I’ve now gone through the process of setting myself up in seven international cities in the past two and a half years. That’s not to say I have set myself up in seven international cities. Berlin, Vancouver and Toronto were all, shall we call them – “learning experiences”. But I’ve still looked for apartments and jobs, set up bank accounts (it scares me how many international bank accounts I now have) sorted phone plans and navigated my way around New York, Berlin, London, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Toronto and Melbourne – with the full intention of becoming a resident of each one of them.
You’d think I’d be sick of it – well, in some ways I am and in some ways I’m not.
I’m not sick of the adventure. I’m not sick of being anonymous in a new city, or finding things that I wouldn’t find at home, or meeting complete strangers with interesting stories. And I’ll never be sick of chasing amazing sunsets like this one from Friday night:
I am, however, sick of going to job interviews, researching companies, negotiating phone plans and bank accounts, organising personal identification numbers, doing tax returns for multiple countries and I am definitely sick of going to apartment viewings.
I don’t normally write about things until they’re done – I normally save writing a post until I actually have an apartment, am settled into my job and have my Sunday,” walk to a park, read a book and buy a pressed juice ritual”, sorted. Only then do I pull out my laptop and write my thoughts in a blog post.
This year, as I mentioned, one of my resolutions is to write a weekly post – and I’m determined to keep to it. That means writing through the good, bad and boring patches. It also means writing through the times when my energy is entirely focussed elsewhere (like say, on finding somewhere to live).
After starting a new freelance contract at a South Melbourne advertising agency this past week, (and we all know starting a new job isn’t easy) my mind quickly shifted to the final piece of my moving-to-Melbourne-puzzle – accommodation. Where the hell am I going to live?
Everyone I spoke to claimed that finding an apartment in Melbourne is “easy enough”. Nearly every other city I’ve moved too I’ve been told that finding a place is “unlikely”, “the hardest part of all” and in some cases, “impossible”. I expected Melbourne to be different, so it came as quite a shock when I turned up to my first viewing and thirty other people were there. Needless to say I missed out on the apartment.
To make my situation challenging, I have no Australian lessor references and my New Zealand lessor references are so old they’re almost laughable. I’ve been told that my New York (or other international references) will be thrown into the “too-hard-basket” and, with plenty of other applications, they’ll move on to someone else.
Truth be told, I’ve never actually rented an apartment on my own before – at least not straight from the lessor and certainly never on a 12-month lease. I’ve always lived in Airbnb’s, rented a room or taken short-term temporary leases. In the past two and a half years I’ve stayed in more than thirty different places. While some of them were great – others… well not so much. I’ve stayed in places that had no oven, or kitchen access, places smaller than prison cells and with walls thinner than paper. I once rented a room which turned out to be a living room and I recently took a garage apartment in Melbourne with absolutely no windows. And while my current digs are great – it’s only home for two weeks. It will come as no surprise then that having a place to call my own has now become a priority.
But who knew that finding a place would come with such stress? First of all, the rent itself (especially with the competition) seems phenomenal, add to that the extras – paying for water and having to set up power and WIFI on my own. Seriously, since when do apartments come without the basics like fridges and washing machines?
This, of course, will come as no surprise to those of you who’ve been living in the real world and not renting random places from perfect strangers around the globe, but for me this has been a new experience.
Every city has it’s own unique set of challenges and it seems this is Melbourne’s challenge for me. Sometimes these challenges drive me crazy with stress and frustration – but as my Dad says to me often “you do choose this life Chloe.” Which is a helpful reminder whenever I feel as though the world is against me, especially in the first few weeks of a move.
This week will be filled with apartment searching, my second week in a new job and another accommodation move. To where? I’m not quite sure. I imagine I will have to regularly remind myself that all of this is my choosing in an attempt to live as closely as possible to my dream life.
Today though, on this sunny Sunday, I’m enjoying the heat and looking forward to photographing another St Kilda sunset.
Until next time,
Safe travels xx