The last time i left Melbourne, i sold or gave away pretty much everything and only took what i could carry on my bicycle. This was in 1999, now nearly 8 years ago. I can still remember my state of mind when I left. I felt that my life in Melbourne had reached an impasse and that there was nothing to hold me here. My relationship had ended and I’d lost most of my interest in my friends. I could see very little possibilities in Melbourne for meeting new people, for learning new things, for having new experiences, for any form of personal growth. I didnt know what i was heading towards but I knew that I could no longer stay and so anywhere was better than Melbourne. I had it in my mind that I would not return. I was 29 at that time.
This time, when I think about leaving Melbourne and Australia, I feel quite different. In the last few years, I’ve come to know Melbourne as a home and as a place that I can always return to. For one, I’ve a house which I’m not planning to sell. I plan to store most of my stuff in the back-shed and rent the house out. Also, I have a lot more friends here and have found subcultures here that I enjoy and fit in even if I sometimes get impatient. But mainly, it’s because many of the internal reasons that created much of my dissatisfaction with Melbourne have gone.
This time around, when I think about leaving Melbourne, it is not to get away from it or from my life here but to go towards something new, to fulfill an ambition to live, work and travel overseas. It’s a fine difference but the end effect is that I am calmer when making my plans. And when i look around the city even if there is a possibility that it will be a long time before I return, I am not seeing an end but a possible hiatus.
This is something that SG and I do not quite see eye-to-eye on. She has it in mind that this departure will be a permanent one whereas I see Melbourne as one of the many possible future destinations. Still, it’s too early to think too much about this. We have to leave the country first.