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One Ordinary Day in Melbourne

One Ordinary Day in Melbourne

One Ordinary Day in Melbourne

In Melbourne, a city where the world converges, my adventure began. 

Upon arriving in Melbourne, I had little to no expectations. As someone who is obsessed with making plans and itineraries, I made a conscious effort to approach this holiday differently. I wanted to clear my mind and be open to anything Melbourne had to offer. I still created an itinerary, of course, but honestly, it was just a guide so I have something to answer to the immigration officer in case they ask.

Melbourne, like any other big city, is bustling with life, especially in the central business district. However, as someone who isn't fond of big cities, I wasn't particularly entertained by Melbourne CBD. And yet, there was something special about the city that made me appreciate it in a different light.

Forget the sprawling urban landscape, what makes Melbourne remarkable is its diverse and multicultural population. You see it inside classrooms where children of different cultural backgrounds learn side by side, at Queen Victoria market where vendors sell exotic fruits from faraway lands, and in the vibrant neighborhoods where people from all walks of life come together.

But nothing quite epitomized Melbourne's multicultural embrace for me than that one afternoon in summer when I ended up eating pho at a quaint Vietnamese restaurant with an Italian man in the middle of this Australian metropolis. I couldn't help but laugh as we chatted about our vastly different backgrounds and life experiences, yet found a common bond in our love for exploring new cultures and cuisines. 

On board his motorcycle, we traversed the winding streets and hidden alleyways. He showed me where the 'cool kids' hang out. He made me look up and watch the tallest mural in the Southern Hemisphere which I later found out as a painting of four tenants of a Collingwood public housing estate. 

It felt good to be a passenger this time. I am so used to driving myself to places now that it feels so refreshing to be the one being shown around. There's this exhilarating feeling that you only get when you're on a motorcycle. The roar of the engine and the risky nature of it all give you this feeling of freedom that just can't be matched by anything else.

I stopped myself from reaching for my camera and decided to just hold onto the moment. Sometimes, the best travel moments are those that are not captured but are instead stored in the heart as a precious memory.

As we talked about our lives, our dreams, and our travels, I couldn't help but reflect on how this chance encounter with a stranger, in a city that was foreign to me, had opened up a whole new world of possibilities. It made me realize that despite our differences, we all share a common desire to connect with others and experience the richness of life. And in Melbourne, a city that celebrates diversity and inclusivity, that desire is not only embraced but celebrated. 

You see, I've been talking with my friends for some years now about moving to Melbourne to pursue further studies and eventually work there. But there's always something holding me back. Financially speaking, yes, it is expensive to get there but for me, money is not the hardest part. If there's a will, there's always a way to find money. The hardest part for me is leaving my dogs. My mother told me that the dogs are going to be fine with them and that I should go chase my dreams. It's only me that is still holding back. 

It has been seven years since I left the city and settled into a quiet life in my beloved small coastal town. A part of me couldn't imagine myself going back to a life where you're always chasing something. Living in a city, especially a big city, will require a lot of adjustment, energy, and resources. You can't just be chill and do nothing. But a part of me is also excited to see the endless possibilities that await me if I'm willing to take a chance and step out of my comfort zone. 

I am not as adventurous as before, but honestly, is this really it for me? 

The old me could never have imagined working abroad. Despite not having a lot of money, I am earning well in the Philippines. You could say that salary-wise, I can find my stability here. The Philippines is far from perfect, but in terms of its geography, it is nothing short of paradise. But the thing about living in paradise is sometimes, it will make you complacent. People just settle and stop searching for something better.

There's also the thing where I sometimes feel like I don't belong here because my way of life and thinking is very unconventional. That's why I'm always drawn to exploring new places, hoping to find people who share similar views with me. Now that I'm in my thirties, I'm considering the idea of moving to a different country to experience a version of myself that I may have never known if I didn't try.

I prayed to God to give me clarity. And I truly believe that this trip is the answer. For the last 8 years, I have closed so many doors and shut the world so I can focus on healing from past trauma and relationships with family. This trip illuminated my heart and gave me a renewed sense of purpose - that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and that I shouldn't let fear hold me back from pursuing my dreams. 

The man I am holding hands with is so full of stories that it made me realize how much of the world I have shut down all these years. It felt nice to be desired, to have that undivided attention from someone but I was not doing the same. My mind was elsewhere, looking for a place to anchor. I realized that there are still so many things I have yet to acknowledge and work on.  Nobody deserves a mediocre kind of love. That week, a pastor from Hillsong Church said, "Either you do it ALL IN, or not."

The day ended with me walking hand in hand with this gorgeous Italian man as he walked me towards my friends waiting for me. I looked at him and smiled, feeling grateful for the unexpected adventure that had brought us together. It was a moment of spontaneity that I will never forget. I was grateful for this moment of connection with a kindred spirit.

That night I went to bed with a tinge of ache in my heart. Sometimes, you pray for something and you get answers immediately. Like an unexpected slap in the face. And you realize, the answer has been right in front of you all along. All there's left to do is to make a decision.

Maybe, just maybe, Melbourne could be the place where I find my next chapter. Be that as it may, it is a big decision that I still need to consider carefully. And I trust I will never be alone in making it.