The last time I left Wodonga – the town I reluctantly call home – was in November 2013. I have wanted to leave it again ever since.
You see, I’m not the biggest fan of this rather desolate, uninspiring town. There is nothing to do. Nothing to see. Nothing to become passionate about. There are only a scattering of shops selling the same mundane, unessential items and an arts scene so miniature it barely registers. For a place to mean something to me, it needs to challenge me, it needs to inspire me, it needs to take my passion and multiply it ten fold. London does this. Inverness does this. Vancouver does this. Wodonga does not. All Wodonga does is suffocate me. All this insipid, uneventful town does is squeeze the passion from my soul leaving nothing but a hollowed out husk of nothingness.
So, it is with great relief that I can announce I will be leaving Wodonga.
Alas, not forever.
Just for a holiday.
But it is a holiday I’ve been waiting over eighteen months for, and a holiday that I cannot wait to begin. Last week, after months of trying to make it work, I finally got my finances in order (with a lot of help from my parents) to afford a seven-day break to Melbourne. I leave on the 19th August for seven days of fun and frivolity in the capital of Victoria. For seven whole days I get to explore the city, bathe in its culture, soak up its arts and feed the passion that has gone hungry for far too long.
I will be going to the art galleries. I will be going to the museum. I will be going to the ocean. I will be going to Lord of the Fries! I will be going to a gathering on the 21st that will challenge my social anxiety to its core. I will be doing anything and everything my heart desires; everything that it has wanted to do, but Wodonga has prevented, for the last eighteen months.
I cannot wait!
And I’m not the only one.
Meadhbh has been exceedingly excited ever since I booked the accommodation. She’s been throwing in her two cents worth about what we should be getting up to. She’s eager to spend time looking at the awesome street art that decorates many of Melbourne’s alleys and laneways. She’s keen to window shop all the elegant clothing stores that she knows we can’t afford to buy anything from. And she’s made me promise we’ll go to the aquarium to wave at all the fishes, penguins and turtles.
Audrey too is excited about the impending excursion. She, more than me, feels culturally hungry due to the dearth of options available in Wodonga. She loves art and everything to do with this avenue of life, so she cannot wait to roam the corridors of the NGV again, soaking in all the fantabulous art that is on offer. Shay, is keen to check out all the hipster chicks and professional totty (his words) that populate this international destination. He believes there is far more feminine talent on offer in Melbourne than Wodonga and is eager to perve on as many people as he possibly can. Whilst Vanessa, ever the abusive sociopath, is looking forward to reminding me of all the pain and torment that I’ve experienced in Melbourne throughout my years there.
And she’s right. However excited I am about visiting Melbourne, however overjoyed I am at being able to spend some time away from Wodonga, it is not going to be easy. I will be bombarded with memories of not only my abusive relationship but also the years I spent homeless, destitute and forgotten on Melbourne’s fair streets. Those memories may overwhelm me at times, so I’m going to have to be careful, to be alert to triggers and potential minefields, but I refuse – stubbornly so – to let this impact on my first holiday in over a year and a half. Melbourne has been bad to me – but for many years, it was good to me. And it is these memories I hope will float to the surface. After all, I need – nay, deserve – to have a good time.
For it’s been far too long since happiness visited me.
Nine sleeps to go…