It was a cold week in the late fall of Melbourne. After summer went on for longer than it should have and the warm days didn’t seem to have an end in sight, I was almost surprised when out of nowhere the rain started and I was no longer able to leave the house with a jumper.
After 6 months of living back in my hometown, this is what drove me to get out. When the rain started, I wanted to be anywhere else. Ironically this lead me to a place with even more rain, but we’ll get to that later.
6 months really is the magic number. When I was originally travelling Europe, 6 months marked the point where I had really had enough – but I pushed through another 7 anyway. 6 months in Melbourne was enough to let me have fun, get into a comfortable routine, and realise that a comfortable routine gets incredibly boring after a short period of time. In the summer it was great, leaving the office when it was still beautifully warm, driving home as the sun sets, and spending a lot of the weekends outdoors. But heading into winter changes a lot – it’s pitch black by the time I leave the office, I’m driving home in the rain, and not a spot of sun hits my skin for weeks on end. Gross.
Unfortunately I don’t seem to have the balls I had when I first started travelling. I opted for the safe & comfortable route; Europe for the second time. I like Europe because it has so much culture packed into a small area, I feel physically safe here, transport between nearly anywhere can be had on the cheap, and wifi is everywhere which makes it easy for me to continue working. Central America was a great experience, but I spent 90% of my energy just trying to avoid getting robbed, ripped off, gringo-taxed, catching wrong buses, dodgy border crossings, dodgy currency conversions, and melting my phone with DEET. I did not find it comfortable, safe, or pleasant. Unlike Europe, where I feel I can settle into life and live like a local in basically any city I choose. So, here I am.
Landing back in London was a strange experience. Although I’ve not been here for 8 months, I had the typical Feels Like I Was Here Yesterday™ experience. Didn’t have to look at a tube map to figure out where I was going. Knew exactly where my hostel was. Knew exactly where to go for coffee. Knew exactly where I could get some work done. For all I know I didn’t leave at all. Of course the same could be said for Melbourne when I left for 13 months and nothing seemed to have changed (except I had Peninsula Link). It scares me a lot to think of life this way. When time passes and nothing seems to change, am I really moving forward? Am I really that different from the guy who’d never even left the country 2 years ago?
Who the hell knows. I don’t feel different, but people tell me I am different. I find it hard to reflect back on the past versions of me and try to understand that I didn’t always think the way I do now.
I guess that’s the whole point of writing these blog posts, innit?