A Season Of Firsts part III: First Stop Melbourne

shut up hamish and mum

The ‘A Season Of Firsts’ series of blogs is me accounting my fairly un-unique O.E. (overseas experience) of relocating from New Zealand to the United Kingdom to work and travel. I’m now several weeks into living in London, but I’m only just publishing blogs from a few weeks back. More up to date blogs to come soon, as well as general culture articles.

My adventure has begun. Surviving so far.

I’ve survived the four hour journey away from Auckland to Melbourne, made it through a new foreign city environment and managed to communicate successfully with the locals. Which is proven to be as you’d probably assume, not that difficult, given New Zealanders are kind of like slightly quieter, more insecure versions of Australians. One of the most interesting things I’ve learnt so far, is that the Aussie-Kiwi cultural competition exists more in the minds of New Zealanders than it does Aussies. Australians are too busy beating the world at most sports (or at least India, in their two biggest sports, Hockey and Cricket) and enjoying their far stronger economy. New Zealanders are far more aware than Australians of the cultural items they’ve had to share claim of with their neighbors. While I’m yet to totally shake these cultural insecurities, it’s nice to be given a sober, objective perspective on New Zealand’s place in the world and how we relate to our neighbors, and it perhaps was aptly only once I escaped my home country that I was able to take on board these perspectives.

melbourne from plane

Mostly though, I’ve been goofing around with friends and enjoying the size and prettiness of Melbourne. The city makes it easy to get around. There are trams everywhere, as well as buses and trains and there’s a bike share initiative apparently not unlike the ‘Boris’ bikes in London. You can hire a bike from numerous bike share depot points for about $3 for half an hour, with plenty of bike points scattered around the city at which to drop the bike off at. I got distracted and stuck with my bike for over 2 hours, which probably pinged me over $30, but seemed worth it for the uninhibited trip around the city.

Adjusting to the time difference has so far been relatively painless, although four hours in the past is admittedly not a huge time difference. I feel good I’m doing this in stages; heading to KL next, even for a day will break it up more. I still feel tired like it’s one in the morning, but with an added two hours to my day. I shudder to think how I’ll react to the London time difference, though we shall soon see.

A few notes, my Kathmandu 70l bag is on the uncomfortably heavy side and is a mission to put on at 22kgs. Might be time to do some clothes dumping, although I’m not ready to part with much of the clothes yet. Staying with a friend has bee a life saver, and seems to be a good way to go rather than a backpackers, if you can wrangle it well and be a considerate guest. You’ll know if you’re not wanted (or at least I think so).

City one of the big trip over and nearly done, just about on to bigger and more ambitious quests. Which reminds me, I’ve not made any progress towards finding work in my eventual stop London. So perhaps I should pause buying thousand dollar cameras and get back to what’s really important. At least my Glastonbury bootlegs will be mean.

melbourne

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A Season Of Firsts: Losing My Overseas Virginity

I’m now in the middle of travelling to London, and am currently editing this blog from a train in Kuala Lumpur. I should be making the most of being in a foreign place but I wanted to post this while it’s still relevant to my current travels. There will be more travel posts to come, either here or on a new site that I will link up.

At 25, I’ve experienced a fair amount of life. I’ve done the preschool years, the wild innocence of my childhood. I’ve done the confusing and expectantly traumatic period of puberty and early teens. I’ve graduated high school, graduated University, had a few proper adult jobs and lived independently for some time.

I’ve achieved many things I’d dreamed of achieving but had not been so arrogant to have assumed them a certainty. Things such as learning an instrument, learning multiple instruments, playing concerts, touring, releasing CDs, having reunions, finishing dissertations, filming music videos and releasing mildly successful local music videos – successful enough in their political critique to gain the attention of the electoral commission. I’ve made friends, lost friends, gained friends again. Had girlfriends, lost girlfriends, become friends with them in time. I’ve had many great times with family and am lucky enough to still have most of my family alive and well. So I can already look back on my quarter century and feel gratitude, and satisfaction at how things have turned out.

But still, there are many firsts I am yet to experience. Over the next few weeks I will be ticking a great many of these firsts off my bucket list. It will be first time outside of Australasia, my first time on a long haul flight, my first time traveling internationally solo, and my first time crossing hemispheres. I’ve never been to Asia before, but I will achieve this with a day long stop over in Kuala Lumpur – hopefully enough to see the Batu Caves and perhaps some monkeys roaming free around them. I’ve never been the Middle East before, but a five hour stop over in Dubai will provide a brief experience of this. I’ve never had to sleep overnight on a plane, and never really crossed time barriers, so therefor I’ve never experienced jet leg. All of this is to come.

Travel is a relatively common thing for some families so this may not seem a big deal. But my family are not great travelers, my Mum, Grandma and Grandfather only got as far as Australia. My Dad’s made it to Asia and many Pacific Islands. Only an Uncle of mine had previously ventured off to do the living in England thing. So for me, it seems a massive deal, and I’m kind of surprised I’ve even gotten to this stage where I’m about to pull it off. The fact I’ve done so little like this in the past, except for moving from Dunedin to Auckland, makes it all the more thrilling and nerve wracking (although to be honest I’m relatively calm at the moment).

The experience of moving across to the United Kingdom and working there is in many ways part of the New Zealand cultural identity. We our a colony of the British Empire after all, with a great deal of us descended from British, Scottish and Irish immigrants, and the influence of England has of course spread into the many other cultures that now make up our multicultural Islands. We used to view the UK as home, as my Grandma was telling me just yesterday, as she reminisced about her childhood. In this way, I like to think that I am venturing back to our recent ancestral home, so good or bad, it will be incredibly valuable cultural education.

This is of course the biggest first, losing my living overseas virginity. I’m sure it’ll come with it’s own crazy highs and depressing lows, homesickness, work struggles and such – but it will surely give me an experience at following my own heart and taking some risks. Plus I’m also breaking my camping festival virginity – and this happens to be for Glastonbury 2015. So the hedonistic partying highlights are there already.

I will attempt with this blog to give you a rundown on how everything goes. You’ll soon here about how I go attempting to fly Jetstar, Royal Brunei and Emirates with stop-overs in Melbourne, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur and Dubai. Will I make the flights? Will my luggage come with me? You’ll soon here about Glastonbury and whether it lived up to the hype. Who were the best artists? Is it really the best festival on earth? Did my tent survive the rain and mud? I’ll also write on life in London, the steps I take to get set up and how a Kiwi with little world experience finds life in the big English metropolis.

I’m not entirely sure if I am following that most metaphorical of organs in my upper chest, or if I’m running to the other side of the world out of fear, of something like commitment for example. My heart most definitely lies with my family and friends in New Zealand and I will make as much effort to stay in contact with them as possible. Right now, having resign from my job and taking steps towards this most anticipated adventure, it feels good. Surely if something feels good, that’s a good indicator that you’re on the right track.

Peace out, more from me soon.

Oh and here’s a drawing of me by my good friend, the great Shanghai artist, Ultraman Zhong Wen Chen.

ultraman-drawing-2015 hamish