The year of being 25 was very different to that of 24. That’s not to say I didn’t have amazing adventures that took me abroad or that life wasn’t interesting. I did and it was. I travelled interstate and to the U.S, went to a plethora of festivals, finally felt the stable hand of a steady income and had the opportunity to live with a good friend.
But there was something wholly off-kilter with 2014 and it was with little more than a sigh of relief and a gulp of red wine that I brought in the new year.
I’m a big believer in new beginnings, which is probably why I’ve moved more times than I’m prepared to acknowledge and now find myself living in a new city with an ocean between my old life and new (okay, that’s a little dramatic, it’s actually just the Bass Strait and I’m only a hop, skip, jump away from familiarity).
So now I’m 26, starting a new degree and living in a city with a population so small that I am guaranteed to see a man, who I politely rejected for being 40 years my senior, during my weekly shop at the supermarket down the road (yes, that did happen and yes, I’m still disturbed).
Aside from the creepy old man, my new city has proved to be a good decision. Blue skies, crisp air and friendly locals make it a welcoming place. The smell of fish’n’chips down by the wharfs is a constant, as is my desire to eat said fish’n’chips.
There’s the old ways here (the Devonshire teas, old man pubs and folk asking me where I’m from and if I was born here), then there are the new (pop-up restaurants, food vans and the Museum of Old and New Art). You can linger in the city centre, which feels a little like Bendigo Shopping Mall on an average day or make your way out of town to one of the many parks encompassing this tiny metropolis with it’s trembling heart beat. After a week spent in Hobart I already have a few favorite haunts. Mather’s Place for lolling in the sun, Criterion Street Café for good coffee and a thought out menu, the Tip Shop for undiscovered bargains and Queen’s Domain for its kilometers and kilometers of walking tracks complete with stunning views, native birds and Australian bush.
Over the weekend I spent my time down at the docks with the majority of Hobart’s population for a biennial event, the Wooden Boat Festival. I’m not that interested in boats (if even at all) but was drawn by the attention to detail in their making, hues of wood and boat culture. As dusk settled I quickly realized that the festival is divided into those who have boats, those who have friends who have boats, and those who have neither. I traipsed around the docks photographing boats teeming with merriment, cheese and wine. Those on the boats looked out at the people admiring their crafts with the look of someone who has just stepped out of an expensive car and caught the eye of a transfixed passerby. One particular woman was so focused on locking eyes with ‘those who have neither’ that she didn’t notice her friends had drifted into an awkward silence as they waited for her to respond.
As the sun struck its final defiant beams of light and the waters reflection danced on the hulls of the boats the air suddenly felt alive and warm with easy living. After a few more photographs I stepped away from the scene and made my way back home to my little abode in Glebe. On a side note my housemate and I received a flyer in the mail today from the Glebe Progressive Society, inviting us to a discussion on the NBN and a dinner. More than a little intrigued…. And on even more of a side note, apparently Richard Flanagan lives just around the corner…