Blog this: Challenge 5 – The holiday.

Everyone loves Holidays. Everyone has had a holiday – be it a great big backpacking adventure, a luxury weekend away,a caravan trek as a kid with the family taking in Big Bananas, Big Prawns, Big Pineapples et al, Camping in the neighbours yard under the stars for a few nights. Elaborately planned holidays, impromptu ‘let’s get out of here’ holidays. Blog about a holiday you’ve had that stands out – adventure, relaxation, family, friends, disaster, hilarious events! Who were you with? Where did you go? What made it so memorable? Share a photo if you want!

During my undergrad, I’d get on a bus and go when I was really sick of things. In my honours year, we had a very bad period in my flat where everybody was at each other’s throats. Before that’d happened, the four of us had tossed about the idea of going over to Aus (this was in NZ) to celebrate out combined 21sts. That never happened. What did happen was me booking a ticket to Melbourne for a week in mid-winter, getting on a plane and going. Of course, I’d had the sense to pre-book accommodation at a YHA but that was pretty much it.

I’d not slept the night before, needing to be at the airport at 4am and by the time I finally got to my backpackers, it’d had all started to feel like A Very Bad Idea. I knew nobody, New Zealand was a long way away, and I couldn’t press an “escape key” – got know, get on a bus and go home – like I could when it was just a visit to the next city. I remember getting a phone card and calling my parents because there were no damn supermarkets to be found. I asked in exasperation “don’t these people eat?!” It turns out they did. Nobody had told me to look underground.

A teary first day gave way to an excited next, and so on and so forth, as it sank in that I was in Melbourne; a dream destination of mine for many years, and by golly, I was going to be a tourist. I went everywhere: Williamstown by boat (the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had was at the Groove Train there. Also where I bought my first Loreena McKennit cd), St Kilda by tram, the Botanic Gardens and Shrine of Remembrance. I bought quite a bit at Bridge Road, Southbank and Fitzroy. Saw Phar Lap at the Museum, Spiderman at the cinema, Van Gough at the NGV, and the Reading Room at the State Library. The Victoria Markets too, were wonderful. I bought all my food from there and it was just something else.

I walked just about every square inch in the CBD, on campus, and Lygon street. I learnt so much about myself on that trip. Especially when I had barely enough money for the shuttle to the airport with a day and a half left in the country. Despite my initial fears of it being a very bad idea, I had a great time. (Just don’t ask my parents or the Magpie how often I called them).

As for memories, I have one tattooed on my arm. I had decided many moons before what I was going to do for my 21st. Another tat. A particularly special tat. It took six months of careful research to make sure everything was right, and I carried it around in my wallet for another six. When I walked past the Vic Markets tattoo parlour something told me “this is the place you want to go to”. So I did. The lad who inked me had never read any Tolkien, and hadn’t seen the films. I had to chuckle at the irony of that. He did an amazing job, and it crowned an adventurous trip.

I think about that holiday every time I see that tattoo, and it makes me smile.



  1. I lived in Melbourne for many years and no matter where I go in the world it will always be home to me. I’ve had two tattoos done at the vic market tattoo place and had my nipples pierced there as well (is that too much information I wonder lol). What a wonderful city.

  2. Melbourne was my first trip as an adult without the family! I’ve been back a few times now and it holds some very nice memories!

    I’d love to see a photo of the tattoo!

  3. you mentioned this post today and I wasn’t sure if I could remember it. and now I see it was posted on the 19th. It mustn’t have come up in my reader because I swear I didn’t read this before now!

    It sounds like a real coming of age sort of trip. Wonderful.

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