From Bayside to City Lights

Posted on Saturday, October 04, 2008

I never thought I would tire of living by the seaside in a small coastal town. Why would I? People traveled from all across Australia to come to Byron Bay on holiday, to witness for themselves the Bay in all its glory. The beaches, the cafes, the nightlife, and the eclectic lifestyle attracts thousands of people each year. I was living the ultimate existence: a perfect job where I chose my hours, the perfect house on the beach, and an almost perfect group of friends to share it all with.

However, five years in a small coastal town can really take its toll on you. For a town that only has two main streets, its cosy at the best of times. Your business is everyone’s business and don’t even think about trying to form a romantic relationship before asking the permission of the ex (who probably works the same job as you and lives two houses down from you). For a town that is surrounded by marine life, there really aren’t that many fish left in the sea. It is safe to say that the honeymoon period is pretty much over after five years. Small towns should come with a ‘Best Before’ date. Or a general warning that the place comes with an expiry date, ‘Exposure to small town after five years may have detrimental effects on your ambition and sense of self’. If only all things in life were packaged this clearly.

Small towns should be taken in small doses. Particularly tourist towns. I lived in a bubble for five years where every weekend felt like New Year’s Eve and where every night out guaranteed a new international lover. I realise that on the surface this sounds like heaven for us ‘twenty-somethings’. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that none of this is able to last beyond an alcohol infused weekend. None of this is the key to long lasting happiness or longevity in a small town. The answer? Move towns. Actually, move states. Put as many kilometers between you and that place as possible.

Enter Melbourne. A city full of trams and new faces. I’ve traded my havianas for leather boots and my swimmers for scarves and gloves. I’m still getting used to the fact that no one knows me here. I can walk along Chapel Street without anyone even raising an eyebrow at me. I can bat my eyelashes at whoever I please without causing an explosive chain reaction. I can sit down at a new café where the waiter doesn’t know my name or my order.

It’s very nice to meet you Melbourne, my name is Julie and I look forward to getting to know you.

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