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Notes on 4 Years of Living in Melbourne

I moved from my hometown, Brisbane, to Melbourne in 2015. I left nearly a year ago, to try my luck in New York City, but still love Melbourne and hope to live there again some day. In four years, I made amazing friends, started my career in marketing & PR for bars and restaurants, saw beautiful parts of southern Australia and was generally absorbed by the city’s vibrant cultural life. It wasn’t always easy (especially in the first year), but it was absolutely worth it.

luna park st kilda melbourne

Year 1: 2015

I moved out of home, moved interstate and moved in with my boyfriend in one go, when I moved from Brisbane to Melbourne. It felt like there was a lot going on at once but I’ve never regretted it. I missed my family and was often disappointed to miss out on things at home while I was living interstate, but moving to a new city has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. As I’ve said before, there are a lot of differences between travelling and moving!

My uncles Matt & Thomas took me under their wing from day one, and I’m so glad that I got to spend so much time with them while I lived in Melbourne. We’ve had so much fun together over the last four years, from Matt taking me for breakfast bubbles on my 23rd birthday (my first year in Melbourne), to being Thomas’ date to many of Matt’s wonderful concerts, ballets and operas, Matt’s memorable birthday dinner at Las Tapas and the countless, spectacularly joyful dinner parties that they hosted on a regular basis.

The most difficult part of this year was making friends, which is challenging in any new city, but particularly difficult as I was working from home, in the same job that I had in Brisbane. Luckily, one of the first friends I made in Melbourne, Liv, ended up becoming one of my best friends.

I experienced four seasons for the first time, and especially loved the beauty of autumn and spring. Brisbane has a beautiful and sunny subtropical climate, but there’s not much seasonal variation year-round – it’s mild, hot, or stinking hot. I struggled to acclimatize to a real winter, but autumnal foliage and soft spring blooms more than made up for it. By struggled, I mean I donned this fur-lined parka & shivered uncontrollably when it dropped below 18 degrees (64 F), to the bemusement of my new friends, especially the ones hailing from Minnesota.

carlton gardens melbourne autumnMelbourne has dozens of beautiful public gardens, and we made the most of the mild weather and lovely public space by having lots of picnics. We lived near the Royal Botanic Gardens, the largest gardens in the city, and found it a great, easy way to de-stress.

melbourne botanic gardensPicnic in Fitzroy Gardens Melbourne

One of my favourite pastimes in Melbourne became visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, which is the premier art museum in Australia. It’s free, and I lived nearby when I first moved to Melbourne, so I spent a lot of time here. I also took French lessons, for a couple of terms, which was a great way to brush up.

Chair Free Exhibition NGV Melbourne

I’d visited Melbourne before, but before the move I’d never travelled to any other part of Victoria. One of the best parts about moving is having ample time to explore regional areas that you probably wouldn’t visit if you were travelling from interstate or overseas. I loved visiting the Mornington Peninsula and the Goldfields in Victoria, and spent a weekend in Hobart, which was my first Trip to Tasmania.

I also took my first trip to the USA this year, and spent 8 weeks in New York City – which started me dreaming of one day living in New York…

Dromana, Mornington Peninsula

Year 2: 2016

I finally found a job in an office in 2016. This doesn’t sound exciting, but after a year spent working from home in a small Apartment, with no colleagues to talk to and a boyfriend who was at work for 100 hours a week, it was so nice to finally have a place to go and people to talk to every day. This was my first job in the hospitality industry, which started what I hope will be a lifelong career in restaurants. I made some of my best friends through this job, and learned so much – I still feel very lucky to have had this job! I started as a digital marketing coordinator, and six months later was promoted to divisional marketing manager, which was overwhelming at first but absolutely where I wanted to be.

I finally visited the Yarra Valley for the first time, which would become the first of many day trips to the wine region. My friend Liv and I started what would become an annual day trip to the Goldfields for Heathcote on Show, an annual wine festival on the Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend in June.

Genevieve Hobart

I visited Dromana with my Dad, and Bendigo with my Mum, and took another trip to Hobart with David. We also spent a weekend in the Dandenongs, at a lovely loft AirB&B in the mountains, and spent a week in Tokyo.

Rose at Dominique Portet Yarra ValleyWine tasting at Tarra Warra Estate Yarra Valley

2016 was a lot less tumultuous, a lot more settled and a lot more fun! I spent a lot of time with new friends and started to feel more at home in Melbourne. Funnily enough, whenever I visited Brisbane, I still fell like I’d never left.

The annual easter feast at Matt & Thomas’ house

Year 3: 2017

We finally moved out of our cookie-cutter high rise apartment in a dense, touristy Southbank, and found a lovely apartment in an inner city neighbourhood with more character. This apartment really felt like home, and we lived here for the rest of the time we were in Melbourne. It had a proper kitchen, which I have loved spending afternoons and evenings in, floor-to-ceiling window looks straight into a lovely leafy tree which brings the outdoors in and was cosy enough that we rarely needed to use the heater. Our street is super quiet, so we don’t have the constant noise – or pollution – of the enormous transport trucks and fire trucks careening past every day, like we did when we lived in Southbank. I was very sad to leave this lovely street and peaceful apartment behind! I love our apartment (probably more), but my heart still aches when I think about that lovely leafy street.

In our new home

I get attached to pretty much anything if I’m left with it long enough, and I really expected to feel something when I left our first apartment in Southbank. I didn’t miss it once.

port campbell national park great ocean road victoria australia
The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

I didn’t travel overseas in 2017, which was unusual and I regretted it a little bit, but I had plenty of fun visiting the legendary Great Ocean Road for the first time, meeting my oldest friend in Sydney for a girls weekend, and an amazing long weekend in the Grampians with my friends Liv & Marlo. And no doubt, several day trips to wineries in the Yarra Valley and the Mornington Peninsula.

Bondi Beach

Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel SydneyBondi Sydney

MacKenzie Falls The Grampians Victoria Australia
The Grampians

Year 4: 2018

2018 was the year that felt like everything in my life in Melbourne finally clicked into place. I felt truly grateful for my life nearly every single day in 2018, not that I didn’t have a reason to be grateful before. But in 2018, the good things came so easily. After a few years of trying very hard to make the pieces of my new life fit together, this was so rewarding.

We were on our second year of our lease, in an apartment I love, in a street I love, in a neighbourhood I love. I really felt lucky every day when I left my apartment, whether I was on my way to work, pilates, to meet friends or walking to the market. I knew the city well, had a long list of favourite haunts for various specific occasions & felt like I always had something to look forward to.

At the start of 2018, I finally got a membership to a pilates studio I love to bits, and for the first time in my life I actually exercised very regularly for a very long period of time. I was at my healthiest, and was loving taking 7 or 8 classes a week.

I found more balance in my routines, from spending time at home in an apartment I actually enjoy being in, spending time with my boyfriend and friends, exercising and working on the blog. I also made an effort to have as many picnics as possible, in different parts of the city – some of my favourite spots are overlooking Brighton Beach, and watching the sunset over the water at St Kilda beach (often with my uncles). It sounds like a small thing, but the simple act of sitting outside on the grass or sand, with a few snacks, a bottle of wine & people you love, is one of the most joyful ways that you can spend your time.

beach picnic
A windy beach picnic in not-quite-summer!

One of my highlights of 2018 was attending the Australian Open for the first time. It’s one of the world’s four Grand Slam tournaments, and draws thousands of people to Melbourne every year. I loved playing tennis as a teenager, and it had always been my dream to go. As luck would have it, I ended up being invited as a client, by an alcohol brand that I worked with, to see the day time session, the same day I had purchased night time session tickets with David. I was happy as a pig in mud!

David and I spent another month in the North America, this visiting New York, Miami, Vancouver, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as taking a road trip in California.

South Beach, Miami

Closer to home, I visited some of the most beautiful parts of Victoria that I’ve ever seen; Wilsons Prom with David, and the King Valley with Liv. David & I also took a day trip to the Macedon Ranges. Liv & I also made our last annual trip to Heathcote on Show, at least for now.

Mt Oberon Hike View Wilsons Prom-1
View from Mt Oberon in Wilsons Prom

heathcote on show

2019

From the start of 2019, I knew I was leaving Melbourne soon. We moved to New York in April 2019, which gave me plenty of time (and yet still not enough!) to make the most of this wonderful city. Before we left, we finally got around to spending a weekend in Bendigo (David’s first visit), discovered how gorgeous the Bellarine Peninsula’s wineries are, and I took Mum to the Australian Open, something I’ve dreamed of doing for years.

We had a really fun going away party with our friends, and my work friends planned the most extravagant and thoughtful work farewell party. I felt so lucky to have made so many friends in Melbourne, and knew that one day I’d be back.

Our going away party

Every time I think about my life in Melbourne, I feel really lucky. Not only did it launch a career that wouldn’t have been possible in Brisbane, make the most wonderful friends, see more of Australia & live in a vibrant and inspiring city, but it has given me so many opportunities to change.

Everyone changes with time, but I think moving somewhere different pushes you a little bit harder and a bit faster, than if you’d stayed at home. David and I often joke about how each move chips away at “all of my preconceived notions,” and laugh at how much has changed. My old ideas or beliefs weren’t necessarily wrong, but having my mind changed all the time (even begrudgingly) has taught me to take nothing for granted & helped me become more open minded in general. Moving somewhere new exposes you to different ways of living and asks you to re-build your life, which is an opportunity to do it deliberately. To really think about what you want to re-build in a new city, what skins you want to shed and what you’ll fight to hold on to.

It also gave me the confidence for my next move: to New York City.

Thank you Melbourne x

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Notes on 4 Years of Living in Melbourne

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