It’s hard to believe, but two years ago, I was moving into my studio and ultimate bachelorette pad in Melbourne.
Some of the happiest memories and most cherished moments of my life happened during my 1-year sabbatical when I quit my job, minimized my belongings, and moved 10,500 miles from home. The land was far and foreign, I didn’t know anyone, and I would be living by myself for essentially the first time. At least I knew the language would be the same (relatively speaking…).
I had sailed through Melbourne several times with my job aboard Seabourn, and felt ‘good vibes’ each time we were in port. I found the food excellent, the people friendly, and the arts scene flourishing. What better time than in my twenties to see what the other side of the world had to offer and find out if the toilets did indeed flush the other way? Moving to Melbourne felt like going into uncharted, land-of-opportunity territory.
The process of finding an apartment in Melbourne was unlike anything I had experienced previously. I thought I could handle a tough real estate market, since I had been savvy enough to find apartments in New York years prior. What I didn’t take into consideration was that despite the competitive New York market, New York realtors have so much product they are always ready to show you what is available. In Melbourne, no realtor wanted, or needed, to personally show me anything. The first time I walked into a real estate office, I felt confident and in control when I asked for someone to meet with me and show me listings around the city that fit my criteria. Instead, I was handed a flyer and told, “the open house hours are listed here.” But that couldn’t be right, I thought. I must have walked into a very odd and incompetent office. So I went to several other real estate offices, but consistently yielded the same result. I realized that Melbourne real estate, whether buying or renting, was an obvious seller’s market.
Viewing an apartment felt a lot like being back at auditions. Swarms of people crowded into the tiny spaces though this time, instead of holding headshots they clutched rental applications. It was a meat market. Each renter was surreptitiously sizing one another up, and working hard to prove they were the worthiest of candidates.
I know that luck had a lot to do with me getting the apartment I wanted. I found one that I absolutely adored but was almost sure that I wouldn’t make the cut. When I arrived at my soon-to-be dream home, I was breathing heavy and red-faced, having rushed over from another open house. I felt sheepish, highly embarrassed, and deflated when I looked around and saw the other apartment viewers sporting well tailored blazers, high end shoes, and perfectly coiffed hair. Nevertheless, I pushed back my shoulders and muscled my way in to the apartment. It was the perfect studio: furnished, in a fantastic neighborhood, tons of sneaky storage, and even had a washer and dryer in the unit. New York definitely didn’t have that in my price range. I submitted my application immediately and personally called the realtor after submission to try and plead my case in hopes she would put in a good word to the landlord. So what did luck have to do with landing this apartment? I was the "chosen candidate" because the landlord was in entertainment, and she saw my website when she received my application. Little would I have guessed maintaining a website long after auditions were over would be so beneficial to me!
Reminiscing a lot on my happy year of growth in land Down Under.
Reflecting on my experiences with the world, my neighborhood, and my home.