Picture: Michael Zimmer
Wanderlust: a very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world.
So hey listen, I’m not here to preach or propose or even offer you the chance to escape whatever it is beguiling you at this minute or moment in time. I’m not here to tell you WHY you should move, explore, discover or even dream. I’m here to tell you WHY you should want to.
Leaving home, which was London at the time, was hard. Full stop. I had a life, a ‘wife’ and an expensive kitchen knife, in fact I had a whole set (excellent metaphor, I’ll explain later). I was old before my time, in a job I did not want (despite my self-righteous proclamations that I did), in a sweet Shoreditch apartment I could barely afford and gaining weight faster than Simon Cowells wallet. And there it was the offer of a way out, in the form of a cheap ass plane ticket to the land Down Under.
Like I said, I had my own reasons for leaving plus a whole throng more and it’s not so much running away as it is running towards something else. Do not let yourself become stale in your world where people are creatures of habit or monsters of monotony, if something is becoming tiresome or irksome, change it, forge your own path. Hmmm maybe I am preaching a little. Forgive me, please.
Australia was meant to be the beginning of my new blockbuster (in which I, of course, am the star) Aisa was meant to make up the middle with some other country or continent concluding my Oscar winner. But it never happened. I never left Australia. I couldn’t. This country or this city of mine is alive, not New York alive, not Singapore alive, Sydney alive. No matter where we go in the world, whoever we are we will all have different experiences. I have been to many cities in many countries and lived in some fantastic ones too; London, Toronto, Murcia and now Sydney. I’ve lived aboard ships, above and below restaurants, forging a living from scrubbing dishes to watering plants to shaking some cocktails and now finally running a bar and restaurant, one of the new top 10 rated in Sydney. All I’m saying is, in every city, in every country there is opportunity, but in Australia right now it is rife. There’s opportunity on every corner, staring every Tom, Dick and Joe in the face.
Splitting from the boys – my best friends – was hard. I wasn’t in the right place mentally; I was seeking something new and fresh for myself and knew it had to be done alone. And I know what you could be thinking; “Who are you to talk like this!?”, and you’d be right, I am absolutely, positively not qualified to give anyone life advice (anyone who knows me will testify to that) but I am someone who discovered it for himself, the entire way. I wanted to do it with friends; it just never made sense when it happened.
So I set off to Sydney, left Melbourne, the young, vibrant, hugely cultural city that it is for “bright lights” of Sydney, much to the dismay of my Melbourne friends. I was alone, with half a friend in Sydney who allowed me use of his couch in Bondi Beach for a couple weeks and for that I will never thank him enough.
Here is where the party started. I never left that house, a room came available and I snatched at it. 2 English boys (myself included), 1 Italian girl, 2 French guys, a Dutch guy and an American girl (she couldn’t resist me). I didn’t want to live in a backpackers house, but rent was cheap and it was 30 yards from the beach – I was not in a position to complain.
Within a week I found a job bartending (management, like in London was the furthest thing from my mind) in a small yet popular restaurant in Bondi. From here I had one of the greatest summers of my life, the amount of people from all different walks of life from Latvia to Chile, American to Nigerian, friends of friends of friends who crashed on our couch, on our floor in our garage, was outrageous. I would get home from work and the living room would be full of people, laughing, joking, smoking and drinking. Life was a party. And you don’t realise it, until someone reminds you of how lucky you are. I spent my days waking up, going for coffee, strolling down to the beach, trying (and failing) to surf, working from 5-1 and going home to a whole house welcoming me with open arms.
For 7 months that’s how I lived my life, and I look back at it with a great deal of fondness and affection. It wasn’t healthy or smart but it was so much fun. Unfortunately, that’s where the fairytale ends (well not quite). That house was knocked down, that beautiful, rare 7 bedroomed house right on the beach, knocked down to make way for apartments. The owners of the restaurant I worked at had promoted me and were looking to open up yet another venue and wanted me there.
So here I am, in a matter of a year I have gone from unstable backpacker attempting to forge my own path, to finding a foreign family in Bondi, to moving into the city with 3 close friends in a beautiful house that I lease (and a brand new set of kitchen knives), in a job that pays well and with Australian publications asking me to contribute literature every month. I have hosted an industry TV show and have my own company; DrinkSydney. This is a whole different kind of fun, dare I say it, a more mature kind? Big LOLZ. But this isn’t about me anymore, this is about you and what you want. I’m still a nobody, you’ve never heard of me, but I’m happy and Australia did that. You can have a life, a wife and en expensive kitchen knife anywhere, don’t be afraid to change something. Now go find your route, find your path, but here’s to hoping it leads to Australia. I’ll drink to that.
See you at the bar.
Joe Worthington: Writing where he wants, when he wants.
A big thanks to Joe for writing this post for us!