27 years, six months and one overdue update

Today, March 15th, marks two notable milestones for me:

The first milestone is that today is my 27th birthday. Twenty seven. Where did that time go? If, last year, I got asked where I’d be for my next birthday I’m sure “the other side of the world” wouldn’t have been my answer. And I certainly wouldn’t have elaborated to say “living in a hostel and working in a cafe in Melbourne after travelling parts of Southeast Asia, having quit my stable long-term job back home and purged a lot of my possessions.” Yet, here I am doing (and having done) just that.

Happy birthday to me

I’ve never really been one to celebrate my birthday and I find it even more difficult to do so today, with almost all of my nearest and dearest being some 11,000 miles away and 11 hours behind. That said, one of my best mates from home happens to be working here in Melbourne, too, so I’ll be meeting up with him for a run, pint and some dinner later. And, even though it was the 14th back home, I still had my morning made by my dad singing ‘happy birthday’ down the phone as I waited for my morning coffee.

The second milestone is that today marks six months since I hit the road. I’ve refrained from saying “began travelling” because I’ve been stationary for nearly three months – working; living.

I decided to take a hiatus from the constant moving of travelling back in December, when I was in Thailand. Around that time I was feeling a little…tired?…of travelling. Changing beds every other day, forging faux five minute friendships, seeing another market. I wouldn’t say the enjoyment had gone, but I craved stability and familiarity.

So, having already bought a flight from Bangkok to Melbourne before I left the UK and being in Thailand at the time, I chose to bring it forward from the original March departure and head Down Under.

Within a couple of days, my mood brightened enormously. It was helped by being able to see, and stay with, a good friend from university who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. Three months in, I’ve been able to see, enjoy and experience a city that is quite possibly my favourite in the world. I got a job, joined a local running club and soon found myself with a purpose and routine to my days.

Sure, waking up with a blank canvas is really nice, but it does get a little overwhelming and, dare I say, boring. It’s great some of the time, not all of the time.

I’ve been able to enjoy Melbourne in it’s peak. The city’s put on free music festivals, entertained big cricket series and the Australian Open tennis tournament, not to mention the glorious weather…

Walking among the Pai countryside

It’s been a rollercoaster six months in which I’ve done and seen a lot, more than this blog has captured – partly through choice, partly through laziness. Sorry about that. On reflection, I think the silence is actually testament to where my head was at toward the end of the year. When I look back, I smile, sigh, grimace and grin.

Running down the canals in Malacca
Being a culture vulture in Chiang Mai

But I’ll save my reflective thoughts for another time, as I’m sure you’d rather read about what I’ve been up to since I last wrote and what my plans are moving forward.

Morgan in Melbourne: What’s the deal?

I’d always had Australia down to be the place I’d go to find work, and I’d heard through friends that had visited and/or lived in Melbourne that it was my kind of place. How right they were.

Where I often unwind in Melbourne, on the banks of the Yarra with a book in my hand

After a week of being a tourist, I turned to the job hunt and managed to find myself work in a cool, trendy cafe within a few days. I work there four to five days a week, spending the rest of the week running with my new club and generally wandering to see what the city has to offer.

South Melbourne Beach

What’s next?

How long’s a piece of string? While my plans change daily, I do intend to journey north up Australia’s east coast, probably as far as Cairns, to see a whole lot more for what’s on offer. Most excitingly, however, is what May has in store. I’ll be heading back to Thailand to see my dad, sister and brother-in-law, for what will be a well overdue catch up. After that, I’ll either head back to Australia or start a second stint in Southeast Asia.

With a new lease of energy and positivity, I will try my utmost to share some more stories from the last six months. Like the time I literally bumped into someone in north Thailand that I shared a hostel room with two months prior in Sri Lanka; or my unique Christmas spent in hotel luxury; or my time spent exploring the beautiful surroundings of northern Thailand; or the time I climbed into the crater of an active volcano; or the time I genuinely feared for my life on a boat trip… Until then, head here to see six more highlights from my time away that haven’t yet made it to the blog.

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