The most liveable city in the world has been my home for the past four months and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier living in a city than I have been since I moved here. From the second you get off the plane you can feel the city is alive and buzzing with excitement at the arrival of yet another new face eager to unlock its hidden treasures. From bars hidden behind bookcases and acoustic performers lining the streets, to the regular festival takeovers and the incredible street art that lines alleyways across the city. Melbourne is a city of life and excitement with amazing discoveries hiding around every corner - even after four months I still have so much to learn about this city and feel like I have barely scratched the surface.With just three weeks left here I guess I’m getting a bit emotional at the thought of leaving the place that has become home to me, the first home I’ve had in 18 months. I’ve loved every second of my life here and that’s exactly what it has been. I have built a life here over the past four months, more than just meeting friends before hitting the road again, this is a place where I have friends, family, a career and a home. I’ve met so many amazing people who have set my soul alight and I know that even when I fly to the other side of the globe, I’ll be leaving a big piece of my heart here. You all know who you are, every single one of you amazing people have made this one of the best experiences of my life and it’s you that makes the thought of leaving seem incomprehensible.But if you know anything about me by now, you’ll know that I’m never one to dwell on the sad times, instead I have a series of posts lined up to celebrate Melbourne and all that has made this city incredible for me. All the reasons I’ll be returning in just a few short months, all the things that have made me live every single day with a smile on my face. And what better to start with than the amazing graffiti that lines the streets of Melbourne? I love art - walking around the city to see bold, colourful statements that reflect the consciousness of a passionate, exciting and creative city is one of my favourite parts of Melbourne. From the political and the poignant, to the current and the comic - there’s a piece for all tastes and the constant fluctuation of work is what keeps it exciting. You never know what will spring up next and what will disappear, this change is what keeps the walls of Melbourne alive in a way that other cities just cannot keep up with.Much as you often find you stumble across incredibly relatable and poignant posts across social media that seem to be written especially for you and your emotions at that moment. Melbourne city walks are like a live feed of passion and emotion spread right across your eyes - it’s amazing what you will stumble across if you just take a second to look up from your phone as you wander the cobbled walkways. Of course, if you’re planning on exploring the city anytime soon you’ll need to know the best places to start so here’s the best places to venture if you fancy seeing some of the most awe-inspiring pieces on show. Start out at the famous Hosier and Rutledge Lanes, just off Federation Square, before heading to Caledonian Lane, off Little Bourke Street, then check out Union Lane, off Bourke Street Mall.If that’s not enough for you, head for the rear of 280 Queen Street in Finlay Avenue, 21 Degraves Street, or the corner of Flinders Lane and Cocker Alley. Over towards Carlton there’s some amazing artwork at 122 Palmerston Street, and don’t forget Centre Place between Collins Street and Flinders Lane. All of these areas feature some of the best street art I have seen, and it’s so wonderful to see them displayed in a place where it is valued and considered art - Melbourne is such a modern city and I love the attitude that appreciates the art instead of squashing these amazing talents like in many cities. Another great area for checking out the art is Brunswick Street and the rest of Fitzroy where you’ll find some pretty spectacular scenes hidden amongst the streets.
What do you think about street art in cities - is it just graffiti or something much more? Where are your favourite places in Melbourne to spot the latest and best street art?
For some people, birthdays are a horrible reminder of what they don't want to think about - all those trips they didn't take, the things they didn't achieve and how little time they have to make their dreams a reality. Personally I just can't understand these people, I don't understand how anyone wouldn't be excited to celebrate their birthday and all the wonderful things they have accomplished since the last one. I can't help but love birthdays - a chance to celebrate your awesomeness with the people you love - it sounds pretty amazing to me. So I've always been the sort of person who likes to organise a big do with lots of friends and family - I usually end up having about three separate celebrations with different people just because I see it as a good excuse to spend time with my favourites. Yeah it sounds a bit like I'm spoilt, and lucky me I am, spoilt to have so many amazing friends and family that I want to spend time with eating cake every May. So it was a bit of a strange feeling to be approaching my 25th birthday, a pretty big milestone if you ask me, knowing that not only would I be moving to a different continent but I would be having to make all new friends and find something special to celebrate with.My birthday marked a week after my move from Asia to Australia and I was excited to see how I would spend the big day. After spending a hectic week exploring the city, making some amazing friends in my hostel and partying in what felt like every bar in the city, one of my friends was planning to head to Melbourne where she was expecting to live and work for her last month in the country. Another friend booked us flights and before we knew it we were jetting off for a few days in Melbourne for my birthday! This gave me a great chance to visit a friend I met back in Thailand and to explore the city I'm already beyond excited to return to next January to live and work. I love Sydney, but I really love Melbourne and this trip gave me a great taste of what my life will be like there. While there we walked around the city centre listening to the amazingly talented buskers, we explored Brunswick St, went out near Fitzroy St and even squeezed in a visit to St Kilda beach. We did pretty well to see so much in just a day and a half and after we were done in the city, we headed out into the countryside to visit another friend and stay with him for a house party full of really talented musicians who spent the night playing for us.I think this was probably the least planned and organised birthday I have ever had which probably fits really well with my new life and shows how much I've changed over the last six months. It's really interesting to look back on my birthday last year - even though I had an amazing time partying at a festival with an old friend - generally I was much unhappier then. My life was full of stress and worry as I tried to figure out what my next move should be and I couldn't keep up with the demands I was placing on myself. The moment when I decided what I wanted to do, that I wanted to leave and travel, was the single most freeing moment in my life and it completely changed how I felt about the situation. It was suddenly so much more manageable and I felt like I could deal with it all, one step at a time. Now I can't imagine ever going back to a life like that, travelling has opened me up to so many new opportunities and has changed the way I think about the future. A year ago my future was confused and uncertain, now it is wide open and pretty bloody exciting. If that's not a reason to celebrate then I don't know what is! So here's to the last 25 years - each more epic than the last - and to being the happiest I have ever been. Bring on the next quarter of a century!
Birthdays - love them or hate them? Do you have a big celebration like me or prefer something a bit more low key? Have you been to Melbourne - what's your favourite place there?