On the 1st of January this year, I decided to fly to Australia solo and spend three months living there by myself. When I landed in Melbourne around mid-February, I knew no one except for a girl I had met for half an hour over coffee back in London. I had some freelance work to keep me going, but other than that my responsibilities were pretty limited, so in many ways my time in Australia took on an almost dream-like quality: the weather was perfect, the people funny, the landscapes wild and beautiful. These are some of my best memories.
I saw this a lot in Melbourne: picturesque houses, quaint and cottage-like, with beautiful rose bushes exploding out front. This house was located on a street right in the city center, but still the plants looked so untamed. There were flowers everywhere, on every single street, doing just as they pleased!
It was very easy to travel around Australia because there were so many other travellers who wanted to explore the country. On my first weekend I met a girl named Sophie and we decided to go to Tasmania together, which is a beautiful island off the Australian mainland that everyone nicknamed “Tassie.” I took this photo at a small festival we went to with her friend Ryan. We camped in the woods for a few days and had to be careful not to endanger the platypus near the main stage.
The band Grizzly Bear headlined, but before that we saw a rapper called Sampa the Great. She was a lot of fun to watch and sing along to. The stage was nestled between these huge pine trees, so the whole experience felt really special, like we had the artists to ourselves.
This very sweet (and very radly dressed) duo called Nice Biscuit Band played, too. I loved their matching pink and blue outfits.
After the festival, Ryan, Sophie and I drove to a part of the island called Wineglass Bay. It was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The sand was totally white and the whole area was kind of deserted. I think because Tasmania is so far away from everywhere else, it doesn’t attract many tourists. I loved the quietness it had about it.
A gorge in Tasmania that we went swimming in. We had a picnic by the water and Sophie and Ryan talked about their work. They are both doctors who work in emergency departments at hospitals in Melbourne, so they had lots of crazy stories.
In mid-April a guy I had started seeing in London came to visit me for two weeks and we went driving along the Great Ocean Road. It was the first time we had many days in a row to get to know each other and we were lucky to have such an amazing backdrop. These rocks are called the Twelve Apostles, but several of them have been washed away by the waves, so there are probably only eight or nine left by now and maybe even fewer by the time you read this.
We stopped by a small seaside town for lunch one day and saw this bird. In London, all we had were pigeons, in Australia they had these crazy things!
A bunch of wetsuits slung over a wooden fence somewhere on the southern coast. We had stopped by the road to look out at the sea and saw a bunch of school kids learning how to surf. I thought they were really brave. The water was freezing and the ocean looked infinite.
Once I got back to Melbourne after traveling around with friends, I felt like I was home again, but it was very weird ambling around the city alone every day and it got pretty difficult at times. Some weeks I barely spoke to anyone at all because I didn’t know many people, but getting used to the solitude was definitely useful. On the other hand, I had always valued my own independence so much that it was kind of nice to come face to face with the fact that friends are so important to have around. During my last week, I went to a talk about mental health and we learned about how evolutionarily it is so important for humans to stick together. When you’re away from your herd, you’re much more vulnerable to attack, so you tend to be more anxious and on edge when you’re by yourself.
A tree I befriended in the city’s huge botanical garden. ♦