I’m off to the Sydney Royal Easter Show soon – sadly my date for tonight came down with a bug, so I am going on my own. I am looking forward to taking photos and film and giving you a glimpse of night at the show soon!
I was lucky enough to stay at the Shangri la hotel recently – not looking east toward the Opera House and sunrise, but west to spectacular views that you don’t often see of Sydney and a fabulous sunset…
I lived in Melbourne before I moved to Sydney. Specifically in Richmond, and before then Prahran when I was at university.
Back then Prahran was the poor cousin to, well, just about every other inner Melbourne suburb. The process of gentrification hadn’t really taken hold and it was still a cheap place to live. Affordable to students and just a short walk from where I studied. But the area was somewhat down at heal. Most of the pubs were still typical inner city dives – dark, smelling of beer, and inhabited by people there to drink away the day and forget. It wasn’t an inspiring landscape.
When we look back on our lives, we have pictures in our heads of the way that places were when we knew them. But nothing stays the same. Everything changes. Life moves on. Especially so in cities. But memories are comfortable places. They don’t challenge us, or ask us to change, or better ourselves. In fact they can be excellent excuses for not changing. For staying the same.
Last week while I was in Melbourne, I was lucky enough to have time to walk down Chapel St on Saturday night. Chapel St (for those of you who don’t know Melbourne) runs from Richmond, all the way down to St Kild. Through South Yarra and Prahran.
When I lived there, Chapel St had two faces: the glamorous South Yarra end and the down-at-heal Prahran end. Walking from one end to the other was to see a (certain) cross-section of life and culture in Australia.
Not any more.
I was truly stunned by what I saw. I had intended to only go half way down Chapel St, then turn right and head back to my hotel. But when I reached the half way point I was amazed to see that the glitter of South Yarra now spilled on into Prahran. Even the South Yarra end was more alive. More restaurants, more people, more activity – More life!
And it just went on and on… The further I walked, the bigger the change. The few restaurants in Prahran and the dingy shops have been replaced with more eating places than I could count – it seemed like every third shop front was a restaurant. And the shops themselves were now much more up market. And everywhere were people! Masses of them. When once Chapel St was a bit of a desert, even on Saturday night, now it was positively crowded! Tables full of people clogged the footpath, security staff stood guard at door after door of trendy pubs, clubs, and eateries. And everywhere were people going too and fro.
It was like nothing I ever expected to see in my old home.
And it was invigorating!
Not expecting to see anything of note, I didn’t bother to take my camera and sadly my phone battery died as well, so I only have a few photos to share. I tried to capture the moment, but it’s not an easy thing to do with such a brief photo essay.
Having walked the length of Chapel St and confirmed that my favourite theatre (The Astor) was indeed still there, I turn off Chapel St, walking past my old university (much renovated and upgraded I saw) and into the comparative darkness and quiet of High St, heading back to my hotel.
The walk gave me time to think. And the lesson that my exploration of Chapel St was trying to teach me was this: life is about change – or more to the point: life should be about change.
Especially when we are talking about ourselves. Places that stay the same, that don’t evolve, don’t challenge us. They allow us to be comfortable with who and what we are. They allow us to not grow. The extreme changes in Chapel St made me realise that not only were the memories that I had of that place no-longer current, but that my attitude toward that place was not even relevant any more! It made me stop and ask the question of _who_ I really am. Am I the person who went to university there? Are the ideas and attitudes that were shaped by that place – that doesn’t even exist any more – still useful and relevant? Was I living in the past? Did I need to look harder at myself?
The answer was and is: yes. We always need to be looking at ourselves, asking ourselves whether the ideas and beliefs that we hold are still relevant? Or are they holding us back from doing and being what we need to be? Are we letting the past dictate our future? Is it time to build a new life that gives us the things that we really want?
I wouldn’t expect Youtube to throw up instructional life lessons, but someone there threw up some ideas that mesh well with my exploration of Chapel St. He said words to the effect of: you need to stop regularly and ask yourself “Am I doing the one thing that I really want to be doing with my life?”. If the answer is no, then that is what you need to do.
Of course not everyone can simply change the course of their lives. We all have commitments and history that place limits on us. But the lesson is sound: we need to be constantly assessing ourselves and our life and making the changes that we need to make to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled.
This about the hardest, most scary thing that most people can do. We are hemmed in from day to day by responsibilities, by “conventional wisdom”, by expectations, by our own fear of change. But we can’t let that stop us.
We have to be brave – because the world simply WILL NOT WAIT for us. It will change around us. It will not care how difficult life will become. So it is up to every one of us to take on that challenge and find a way to thrive.
Tasmania is beautiful. If you have never been there, I highly recommend it. I was lucky enough to stay on the east coast, near Feycinet National Park (pronounced frey-sin-ay) for three nights recently. It is a truly magnificent area with rugged mountains, beautiful beaches (with rather cold water this time of year!), fabulous fresh produce, beautiful wildlife, and much to see and do.
I will share below, some photos that I took, but I also want to talk about how it made me feel. Sometimes trips away can be exhausting, but I truly found this place to be a pleasure to visit and for reasons that I can’t explain, it was a relaxing and refreshing experience. No hustle and bustle perhaps. Fresh air and good food. Exercise, but no grind and stress. I came home feeling truly invigorated by the experience and curious to see more of Tasmania one day.
The lesson that it taught me is that the world is a remarkable place. Worthy of exploration. Worthy of protection. And as people we often forget this. We are wrapped up in lives that don’t afford us the time, energy, or money to really appreciate the beauty and fun of the world.
The same can be said for sex and our sexuality. Like quiet enjoyment of nature, being able to enjoy sex means that we need to be able to put aside the worries of the day and of life and truly be in the moment. Not an easy thing to do in a busy world where everything else takes priority in our lives – and society is so often busy sending us mixed messages about sex and what part it should play in our lives.
I hope that you enjoy the photos below.
All good things must come to an end, but this is hardly a disappointing place to fly home to!
Not long now! I will be in Melbourne in just over a week. My flights are booked, accommodation is sorted – and I have one time still available (on Saturday night) for anyone who would like to experience some first class sensual indulgence…
Melbourne, I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!
I try to fit in a little art on my travels…
It’s spring in Sydney, the weather is fine, and it’s time for the beach. What could be more grand than that?
this short film contains nudity and is NOT SAFE FOR WORK
If you would like your own grand day out (or night in) with me, then drop me a line.
Melbourne cops more than its share of flack for bad weather, but today I haven’t a bad word to say. I left Sydney in the pouring rain and arrive to a dry Melbourne. So thank you Melbourne! I appreciate it – and am looking forward to the next few days here.
And I have a lovely view of Albert Park as well…