I’ve never lived in the city before. I’m a suburban girl through and through. But when I moved to Melbourne, I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I wanted to be on the doorstep to everything.
I have just about reached the end of my first week here, and so far, that’s exactly where I seem to be. Great coffee? Three minute walk. Live music? One minute walk out the back door. Podiatrist? Ten minute walk down the street. Tram? Out the front door. Hairdresser? Ten minute walk down the road. Art galleries? Five to ten minutes out the door.
There’s something to be said for having everything you need at your fingertips. In the long run, is it going to make me go to the dentist more often? Or buy my Christmas presents earlier? I’m not sure. But at first glance it seems all the things I never had time for back in Perth (apart from my job taking up my whole life), because living in the suburbs these things simply weren’t in my face.
I can’t describe the feeling of thinking to yourself ‘what cuisine do I feel like indulging in today?’ and having it be so close at hand. It’s brilliant to be able to choose from more than just Hungry Jacks or Chinese. Within a five minute walk from my new home, I have Peruvian (actually I don’t even have to leave the building for that one!), meatballs, Sushi, Italian, Indian, pub fare, coffee, sandwiches, salad, new yawk bagels, Greek or Asian. That’s just in one block.
And it’s just as well, because for the first time since I acquired the skills to drive a car, I am without one. I was panicking at first – lack of control staring me in the face – but really there is no need to have one. I have three trams right out the door (including the free city one) and two feet. Of course it takes some getting used to, not being able to load up your car at the shops and then conveniently unload it in your own private driveway, but it also makes you think about what you need to buy and whether you really, really need it. Because let’s face it – at the end of the day, do you really want to carry it home?
I do find myself heading in and out of my apartment all day long to pick up bits and pieces, but I’m lucky I can (and think of all that incidental exercise!). And there is a range of businesses out there that cater for this and provide delivery services – you just have to be prepared to wait around for deliveries.
Back home, you were limited to the number of places even playing good live music, and to be honest, it was a bit of a pain in the rear end trying to work out how to get there and back if you wanted a few drinks (and being a female by herself late at night if you couldn’t manage to drag someone out with you). And it’s not just a being in the suburbs vs city thing either. Perth on the weekend or after hours (unless you are talking Friday arvo drinks) is very quiet. Shoot a gun down St George’s Terrace quiet. Melbourne CBD certainly has its quiet spots and days (Melbourne Cup), but generally speaking there is always something on.
However, there is no substitute for being able to just pop out the door and down the road to see live music. And for me, that’s what it’s about. Ultimately, it’s all about the music.