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Canberra – aka the Hotel California

By rosebud - 27 September 2008 34

A friend of mine who grew up in Canberra, but no longer lives here, once told me that this town is like the Hotel California: You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.

It depressed me no end. I think I am over it now, sort of.

How many people, including myself, arrived in Canberra with a five year plan, only to realise 15 years later that with a mortgage, a job and a couple of kids, it is the posting that never ends?

With relatives and friend who live in sunny QLD and cosmopolitan Melbourne the topic of when I am going to leave Canberra and the question as to WHY I continue to live here never seems to tire.

Has anyone here ever had a visitor say, “wow, how lucky are YOU to live here! I wish I could!”

What come backs do I have?

What have you used?

What’s Your opinion?

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34 Responses to
Canberra – aka the Hotel California
aronde 11:25 am 28 Sep 08

This is our third year in Canberra after living in Brisbane since birth. We rented our first year here to ensure ‘we could survive the winter’ then gladly purchased and settled in. We seem to get spoiled here and occasionally complain about a 5 minute drive that takes 10 or 15 due to some holdup. We then fly back to Brisbane to visit the relatives and it can take 20 minutes just to get out of the airport and through the Gateway Arterial roundabout! One summer we occasionally complained about the heat here but then went back to Brisbane where we were dripping in sweat from the humidity just taking a walk to the local playground across the road!

So I think yes maybe we do have it good here despite the issues sometimes raised on the Riot. It is all a mater of perspective I guess, all cities have their advantages and disadvantages depending on what you are after from life…

SamTSeppo 10:53 am 28 Sep 08

It’s not a bad city and I’m not at all sure why people are so down on it. Four seasons? Check. Open spaces? Check. Low crime? Check. Things to do? Check. Good local beer? Increasingly, check check check. So what’s wrong with Canberra? Especially for kids, Canberra seems like it would be a fine place to grow up.

At least it’s not Queanbeyan.


miz 10:21 am 28 Sep 08

With you, emd – the last few years have seen a few of the good things about Canberra left to slide (or have been closed/infilled/over-developed) – it is not a ‘better city’ than, say, five years ago, as the ALP keep trying to sell us. That said, however, it is still better than most of Sydney. Let’s face it, most Sydneysiders live nowhere near a beach! Whereas we have the coast, the bush AND the snow.

So long as I don’t get planes flying overhead or a block of flats/dual occupancy next door, and they direct taxpayers’ funds towards real stuff like roads, hospitals and schools and not waste it on daft, pie in the sky stuff like the ‘model’ poo purification plant and the Arboretum, I will remain reasonably content.

Funny though, several people I know have upped sticks for Melbourne over the last year. Melbourne does have a rep for being ‘liveable’ . . .

gun street girl 9:31 am 28 Sep 08

I’ve lived in Sydney, and I now live in Canberra. I like both, but for different reasons. I think it’s silly to compare the two – they are both so dissimilar, it’s kind of futile to square one off against the other as an “either/or” argument.

ant 9:18 am 28 Sep 08

I always ponder on why on earth anyone would subject themselves to living in Sydney. I’ve not arrived at a satisfactory conclusion yet. I imagine the way of thinking of those who choose to live in places like Sydney is the same mode of thought that terms Canberra a bad place to live.

astrojax 8:48 am 28 Sep 08

like swaggie, i have had o/s visitors commend the city and declare it a tempting destination; the last just a week or so ago. i deal with international interlocutors with my job and almost to a man (as the phrase goes) they see, when they lob here, the city’s manifold plusses about which we have gone on ad infinitum in other threads herein.

apart from its grammar, old ben kenobi’s wisdom is pretty much on the money. if you think there are places you’re rather live and in which you’d find yourself happier, why are you here rosebud? make your own list of what you would miss if you were forced to leave canberra, make another about what you want from wherever you might otherwise be – sinney, melbourne, adelaide, woy woy – and then make a list of what attracts you thither, then sit down and compare them.

if nothing else, it will provide you with a document you can hand out to the next tranche of visitors who pester you for your reason for being in this glorious town…

rosebud 10:26 pm 27 Sep 08

Aurelius said :

Those who live in that big horrible place down the road with the big bridge and the opera house believe they live in a far superior place. But we know they’re deluded. Or are we?

“A lot of the truths we cling to depend on a certain point of view” (Obiwan Kenobi)

“You certainly have a way of cutting through the felbercarb.” (Lt. Starbuck)

emd 10:06 pm 27 Sep 08

I moved to Canberra 14 years ago and I’m quite happy to stay. Actually, I tried living in a bigger city for a while, but came back to Canberra as my permanent home. I like the green spaces, decent block sizes, nice people (mostly). I don’t like some of the changes I’ve seen in recent years, but there’s an election soon so I’m hoping for better education and health and local development policies after that.

Deano 9:59 pm 27 Sep 08

Likewise, I came here intending to do 3 years at uni and then take on the world. After 22 years I’m still here with wife, house, mortgage and two kids.

Mrs Deano and I have contemplated moving to be closer to family and better job opportunities. What keeps us here – well, Newsradio for one. Every morning we wake up to Newsradio (103.9 FM) and it has regular traffic reports for all of the major cities in Australia. Every report details numerous accidents, traffic jams and delays, except when they get to Canberra where the report is usually ‘nothing happening in Canberra’ – just the way we like it.

Aurelius 9:54 pm 27 Sep 08

Those who live in that big horrible place down the road with the big bridge and the opera house believe they live in a far superior place. But we know they’re deluded. Or are we?

“A lot of the truths we cling to depend on a certain point of view” (Obiwan Kenobi)

rosebud 9:53 pm 27 Sep 08

rosie_bubz said :

so if u can never leave, where’s your friend gone??

Woy Woy!

rosie_bubz 9:50 pm 27 Sep 08

so if u can never leave, where’s your friend gone??

Feebles 8:50 pm 27 Sep 08

Now that’s just lazy. If you want to move badly enough, make it happen. Save up a “moving fund”. Get onto a job site and find an appealing job in your preferred destination. Apply for it.

Spend a few days in the city you want to live in. Get a feel for what suburbs you’d like to live in. Tour a few real estate agents to see if you’re being realistic about it.

Once you have a job lined up, bundle up the family and make a go of it. You can live in a caravan park to start off with if you have to. That’s what my uncle, aunt and their three kids did when they moved from a tiny 2 br house in western Sydney to the Sunshine Coast (except they didn’t sort out jobs first). Best thing they ever did as their quality of life is so much higher.

Yes, it will be stressful and scary in the leadup to the big move, but in a month, you’ll probably be so settled into your new life the upheaval will be forgotten. That’s what I’m telling myself. My move is not for a couple of years yet, but being a planner I have a fair idea of how it will go down.

Stop whining and make a new five year plan. Then execute it.

Spectra 7:35 pm 27 Sep 08

You can check in any time you like, but you can never leave.
Out. You can check out any time you like. Geeze, if you’re going to make references to classic songs, at least get them right 😛

That aside, I grew up and went to uni here and, like many, did indeed leave for a few years after I graduated. Took me 3 years before I couldn’t handle the noise, crowds, pollution and general crappiness (in my completely subjective opinion) of the bigger cities. Came back here and have no intention of leaving again for quite a while.

What have you used?
I can’t be arsed defending Canberra to people who knock it to me. If they want to live somewhere else, good luck to them. That’s the nice thing about a free society. All the more Canberra for me, I say.

As for you, rosebud, if you don’t like it here you should move. If you do, then why on earth would people’s criticism depress you? Whenever anyone takes “pity” on me for living here, I just laugh – internally and externally. Suckers don’t know what they’re missing.

Swaggie 7:17 pm 27 Sep 08

“Has anyone here ever had a visitor say, “wow, how lucky are YOU to live here! I wish I could!”

I had that very thing happen today. I was fishing down on LBG, uncrowded, a few fish, wonderful weather and these 2 visitors came wandering past and stopped for a chat after watching me land another fish. They were both from the UK, appreciated the space we have out here and the scenery. Naturally they love the climate (as anyone from the UK would do) and commented on how relaxed everyone seemed. It made me appreciate what we have and sometimes lose sight of and they were both keen to come and live out here.

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