So the time has finally come, after 14 years of dreaming, 5 years of saving, and 2 years of planning, I am finally standing on the edge, hand in hand with my partner, ready to take a giant leap into the great unknown. To leave our home, with no known return date. We always knew if we were going to do this it would not, it could not, be the usual short trip as a brief yet satisfying escape from the monotony of the daily grind, but a caution thrown to the wind, quit your job, end your lease, and sell your car adventure. An adventure to explore the whole world, in its entirety; every continent, every country that holds some sway or pulls at some unidentifiable string in our hearts, every place that sings a familiar yet unheard song to our souls. What could possibly go wrong!
So here we are; we promised ourselves a last hurrah in Melbourne, to live it like tourists for just one day, but in doing so also relish in the things that make our home great, the things we will yearn for when we are absent from it, to visit the places we always put off seeing, and eat the foods that have shaped our relationship. To eat churros for breakfast, because we used to do that early in our relationship and it makes us appreciate our past and how far we’ve come; to eat cheap dumplings in a dodgy looking, hole in the wall restaurant in a sketchy alleyway, because they are some of the best dumplings around, and lets be honest, what could make us appreciate the food culture of Melbourne and our multicultural home than such an experience; and sharing Chinese hotpot with my brother, who is home briefly after he has spent the past year travelling, and my mother, both of whom will meet us at different times during our trip, to make us appreciate the importance of family and friends, and the void that will be left by being far from them.
Between all of the eating we knew we had to go and explore, to do the things we’d always said we would do, but that we always set aside when faced with the responsibilities of everyday life. What better way to appreciate our home than to see it in all its glory, from great heights, from Eureka tower. To all of you who have never seen it, I give you the beauty of my sprawling city of origin; I give you Melbourne
After coming back down to earth, we decided to escape from the hubbub and stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens (yes, that big green thing in the photo above). It seems a silly final act, but it was something we never set aside the time for; we’ve spent so much time caught up in life, and work, and planning, that we never took the time to just be present, in nature or in each others lives. Our stroll took us past the Shrine of Remembrance, which seems fitting, as in just over a month we will be on the shore of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli, standing at attention to the solemn sound of the Last Call as it plays out toward the first rays of morning light. Where so many men’s journey’s ended, will be, although incredibly important, just a single stop on ours. It was while standing at the Eternal Flame that I took a second to appreciate the freedoms my life allows; when countless men and women lost their lives, many of whom considered going off to war to be an adventure, a way to see the world in a life that would not allow it otherwise, here I stand able to travel freely, no gun, no helmet, and very little risk. I am incredibly lucky, regardless of the hard work I put in to get myself to this point, and the gratitude for my freedoms and opportunities are never lost or wavering.
At the end of the day, in a world that teaches us that we always need more, may we all make time to stop an appreciate all those things we have: our family, friends, partners, homes, freedoms, and most of all, the opportunity to follow our dreams, wherever they take us.