This trip was very last minute. And with this could only find an early flight to the Gold Coast, which meant that I needed take an hour long train journey up to Brisbane. But this was fine as I had much more time on Saturday evening to see some friends and old work colleagues for a catch up.
The weather getting into Gold Coast was mixed, but one thing I noticed was the difference in temperature to Melbourne. I got that holiday feeling the moment I left the plane as the warm tropical Queensland air hit me walking into the terminal.
The weather was nice enough for this stunning sunset as I made my way north.
The good thing about the train is that it drops me off right here. The hotel I used to work in.
I had such a fun experience working here, and I think it may be the best place I have ever worked in terms of actually enjoying going to work. It was right in the city centre and if Brisbane had something going on we would usually play a part. I was actually gutted when I left Brisbane for Melbourne, the only saving grace was that Melbourne is a fantastic city with a lot going on. But coming back to the warmth and going in to see some on my friends there was nice, although it made me miss it even more.
What I love about hospitality is that every day is different. You never know what is going to happen, for better or worse. But the bad days help with personal development, and the good days are great memories. I think that is why I have stayed in the industry for so long, and I have been very fortunate to have worked in the same chain in three Australian cities now. Despite the six month working holiday restriction, transfers are possible and this has kept me in employment within the chain.
What I also love about Brisbane is it’s size. Not as hectic as Sydney or Melbourne but just the right amount of everything for it to be a fun city to live in. After finishing my farmwork in the middle of nowehere and travelling down the east coast in fun yet small destinations, Brisbane seemed like New York City. However after moving to Melbourne and revisiting I can see why it gets labeled ‘a big country town’. Limited options on a Sunday, a city centre you can walk through fairly quickly, it is growing rapidly but it isn’t quite comparable to Melbs or Sydney yet. But I love this big country town and out of the three, it may be my favourite to live in so far.
But each city has it’s perks, Sydney has the landmarks and Melbourne has amazing food. I think it would be unfair to have a ‘favourite’ as each have their own strengths and differing identities.
I crossed the river to meet my friend, who I met during my 88-days farmwork. Coincidentally he was born just up the road from me in the north east of England and even more of a coincidence is that he shares the same birthday as me.
And for this reason the beers started and my camera roll ended.
The night got pretty messy pretty fast, which I guess is not surprising for a milestone birthday. Especially with a friend that is celebrating on the same day. My only regret was not being sober enough by the time I met the others to get some group shots, but what can you do. Two guys that used to live in Newcastle going out for drinks is always going to go downhill fast.
It is also fairly strange being away from home on a birthday, let alone a 30th, and is never going to be the same as it would be back home. There will never be that big sense of occasion and I guess with that I was content with it being low key. It was a sacrifice I knew I was going to have to make at the time when I was arranging the visa, and long term solo travel always comes with some sacrifices. We just have to ensure that the sacrifices are worth the journey, and to me I can have a big 31st instead. The opportunity to travel isn’t always there, or at least being convinced enough to book that one way ticket.
But I am glad I chose to enter my thirties here. It felt right and I was back in a city that has given me so many memories and great friends in and outside of work. I think any future visits to Australia wouldn’t be right without stopping by this great city and I am grateful to feel welcome every time.
Hopefully this won’t be the last time.
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