Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…done with Melbourne, for now

I’m now a little more than three weeks into my trip and I’ve successfully made my first domestic journey — from Victoria to Queensland, Melbourne to Brisbane — despite a small mistake in choosing which airport to go to this morning.

When people ask me how Australia is, I normally tell them that’s it’s different enough the UK to make me realise I’m abroad, but it’s similar enough so that I don’t feel completely lost and isolated. Moving away from my comfort zone is a big enough step without having to try to fit into a new country with its own culture and language to try to decipher. I’m not an amazing flaneur like some, after all.

Things like speaking English, driving on the left, naming everything after British towns/monarchs and having no cuisine of their own all make me feel right at home. It’s just little things that have made it nicer so far — people seem more affable, the weather’s a lot sunnier, the animals are cooler and there’s so many new things and places to explore.

Some of the highlights of the trip so far:

– Neighbours night. The poster claimed it would be the best night of my trip, and I’m not sure they’re lying. I got to meet Karl Kennedy, Madge Bishop and Summer Hoyland before watching Karl front the world’s greatest covers band.

Me and Dr Karl!

– Meeting Mel. For those not aware, Mel is a freelance writer who I had the pleasure of working with in Edinburgh. For the year or so when I was in charge of articles she was always ace and her cheery e-mails brightened up many a dull day. It was her suggestion for me to come to Australia, so I have a lot to thank her for. Despite living in the same city all that time, we didn’t actually meet until we were both in Melbourne and, thankfully, she was just as nice in real life as she was online.

Wallace with Madge Bishop

– As well as going to the Neighbours night with Mel, we also went on a road trip with a few other people along the Great Ocean Road. We only went along a small fraction of it, but the scenery was beautiful. We went to one of the area’s top surfing beaches (which excited others more than me) and saw some of Metallica there (which, again, excited others more than me), we bought a crate of mangoes and ate them in the style of oranges (I never tried simply peeling and nomming a mango in the UK, does it work with that style of mango?), we saw dolphins, we played in a park, we generally had a great day. I also agreed to more of the GOR with one of the other travellers from that trip. He’s planning to go round the whole country early next year, but given how commodious Australia is I’m not sure I’ll stick with him for the whole time.

Bells Beach

– Possums. They’re just amazing.

A better shot of a possum, possibly

– Generally just being a tourist, not working in a stupid office and having some sunshine for a change.

Sports again

Winning an award.

There have been bits I haven’t enjoyed quite so much — like cleaning up someone’s fresh vomit — but the positives outweigh the negatives so much it’s almost laughable.

Most my good photos of Melbourne can be found here, photos of Brisbane will be added to my account soon.

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Filed under: australia, ,

7 Responses

  1. thezombiekit says:

    That’s so fantastic Olly – mostly the Neighbours night part. You got to meet Karl and Madge! Amazing! And here was me thinking Madge had croaked it.

    Glad you’re having fun and I think Toronto is a bit similar to how you feel over there – different but the same.

  2. Dave w says:

    It’s hard to imagine you caged up in an office, even though you were to my diagonal left for so long. I hope you never feel the need to go back – have a big talk with all the other escapees if you do!

    Great to see you’re still sporting the Richard Herring c.2009 beard + hair configuration on your French face too.

  3. Jemma says:

    You can totally eat mangoes like oranges here. There was this one time that I had a major hangover and only 3 hours sleep but I had to drive through to Falkirk, so I stopped at Tesco on the way and bought a mango. Ate it like an orange as I drove along the M9. My steering wheel and dashboard got pretty sticky but I needed fruit dammit and mangoes were on offer.

    Also, as someone who now works in a more traditional office like the kind you see on TV, I dont think you realise how good you had it in bigmouth. Don’t ever get a traditional job again 😛

    I think you should be an English teacher when you grow up. 🙂

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