I’ve been wrestling with a tough decision over the past few weeks. It involved a lot of sleepless nights, questioning of my own abilities, and maybe a casual bout of freaking the f*** out.
I’m moving back to Adelaide.
My heart hurts reading that sentence and I’ve only spoken it once even though I signed my contract for a new job earlier in the week while sitting at Sydney Airport. I’m in denial about leaving Melbourne. I’m just not ready to face that reality.
What about Melbourne?
I moved to Melbourne 9 years ago. While I haven’t been there for the entirety of that time – I lived in the US for 4-months, UK on-and-off for five-years, and returned to Adelaide for 8-months – this time is different.
Having slowed my travel schedule down considerably over the last two years, Melbourne has felt more and more like home. Starting my Master of Marketing degrees at Swinburne University earlier in the year, finding an awesome housemate (who was originally an airbnb guest), and a steady group of friends, most who are travellers themselves and understand I won’t be at every social event; I’ve come to feel settled for the first time. The only area of my life that has been unpredictable has been my work.
I’ve flirted with advertising agencies, worked at a not-for-profit, but spent the majority of my time freelancing over the years. Right now, copywriters are in high demand and the bulk of the work I’ve been taking on, but I don’t actually enjoy copywriting articles and dread accepting each new job.
My friends – many who are bloggers as well – encourage me to continue to grow my site, but Bitten by the Travel Bug has always felt more like a passion than work. It’s nice to earn some money, to freelance write for brands and magazines, but it all goes straight back into the travel fund. Travel Bug is a place I can share my experiences and practice advertising & social media skills I may not be able to try with my larger clients. So, still, I continue to seek for the right role.
That was until a few weeks ago.
As a bit of a joke, an old friend who was one of the OG Aussie bloggers back in the day and had recently moved to my hometown, reached out to me a few weeks ago.
“I see you’re seeking new opportunities in digital marketing. Any interest in moving back to Adelaide? :P”
I responded in jest that I would consider it.
It was a coincidence that I was heading back to Adelaide that weekend to celebrate my birthday that coming Thursday. On Friday, I met with him. I extended my trip to meet his manager on Monday.
After a nerve-wracking interview in which I developed a serious case of foot-in-mouth disease and a two-week long wait back home in Melbourne, I got offered the job.
In my heart, I knew that this role is one I shouldn’t pass up. I’ll be working as the Digital Coordinator at the Adelaide Football Club; at my football team; the one I’ve been barracking for since I was young (despite my Dad’s attempts to get me to cheer on the other South Australian team, his team, Port Adelaide). The opportunity to work at one of – if not – the best digital teams in Australian sports is hard to say no to; even more so considering the roles are rarely advertised (trust me, I’ve been looking for years!) It looks like it’s going to be a dynamic role where I can practice a huge range of skills and no two days are the same. Best of all: they already have great copywriters, so I’ll only be doing it for social and on an ad-hoc basis. That I can deal with!
My head was not, is not, happy at the thought of leaving Melbourne and, even now, I’m still somewhat in denial that I’m moving back; at least for the next three months. Part of me says it’s a step backwards, which I realistically know it isn’t; but I left Adelaide for a purpose and I don’t quite feel like I’ve fulfilled that purpose.
Even when I signed the contract, created the spreadsheet with what I need to do before I move or as I packed my suitcase last night, I didn’t fully accept that I was moving. I’m not ready to leave Melbourne, but this opportunity is too good to pass up.
I’m torn about how I feel about the move. On one hand, I’m excited, elated in fact, about the chance to work with such a vibrant team where I can learn and grow, but I feel incredibly sad to leave the city at the same time.
Friends have moved on, married, and many have had kids. Adelaide is exactly the same but entirely different from the last time I lived there.
It’s the little things which add up and will be nice. I’ll be near family which will mean long Sunday drives (when I’m not working!) or family dinners. One of my closest friends still lives in Adelaide while completing his PhD. I’ve already asked him to schedule a weekly gym session/martial arts/hang out session which is always fun. Also, I’m excited to be near the beach again.
Melbourne is situated on a bay and the beaches are average, to say the least. Growing up my life was always near a beach; my primary school was near the beach, my friends and I hung out at the beach, and I tried to drive (or take the bus by) the beach at every opportunity I got. Even as the weather continues to grow colder, you can count on finding me down there 1-3 times a week, grabbing a coffee or going for a run.
Most of all, I’m excited to see how Adelaide has changed. Since leaving, Adelaide has further evolved as a food and cultural destination. Some of the people I went to High School with have been part of the revitalisation of Adelaide’s laneway scene, opening great cafes, cool bars, and other small businesses.
The Port Adelaide area, around 15 minutes away from where I grew up in West Lakes and considered a rough area, has become the home to Adelaide’s hipster scene. The waterfront is bustling with new restaurants, including one very tasty American BBQ restaurant I have my eye on trying soon!
Will you come back to Melbourne?
I still have my apartment in Melbourne. I
can’t don’t want to break the lease since it’s in an incredible location and I pay well below the average rent in the neighbourhood. It also makes sense to keep it because I will be paying very low rent in Adelaide until I find out if my contract is extended past three months.
Then, there’s the matter of my Master’s degrees which I’m determined to finish. When that will be, I don’t know right now, but it will happen. There are two conferences I’ll be attending in Melbourne as part of my degree over the coming months so that will save me spending money on accommodation in Melbourne and a chance to bring more clothes/stuff over if I need. Plus, I have a road trip planned next weekend with the lovely Brittany before she heads back to the US which will see me back in Melbourne for a few hours at least.
My bags may be packed to head to Adelaide right now, but Melbourne is the city I can see myself living in for the rest of my life. I’ve got to jump into this new role and learn all I can from the people around me, enjoy the time I have living so close to family, and keep my eyes on the future.
Melbourne, I love you. I’ll be back real soon.