& clearly I’ve been fabulous about keeping up my blog.
So what’s been going on for the past 3 months?
My wives(Anna & Nicole) & I drove a van from Brisbane to Noosa to Fraser Island to Byron Bay to Coffs Harbor to Port Macquarie to Newcastle to Sydney to Canberra to Jervis Bay to the middle of gd NOWHERE(more on that later) to Wilsons Promontory to Phillip Island to Melbourne. Which was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Did not break down, crash, or have any too-traumatizing wildlife experiences. Only got horribly lost once. WOW.
Parked it in Melbourne for a Rufus du Sol concert. Like literally parked it, have you ever tried to camp in the middle of a city? Because shockingly there are NO campsites anywhere near anything you would go to a city to see. And gypsy camping it in a public park will get you a fat fine(note – Australia LOVES it’s fines!). So to see Rufus we parked in the driveway of a friend of a friend and went for the night. Have you ever gotten home at 6:30am after a night on the town and slept in the back of a van with 2 of your friends with no air conditioning parked in the sun? So worth it for Rufus.
We were supposed to turn our van in the day of the concert and then be responsible adults. BUT who wants to work?! We extended our van another 5 days and hit The Great Ocean Road while we were still on the tail end of Australian summer. Definitely a good move. More on that later.
The highlight reel since then –
- Lived in the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed at in my ENTIRE life overrun by a bunch of 19 year-old Germans/English also here on Working Holiday visas. For an entire freaking WEEK. There was one point at which we dramatically packed our bags and stormed off to the hostel next door, only to find out they had screwed up our booking and couldn’t take us in. And put our tails between our legs and crawled back. This was located in St. Kilda, a suburb on the beach that used to be cool 8 years ago but is now overrun by backpackers(hi) and meth heads. Meth heads isn’t an exaggeration either, the homeless of Chicago got nothin’ on the psychos of St. Kilda.
- Moved into an apartment in said meth suburb(we were unaware at the time). A one bedroom apartment. With 2 bunk beds. That was the size of a shoebox and had to squeeze 4 girls. Run by a shady rental agency that caters to backpackers, which would explain the cockroaches and plumbing that didn’t work. They pulled us right in – the draw of the place was that we only had to give one week’s notice before leaving. Which we did, after spending 3 weeks there and realizing that we were basically paying for a hostel in a terrible area. Exhibit a of people trying to take advantage of foreigners in town on a temporary visa
- While living in the apartment – got desperate for a job and worked at a cafe for 3 weeks. That was paying me cash and less than minimum wage thinking that I didn’t notice. I thought my ego could handle working at a cafe with a degree, but it couldn’t. It didn’t help that it was in the CBD(Central Business District, there’s one in all 4 major Australian cities). My body couldn’t handle it either, after 3 weeks of being on my feet for 46 hours a week I started having horrible back problems that haven’t completely gone away. Clearly I was not built for the peasant life of physical labor! Exhibit b of people taking advantage of foreigners in town on a temporary visa.
- Ended up at a “marketing job interview” that ended up being me, a bunch of 18 year old backpackers, and this terribly fake peppy English recruiter who looked like she had been shooting up botox before the interview. Ended up being a total pyramid scheme where they were trying to get us to sell solar panels on commission. I really started to question my life decisions when we had to go around in a circle and talk about our work experience and everyone else was talking about their jobs cashiering/working at the local public pool. Exhibit c of people trying to take advantage of foreigners in town on a temporary visa.
- Ended up at another interview that I unfortunately cannot detail(hi mom) but there was an exhibit d interview that really was the rotten cherry on top of everything else.
- Got a job at this posh food store that I absolutely love! It’s called Gum Tree Good Food, we sell all these fun products from local Australian producers and funky cheeses that are over $100 a kilo. Oh and biodynamic eggs that are $12 a dozen. And buffalo milk yoghurt because who doesn’t need that in their life? It’s also the best place I’ve found to make Aussie friends.
- Found a new apartment in an incredible neighborhood, Richmond! Nicole, Anna, & I all have our own rooms & it’s right down the street from Swan Street and Bridge road, 2 poppin local streets. Also down the street from a few popular Melbourne bars, Corner Hotel and Richmond Hotel, and right in the middle of footy central. Footy isn’t slang, it’s an actual Aussie sport that’s like rugby with less rules, and Melbourne is it’s home. I love the apartment, but it came with a massive cockroach problem that the landlord “forgot” to mention. Oh and there’s no heat, silly us for not asking if the apartment came with heat in a first world country in 2019?! There’s exhibit e for ya everyone!
- Got a job as a Media Buyer(kind of what I did in the states) at a tiny ad agency, literally just me and my boss Paul, that actually pays decent and can hopefully add a little shine to the bs all over my resume.
And here we are!
In a nutshell it’s been a struggle, if you couldn’t tell. In Thailand we lived like damn rockstars. We were provided with a respected job, good salary, apartment, and few consequences. We also always got the special treatment for being foreigners.
Melbourne is such an incredible city. It’s very european, you can drink in public parks legally before 9pm and everyone wears black. The food scene is also INSANE. Within a 10-minute walk from my apartment you can get Thai, Burmese, Greek, Pakistani, Indian, 28034 different types of Vietnamese, Vegan, and everything in between. The music scene is also off the chain – you actually have to audition and get a license to be a street performer! There are also about a bajillion dope music festivals.
I know this all sounded very negative. I do love it here, it’s just been a struggle. Who would’ve thought moving to a foreign country on a limited visa would be difficult?!?!?!?!
So let’s end on some positives –
- Nicole, Anna & I slammed down a reservation for June at Attica, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. I CAN’T WAIT! Go watch the Chef’s Table episode on Netflix about Ben Shewry, the head chef.
- This city loves it’s coffee and espresso martinis are a huge thing and they’re my new favorite drink. Try a good one, they’ll be yours too.
- I’ve learned the secret to getting any job – walk in with a Thank You note for the hiring manager a day or so after submitting your application! Literally how I got all 3 of my jobs. You’re welcome.
- We’re headed back to the gateway of the Great Ocean Road this weekend, Torquay, to see the Rip Curl Pro surf competition at Bell’s Beach.
- Melbourne has the most(and also the BEST) vegan/vegetarian spots I’ve ever seen in my life. Also the most health food/independent food shops I’ve ever seen in my life.
- The entire road trip we took was amazing. I’ll detail it further later but Australia has the best nature I’ve ever seen, and it’s so easy to find your own private beaches.
- The neighborhood we live in is amazing. I really think we did well for not being able to sign any form of lease and technically being “backpackers.”
- My job yo! I can’t believe I pulled off getting a career job being a “backpacker.” And my employer is fully aware of my visa situation. I’m paid hourly and it’s not as many hours as I’d like, but I’m going to try to juggle it with my job at Gum Tree and work it out.