4 month wrap-up, my life in Melbourne

Although I didn’t travel in Australia as much as I thought I would for my first 4 months, due to a lack of finances and trying to save for my upcoming travels to Southeast Asia, I still have had a hell of a time so far in the land down under. I’ll be coming back to Australia in October, whether I’ll make Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane my home base from there on is still to be determined, but I’m happy to find my way along the ride. There’s always a romantic notion attached with moving abroad, and although it is one of the top experiences I’ve had in my life so far, I think that I’ve come to realize that it’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows. Here are my thoughts on the last 4 months of my life abroad.

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Places Visited

Melbourne,  Victoria

Geelong, Victoria

The Great Ocean Road

The Yarra Valley

Sydney, New South Wales

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Highlights

  • Finding my bartending job at Deja Vu bar. It has been a beacon of light through the turmoil that is casual work in Australia, and my coworkers were some of my first true friends in Melbourne.
  • Celebrating my birthday in a foreign country for the first time, and actually having people to celebrate with after only being here a month.
  • Having my first motorcycle ride at 3 in the morning
  • On-the-road romances. I originally thought this year was going to be my year of being alone, but I’ve found that I go on more dates abroad than I ever did back home. I think it’s the general attitude I hold while abroad, “Well, why not?”. I’m young, free, and single for the first time in a long time. I’ve dated Brits, Italians, Kiwis, and of course, Australians, in the last four months, and those memories and good times are some of the best to look back on when I think of my time in Australia thus far.
  • Making so many close friends in a short span of time. I never thought I would have such a great network of people in my life after only being here for a few months.
  • Having my friend from California come visit me for a few weeks, and being able to show her my love for the city I now call home
  • My first time ever going wine tasting, and being able to see the beautiful region that is the Yarra Valley

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  • Going on one of the best, most epic and hilarious road trips I’ve ever been on, the Great Ocean Road
  • Lucking out with finding my housemate in Melbourne on Gumtree (the Australian version of Craigslist), and immediately becoming best buds. She is the person who is always there when I need advice or simply someone to talk to.
  • The coffee. Once you come to Melbourne, or really, anywhere in Australia, you’ll understand. There is no going back.
  • Going to my first footy game with an Australian, having him explain the rules of AFL, and sharing his love for the game with me.
  • A gorgeous, sunny time in Sydney for my last week in Australia for awhile. I felt right at home, although slightly nostalgic, about the beach culture I found there.

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Lowlights

  • Losing not one, but two of my jobs without any notice, and realizing how poor the casual workforce is treated in Australia.
  • Having the logic board fail in my MacBook Pro, and thus having to use my travel savings to buy a new computer.
  • Getting a call from my mom that my grandmother had a stroke and was in critical condition, and feeling so incredibly helpless being so far away.
  • Waking up to news of the Boston Marathon bombing.
  • Not being able to do the one thing I’ve been looking forward to for about 6 months simply because I didn’t have enough money, hot air ballooning over Melbourne at sunrise (still hoping it will happen when I get back!)
  • Finding out my backpacking backpack was going to cost $700 to send overseas, and thus having to buy a new one in Australia.
  • My budget. Realizing just how expensive it is to live in Australia (even when making Aussie dollars), and that discouraging feeling I get every time I compare my bank account to all I want to do while I’m here.
  • Sending my passport to Sydney for my Vietnam visa, only to find out that my friend sent me the wrong address…don’t worry, it’s back in my safe possession now (I can still go to Asia, yay!)
  • The weather. I didn’t think it would be a big deal living through two back-to-back winters, but I can definitely feel 6 months of winter weather affecting my daily mood, and especially with how cold it has been in Melbourne this winter. I’m ready to feel the sunshine for days on end, and to chase summer to my heart’s content.

What’s Next

I’m flying to Malaysia tomorrow morning, the next two months will be an adventure of a lifetime backpacking through Southeast Asia. Keep checking back, it is sure to be an interesting next few months ahead! And as always, thank you to all my readers for following along on my journey, I appreciate each and every one of you.

Backpacking through Costa Rica at 18

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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