor of doing it in a foreign country and you end up with a real steep learning curve.

I guess as I’m going about writing this I’m still struggling with so many moving pieces in my head that it becomes so hard not to let them all fall to the ground. Times like these can oft lead me dangerously close to places I’ve been before and never want to be again. It’s hard to fight yourself because you’re not even aware that you’re doing it. You can’t say oh well my enemy will likely make this move or that play; you know exactly what you’ll do, except you really don’t.

I dunno, at this point I’m just chucking words and thoughts out on paper to give myself some sort of release or seeking some inspiration. I’ve hit the point where I’m beginning to feel the wear and fatigue of the last two months. The little boy inside me would love nothing more than to run home to mom and hide in her arms. Hell, part of the 20 year old me feels the same way. I guess when you’re blessed with such a loving family that it makes it pretty hard to be away. It also makes it so much easier. Knowing that you have such amazing support at all times and in all conditions makes it easier to pick yourself up a little bit. 

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So the previous paragraphs were written a few days ago. I’d just gotten back from a whirlwind 12 day semester break that saw me travel to Sydney, Newcastle, and the entire South Island of New Zealand. I reckon it’s worth recounting some of that trip as it was one hell of a trip. I’ll put that in a separate post. The result of that trip and the preceding two months was a burned out and worn down self, something reflected in my previous writing. Since then I’ve picked myself back up and have gotten rest and nutrition to revitalize.

“Do what you gotta do, just don’t stay still, otherwise life moves on without you.”

A little bit of sage advice from an older brother who knows a hell of a lot more than anyone gives him credit for, including himself, and probably me. It’s a small bit of advice that seems to make so much sense out here in this extraordinary world that I’ve found myself in. It’s so simplistic and blunt, yet so effective; certain things have to be taken care of in order to keep the wheels spinning and the engine humming.

It’s a steep learning curve as I said before, and I do believe I’m beginning to reach the top of it so I reckon I’ll leave some things I’ve learned for anyone else who goes abroad,

Lesson #1: Everything is more expensive than you think.

Lesson #2: Nothing will go smoothly, and that is what will make it all memorable

Lesson #3: Every tough experience is making you that much better. Appreciate it.

Lesson #4: You can and will adapt and thrive in any given situation. Just relax, breathe, and keep pushing forward.

Lesson #5: Do what keeps you healthy and happy, don’t get caught up in negative spirals.

Hopefully someone reading this is able to get some guidance and help from these.

Since dealing with a major identity change and depression brought about by post concussion symptoms I’ve taken a vested interest in my brain and how to enhance the brain in general. The latest result of this, following nutrition and proper supplements for my brain, is a foray into lucid dreaming. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s when you become aware that you are dreaming within a dream and proceed to control the dream. This allows you to do essentially anything you want. More importantly, It has been used in the past by Greeks and Romans to allow them to build “memory libraries”. Huge libraries of memories and information within your mind that allow for greatly increased memory and retention. Another result of lucid dreaming is a much sharper sense of the world around you. All of it intrigues and excites me. We’ll see how it goes for me. 

Another note, I may not end up doing all of next year at City University in London and delaying my departure for there until Spring. This being due to a couple of factors. Financially, I doubt I’ll have a whole lot of funds left when I return home and 2 months isn’t enough time to earn sufficient funds really. Academically, I’ve found that though I am adapting to the different style of learning out here, I do greatly prefer the education at Chapman and want to take full advantage of that. Also, another semester at Chapman would allow me to take 18 units and get even more ahead in my program, therefore allowing me to take tea and crumpet tasting in London and having more free time to travel and less stress. It will also be good for me to have more time at home to properly rest and prepare to go abroad again as it is a pretty big endeavor  I’d also like to potentially do an international internship in Summer 2014, possibly in Hong Kong, but that’s a whole other process and decision to consider.

Regardless, there’s nothing I can say except that I am unbelievably blessed to even be here and have begun to rediscover the excitement that I had prior to hitting a wall last week. Excited for what the future holds.

 

Still walking.

 

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Questions, Conversations, and Cliffs

At about my age it’s pretty common to get the question “What do you want to do with your life?” Most of us don’t really have an answer, most people don’t know for the majority of their life. When people pose this question to me I’m not really sure how to answer. It’s not that I don’t have a direction, I think I’ve got that decently figured, it’s an issue of explanation. See, when people talk about traveling they tend to talk about seeing the world, that’s awesome and all, but I want to meet the world. I want to know as much of it as I possibly can, because you can’t change the world without knowing it first. And I may come to find that the world has no need of my somewhat grandiose plans and expectations of myself, and I’d be perfectly happy to find that to be true, but it sure seems unlikely. So for now, I’ll continue on meeting the world and getting to know it as best I can, I know that I’ll never be able to understand or meet all of it, but that’s not what’s important really. What’s important is that I better myself as a person, and better the world as a place to live, to learn, and to thrive in for those that come after me. I’ve been given so much in life already that it’s important for me to return the favor.

I’ve been down under a month now, and I can actually say my feet have hit the ground now. And that’s certainly a good thing as freefall gets pretty exhausting. Besides, you can’t get to know the nooks and crannies of the world from way up high, you need your feet for that. I’ve had some moments of genuine inspiration in the last week or so regarding different aspects of life. It’s incredible how much more you begin to appreciate what you have back home while your abroad. I’ve always loved my family and they’ve always been one of the most important things in my life but being out here makes me realize just how blessed I am to have such a family. There’s an idea brewing in my head regarding what I may want to do to make an impact that I think is incredible, though I am biased, but we’ll see where that goes later. It didn’t really hit me until about a week ago that my first experience living alone and taking care of all aspects of my life was actually happening across the world in a foreign country. Pretty damn cool if you ask me, and something that I really feel is invaluable life experience. It hasn’t been all sunshine though, both literally and figuratively. It’s nice to have it cool down so I can sleep without sweating. Coming to realize that some of my old habits still resurface, being somewhat too quick to judge, regarding my classes and other things out here, and I’m glad that this is bringing all those fixable things to light. That’s a big reason I’m out here after all.

Though I say I’m settling in, I can’t say I’m not still throwing myself off cliffs, figuratively of course. I’ve tried eel, octopus, and prawns among other things. Went to a footy match, to Moomba Festival, saw a bagpipe band in Flagstaff Gardens, and went to bars down back alleys themed as insane asylums with drinks served in syringes. I had a talk with a self professed philosopher from Sri Lanka in the park the other day, certainly interesting. When I titled this blog Gone Walkabout I didn’t realize how relevant the title would be. I average about 5 miles a day walking out here, either around the city or out on Philip Island during a storm this last weekend when we went camping and saw the penguin parade and the Nobbies (look it up). I’ve done more dancing at places like Club Retro (80’s & 90’s music) and Future Music Festival than ever before, and I’m probably still terrible at it.

As the first month ends, the next looks to take on a different structure, more school oriented during the week and travel oriented on the weekend. Semester break is already next week and there’s only 9 weeks of class left before finals in June. Hoping mine are early in the month so I can take off and travel up to Bali, Malaysia, Bangkok, Singapore and whatever I have time and money for. Heading out on a camping trip and going kayaking, bushwalking and rock climbing this weekend. Myself and a buddy are heading to Sydney for 4 days and then road tripping the South Island of New Zealand over break so definitely looking forward to that.

As always, more grateful than I can say to my family and friends and those who’ve given me so much. Love you guys.

Still Walking,

Rug

Fireworks over the city at Moomba Festival

Fireworks over the city at Moomba Festival

Octopus at Queen Victoria Night Market

Octopus at Queen Victoria Night Market

Footy match - NAB Cup Final between Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues

Footy match – NAB Cup Final between Brisbane Lions and Carlton Blues

Nobbies

Nobbies

Nobbies again

Nobbies again

The ends of the Earth

The ends of the Earth

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Breathe

I swear sometimes I fabricate reasons to get wound up and stressed.

I’m sitting in a beautiful park in the middle of a vibrant city as the sun sets. And my dumb ass was creating reasons to freak out and decide that this whole thing sucked not even an hour ago. Joke’s on me, by me. It likely comes down to being a bit tired and worn after over two weeks of going non stop…it’s only been 16 days…it feels like a year. That along with classes starting up this past Monday; which is both good and bad. I love to learn and to think, but all I want to do now is travel, explore and thrive. My subjects seem interesting and engaging, though I don’t initially like the large lecture hall classes and the feeling that I could simply not show up and no one would know the difference. It’s just too tempting here, and I know the classes won’t be easy, or maybe I’m just stressing too much about them.

It’s strange, I’ve always been a homebody, and certainly still am, but since being here if I’m not constantly doing something new, walking about, exploring, going to see Blink 182 (okay we sat on a hill behind the venue, but we heard it perfect and it was pretty damn cool) with the city in the background, going out to Brunswick for a warehouse sale, to Fitzroy for a rooftop bar with amazing views of the skyline, walking down to Southbank past Fed Square and Flinders St. Station and into Queen Victoria Gardens and along the Yarra I get ancy. I feel like I’m missing opportunities.

Went for a wander through the city to calm myself and ended up at a Catholic Church of all places. It’s a beautiful one and I plan on making it to mass there as it’s not all that far from where I live. Just wandering in brought me a great sense of calm and familiarity.

There’s just so many places to explore in this city it’s gonna take all the time I’ve got. Despite the CBD (downtown) area being so engaging, the suburbs are certainly full of more personality and hold a fonder place in heart. Fitzroy looks straight out of the turn of the century ans has about as high of a hipster level as you will find anywhere (in a good way) it also has some great eats and delicious noodle places. Brunswick is similar architecturally but much tamer and classically suburban. Down in St. Kilda and Elwood has been my favorite so far. It’s a beautiful beach town complete with an old amusement park. It’s also got some beautifully clear water and sand. The best part of everything is that it’s not more than 30 min by tram from one to the other. I’ve been to the Melbourne Museum as well which certainly is going to require multiple more visits. The street music and art is unbelievably good here, actually bought a CD from one of the bands during White Night called Pludo who are very good.

During orientation we were fortunate enough to have Pete Wheeler, founder of The Lonely Planet travel writing company come and speak to us about his travels. And he’s got some hell of a travel log. I wouldn’t mind doing travel writing for a few years or so if I could. Gotta be thankful for the people I’m out here with, having good friends always makes life easier and this is true a hundredfold when you’re across the world.

Who knows what the next few weeks hold, Future Music Festival on Sunday, applied for a spot at TEDx Sydney in the Sydney Opera House to see Bill Gates speak. New Zealand trip is being planned for semester break, possibly a roadtrip down the Great Ocean Road with some swedes we met up in Cairns the other week. Definitely looking to get into the sports scene here as well as Footy is starting up now.

Read a fellow student abroad’s blog about life in London and now I’m already stoked for that next year. Getting ahead of myself, I know. But like my fellow blogger, I also had a moment today where I was literally walking though the city and started laughing I was so euphoric. It’s just that incredible to have this experience. If you have the opportunity to study abroad please do, or at least travel and experience this.

Unbelievably grateful as always to everyone who’s helped me make this happen, especially my family. Love you guys. Still not sharkbait.

The walkabout rolls on.

Tapestry at the Melbourne Museuem

Tapestry at the Melbourne Museuem

Blink-182 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Blink-182 at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Warehouse Sale in Brunswick

Warehouse Sale in Brunswick

View from rooftop bar in Fitzroy

View from rooftop bar in Fitzroy

Campus

Campus

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South Lawn on campus

South Lawn on campus

Old Quad

Old Quad

More Campus

More Campus

The Spot building where I have most of my courses

The Spot building where I have most of my courses

Saint Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church

Saint Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church

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Freefall

It’s like skydiving. Except it doesn’t seem to stop. You just decide that it’s a good idea to throw yourself out of a perfectly safe airplane. You really do have good, logical reasons why it’s a good idea, how it’s a bucket list thing, or how your overcoming fears. You have a logical basis for why it will be perfectly safe. But really, your not doing it for those reasons, you want it to be dangerous, you want to feel that panic, you need to feel it. If you don’t, you stagnate. And when your still seeking yourself you sure as hell won’t find it where your complacent.

The first few seconds of a skydive your brain can’t handle the tumbling of the earth around you, the illogic of throwing yourself out of a plane at 14,000 feet and plummeting at 120 mph. It just shuts down, says f*** it and enjoys the ride. The first week or so of being across the world from everything you know is like that. Except when your abroad, it never seems to end. There really is no way to process it, you just keep your feet moving and live on that adrenaline rush. You wake up everyday and still aren’t sure in the least what your really doing, or why you had this desire to chuck yourself out of the things you knew, things that were good for you, safe and healthy for you.

It’s such a strange thing, because literally as soon as you get on that airplane you immediately feel a different person. You would expect to be one on return, but to have it take shape while there is still an ocean to cross is unexpected. And the next day, you wake up across the world in lands unknown to you. the feeling grows stronger, but your still tumbling and disoriented. And the next day, you find yourself petting kangaroos, koalas, watching gargantuan crocs, and playing the digeridoo. Your still constantly in motion, feet skimming above the ground, and you can’t help but feel euphoric. And then you hit freefall, and before you know it, you scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, went skydiving, met some incredible people, heard their stories, flown across Oz, gotten dropped on a doorstep and somehow not only survived, but loved every single second of it. And had a few ridiculous adventures along the way.

I didn’t think you could cram so much stuff into a single week. And on top of all that, the nightlife is just as fun. I’d feel as if I was doing myself a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity. I feel as if I have been here for months…it’s been a week and a day. If you designed a city to be as good as possible you’d end up with Melbourne. The architecture is so varied, but all of it beautiful. The food is cosmopolitan and always delicious. The air is clean and crisp, the weather beautiful, and most importantly the people are quite simply enjoying their lives. I have not seen a single stressed out person on the street. I’ve seen a good bit of the city, and every part seems to one up the last. It’s unbelievable.

I still can’t process this, and I don’t have words to make you understand what this is, which is such a shame because I want so badly for others to understand, to have this experience and feeling. I can see why they say it’s tough to go back, why one of the people out here for a year said that all of his friends who went home after the first semester are dealing with depression and other issues. It’s such a beautiful world out there that it would be a shame to confine yourself to s single corner of it.

White Night Festival

White Night Festival

Sunset from my Apartment

Sunset from my Apartment

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7000 miles away

I’ve finally landed in Cairns after a 14 hour flight to Brisbane, then a two hour layover/run thru customs and then a 2 hour flight up north to Cairns. It’s been awesome so far, met plenty of cool people, everyone’s been real friendly and helpful. Still all very surreal at this point. Watching the sun rise behind us as we flew across the pacific was pretty amazing.

Currently sitting in my hostel that I checked into about a half an hour ago. It’s pretty damn sweet here. It’s called Gilligan’s. Didn’t have a chance to update while in Brisbane due to running from gate to gate. I’m off to the first couple of orientation meetings in a few minutes here. I have a feeling my feet won’t hit the ground for a few weeks here, between being busy and just being overwhelmed by how incredible this is. I’ve seen so little of it all but every second has been unreal. I’ll do my best to update when I can this week, but I really don’t know how much free time I’ll have while here.

Looks like the Walkabout is off on the right foot.

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