All it took was a run on the beach.
A spectacular sunset, drum and bass pounding in my ears, waves chasing my trainers as I danced with the ocean.
And I knew.
The salty air was tinged with the heady scent of possibility; I inhaled questions, I exhaled trembling intrigue.
Hidden promises were painted in the red sunset, challenging me to come and dance on the ocean with them.
The beach that night was tickling my soul into submission, teasing me in a lusty whisper…. Are you coming to play?
I stood at the water’s edge, sweaty and out of breath, endorphins coursing through my veins to the rhythm of deep house, and let me tell you that’s a heady mix.
Sometimes when I run, and the music is intoxicating, and the sky is burning, and nature dumps her drugs in my system, well, its hedonism at its purest.
You feel alive, euphoric, like you could fly, like you could burst with happiness. Lost in the moment of this soaring embrace, I tell the tide, Yes, I think I would like to buy a car, and I think I would like to drive it somewhere.
And then like a crazed lunatic, I stand and laugh at the ocean, unable to stem the flow of endorphins pumping through my body. I grin at nothing, at everything, like a drunk hobo; till Deadmau5 pushes me over the edge and I’m now full on dancing.
Alone on the beach, as the stars chase the sunset back into the waves, and the tide kisses my socks with playful lips.
I squelch my way back home and, abandoning my soaked socks and salty trainers in an excited forgotten heap, I begin my Gumtree search for a 4wd.
And there it started.
Because I’m happy, happy, happy, happy
Of course, last time I wrote, I was on a goat farm.
So allow me to bring you up to date.
Having spent New Year’s Eve in the arse end of nowhere (though, nevertheless, I had a blast that night), I had decided that I wanted to be somewhere semi-normal (read, less bogan) for Australia Day on the 26th of Jan.
So at the end of Jan I left my goat farm- it was time to head back to Perth and find a job.
So I moved back to Perth. And I found a job.
And I found somewhere to live.
It took me about a week, and my suspicions that life is easier in Australia were confirmed once again.
Then, for the next two months, it was the good life.
My existence consisted of three very important components: I worked, I partied and I went to the beach.
I’d love to impress you with more exciting or profound tales, but it turns out that shopping, clubbing and tanning is actually immensely enjoyable.
And the sunshine, the lifestyle, the great job, the beach, the amazing house-share, the people, the relaxed atmosphere, the new friends, the fun, the excitement and an aggressive amount of dancing till the sun came up… it all just agreed with me so perfectly.
The weight fell off me, my skin was browner, my hair was blonder, and I was fitter and healthier than ever before.
And I felt euphorically happy.
The kind of happiness that comes with putting two fingers up to convention, getting on a plane, alone, and then leading a life you have deliberately CHOSEN for yourself.
It’s the kind of deep contentment borne of striking out on your own, and it being intoxicatingly life affirming; the payoff from being a grateful participant, not a passive observer, of life.
And, if it’s possible, I fell even more in love with Perth.
It felt like coming home, to a home I never even knew I had, till I arrived and put my feet up and sighed contentedly over a cup of tea.
I love you, Perth
Some people give Perth a bashing- she’s isolated, relatively quiet compared to the east coast cities, and yes, she’s expensive.
But looked at another way, these are actually all positives; defining threads woven into Perth’s unique tapestry of character.
Her apparent ‘quietness’ means that in reality the great nights and quirky bars are mostly just tucked away, a little more secret.
Which is always exciting- an invitation to chase hidden promise and revel in the heady discovery of clandestine excitement, typified in that exhilarating moment you stumble upon an alternative bar tucked down an unassuming side street.
You’re part of a secret, you’re in the know, and Monday morning will hear you whisper hedonism in curious ears.
There is wealth in Perth, and wherever there is wealth, there is usually an excellent quality of life for those in employment. Yes, the bubble created by the mining industry in WA certainly will make your weekly shop more expensive, but it will also inflate your wages far, far, beyond the cost of living.
The city screams disposable income, the leisure and hospitality industries thrive, and people wear their tanned contentment proudly on their yuppie sleeves as they leave the office at 3pm to head to the beach (this is a city of 7am starters).
So you can sip nice cocktails, in nice rooftop bars, wearing a nice outfit, and plan a nice vacation, and buy a nice car, and still have more than enough for life’s mundane expenses (yuck, bills), which sadly in London are ALL you can afford, and even then only just.
At least, this has been my experience here; four months in Oz and I have a car, small savings and lots of shopping, without even touching any of my British money. Then again, I’m a long-term backpacker who is a self professed budgeting master; my entire adult life I’ve had the mentally of a paranoid squirrel who can never save enough.
So maybe I’m not normal.
But I AM endlessly appreciative that I chose WA and her glorious riches. And to those that say Perth is expensive, I say… Get a job. And then sit back and enjoy that overpriced beer with your generous minimum wages, because you’re still better off than anywhere else.
Perth is the most isolated city in the world. True, but I love that. It’s unique. It breeds a distinctive character, an independent, stand-alone, pride not found elsewhere in Australia.
This is the home of the expat, of which there are many, including a huge number of Brits who have escaped to sunnier climes and are intoxicatingly passionate regarding the comparative horrors of rainy old England.
‘You couldn’t pay me to go back’, though of course they never intended to settle here.
Perth draws you in like that.
It is a melting pot of wanderers nestling in a bosom of unexpected homeliness.
The warm climate is like an old friend’s embrace, while the soothing Indian Ocean breeze is nature’s air conditioning.
You’re just a picnic in the park, a rooftop party, a weekend on the beach, a wine and a sunset away from wanting to stay forever.
Because you breathe in her sunny air, and you walk her pristine uncrowded beaches, and you KNOW that life is undeniably GOOD.
But stood on Scarborough beach that beautiful night, I knew it was time to move on. There is a season for everything, and sometimes you just need to look at the sensual world around you, breathe it all in, and listen when the universe is calling you onwards once more.
So I let the sunset tickle my inquisitive soul into acquiescence; submitting, with little resistance it has to be said, to the intoxicating lure of the Indian Ocean, and the twinkling temptations of undefined journeys, which winked enticingly down at me from the resplendent infinity above.
The beach was my mistress, and I would follow her North.