As you know, I recently moved to Australia. I was supposed to stay for a year but I only lasted four months. Don’t get my wrong, I had an amazing time there and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m super grateful for everything that happened, even the bad stuff. But sometimes you cannot ignore the signs from the universe telling you to run as fast as you can away from a situation and the universe was telling me to run far far away from Australia. Or simply catch a plane back home at the earliest convenience, so I did.
Again, I’m not bashing Australia. I love Australia! I will continue to write blog posts about how much I love it and encourage you to visit. All I’m saying is that whoever voted for Melbourne as the most livable city seven times in a row is the same kind of person who voted for Brexit and put Donald Trump in power… I’m just kidding. But I’m not really kidding. Melbourne kinda sucks.
1. I don’t like Melbourne
Let’s just get this out of the way early on. I am not a big fan of Melbourne. And I know that I’m being entirely bias here, but I don’t get the appeal. I really wanted to love Melbourne because I love coffee culture, vegan food, sustainable fashion boutiques, the accent, everything! I was supposed to love everything! But I didn’t.
I visited Melbourne way back in May and I was immediately turned off by little things. The tram network that seems to be perpetually broken, the weather that can never make up it’s mind, the fact that I was bored on the first day and when I asked a barista if she had any tips on things to do in the city she said ‘you kinda just have to know, you know?’, the fact that everyone from Melbourne thinks that Melbourne is the greatest place on Earth but when you ask why they all seem to be stumped. Maybe it’s just me but I felt like I was living in a weird reality where everyone goes around saying how perfect it is and then you point out the stuff that isn’t perfect and everyone ignores it.
2. Terrible timing
This brings me to my next point and this is terrible timing. I don’t think Melbourne stood a chance, really. I was never going to like it. I wasn’t going to like anywhere because when I visited in May, I was suffering from the worst depression I’ve felt in five years. I barely enjoyed anything and attempting to enjoy a nice holiday when I didn’t want to get out of bed, shower or eat felt really weird and forced.
When I returned to the UK, after what was probably the worst holiday of my life, I was not really in the right frame of mind to be making life altering decisions but I did anyway. Quitting everything and starting afresh in a new country is not a strategy I’d recommend in curing depression, but it was an interesting choice. Some people advised me that I was making a bad decision and again, I don’t regret what I did but I completely understand why it didn’t go well for me.
3. My inability to pick a nice house to live in
When moving to Australia, I’d recommend getting a hostel or an airbnb for at least a month instead of the two weeks like I did. I panicked and accepted the first house I looked at, even though it was far from perfect. It was in the area I wanted with the budget I wanted and I thought these were the most important things when house hunting but I was wrong. Firstly, the house’s lease didn’t start until six weeks. I took this as a perfect opportunity to go travelling but really, I knew I should have started earning money right away. Secondly, it looked like the kind of house a serial killer would live in.
In daylight, it was normal if not slightly eccentric with photos and trinkets littering every wall and floorboard. The hallway had decorative octopus tentacles up and down the walls which was weird. At night, however, this was an entirely different story. The lightbulbs in the hallway were red and the walls lit up like blood with only the dark black octopus tentacles to break up the vivid shock of scarlet. It’s safe to say I liked to navigate that hallway in pitch black rather than turn the light on.
Oh, and there were a pair of mannequin legs in the bathroom and they made me jump every. single. time.
4. My inability to pick a nice city to live in
Whilst on my road trip up the East Coast I discovered something. I like every city more than I like Melbourne. But I’d already put down a deposit on a house so I couldn’t change my mind, could I? Nope. I figured it was still my negative mindset that was deterring me from seeing Melbourne as the fabulous place it really was and I powered through and returned to Melbourne and started job hunting immediately.
Besides, I read about ten self help books on my road trip and did a lot of soul searching. I went to a Tarot reader, got into crystal healing and all sort of stuff. Basically, I turned into the kind of person I used to laugh at but I seriously needed to fix my mindset.
5. The lack of jobs
Okay, this one is a personal thing and I probably will talk about my experience trying to get a job in Melbourne in greater detail. But here’s the thing. I’m a barista, right? I have four years of experience which is better than the usual two years of experience cafes expect and I still couldn’t get a job.
I had a vision of the fourth place I interviewed at accepting me and this is what happened. The first place literally escorted me out of the shop to tell me I didn’t get the job. I had a trial shift that went well in the second place but they found someone better, the third place was vastly unsuited for me and we both knew it. The fourth place said yes to me, thank goodness because I was seriously running out of money and I didn’t think I could handle much more rejection.
Having said this, I continued looking for a job because my job was almost costing more than it was worth.
A couple of other places accepted me but they paid “depending on how good you were that day” or they wanted me to start immediately, knowing that I’d have to give my other shop a weeks notice. I declined any new offers and made the most of my airport job. It was located a $50 journey away by public transport and this cut into two and a half hours of my pay every day. I bought a staff skybus ticket for $150 and hoped this would be worth it in the long run. Which brings me to my next point…
6. The lack of money
My job didn’t pay me. This was normal apparently and employees often miss their first pay slip and it will get added to the second pay slip. Not to worry. Except I was worried because at this point I wasn’t eating on my days off because I couldn’t afford to. On my days on, I snacked on free stuff at work because I needed to get some kind of compensation with the amount I’d already invested in this terrible job and the horrid skybus employee pass.
I had a couple of days off and a tiny bit of money left so I spent it on a trip to Adelaide, knowing that any day now I would receive a nice sum of money from the company that kept withholding my pay and then… I received a text from a colleague saying the store had closed down and we were all out of jobs. Um. What?
7. The lack of help from the government
Usually when this happens, you can receive compensation from the government. It is illegal to work for free after all but because of a loophole and the fact that I’m only on a temporary working visa there’s nothing that can be done in my case. The money has been lost. It sucks but it is what it is. This was unfortunately the last straw for me and I borrowed money to get a flight home and chalked it all up as a bad investment.
Clearly, me and Australia weren’t meant to be. And you know, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I believe we are exactly where we need to be at all times and I was quite clearly not meant to live in Australia. I’m back home now, earning real money again and trying to get my life back on track and I’m a gazillion times happier back home, which is the realest of all signs that I’m not supposed to live in Australia.