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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
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Roma 3:05 pm 03 Oct 08

I lived in sydney from birth until about a year ago when I moved to ACT for a job, and thought that I would miss Sydney and want to return almost immediately. How wrong I was!!
I LOVE living in Canberra. Those that have suggested that its about a lifestyle choice were spot on. Its easy going, clean, beautiful, and there are practically NO traffic issues (at least compared to inner west and inner city in Sydney). I disagree wholeheartedly that the people in Canberra aren’t warm. The warmth of those I met in my first few weeks are who helped cement my view that I definitely made the right choice by moving here. I now own a home here and couldnt be happier. Yay!

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:18 am 03 Oct 08

Well, that’s your opinion, but thanks anyway.

rosebud 8:53 am 03 Oct 08

BerraBoy68 said :

I’ve lived in London, Sydney, Bris. and Melb. and in my opinion, Canberra beats them all for the lifestyle choices that ‘I’ now have.

Best comeback to give a Canberra hater is just, “well that’s your opinion, but thanks anyway”. They can’t really say anything else after that.

Good call! Top marks for ‘most polite reply’. Too many people on this thread sound like they are in a steroid rage. It’s like Canberra is a taboo topic, to be discussed only at risk of personal abuse. A bunch of Bruce Banners screeching: Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like it when I’m angry! I personally believe that ambivelence does not mean ‘hate’ and that blind unquestioning devotion is the root of all evil.

BerraBoy68 7:52 am 03 Oct 08

I’ve lived in London, Sydney, Bris. and Melb. and in my opinion, Canberra beats them all for the lifestyle choices that ‘I’ now have.

Best comeback to give a Canberra hater is just, “well that’s your opinion, but thanks anyway”. They can’t really say anything else after that.

The Public Watchdog 6:49 am 03 Oct 08

Born and bred local. I have lived in other parts of Australia, more for the experience, but I always knew that this would be home.

Now married with a baby on the way and I couldn’t be happier.

Any Canberra haters that I have crossed, I have debated them. And I win.

‘The Pride of the Nation, Your Country’s Capital’

Play the patriotic card and they quickly retreat.

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:47 am 29 Sep 08

Came here in 96 for ‘a couple of years’. Seriously thought about moving a few times to be closer to family (even had the removalists booked once) but have always pulled out at the last minute. I wuv you, Canbewwa.

I often ask people what they wish Canberra had but doesn’t. They invariably say something we actually have, but they say ‘I’ve been there and it’s not the same’. It’s not about facilities at all – you’re just homesick. If you’re so homesick that you feel the need to bash Canberra, then f.ck off home already and stop expecting us to clone wherever the hell it is you’re from here.

Thumper 9:02 pm 28 Sep 08

Some streets in Dickson have more variety of cuisine than all of Qld.

Without doubt….

fabforty 8:42 pm 28 Sep 08

About a year ago I did a two week course here in Canberra with people from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

At the “end of course” drinks I put up with some adverse comments about Canberra (it was, afterall, July and bitter and some of the less hardy participants were suffering). Some of the participants declared themselves experts in Canberra tourism despite not having left the Parliamentary triangle during their entire stay.

Later in the evening, some of them explained how they had to spend an hour and a half on a train each way to get to work because they couldn’t afford to live any closer.

I didn’t feel the need to comment. But I did feel all warm and fuzzy.

I have lived in other places and have returned to Canberra because I think it has so much to offer. But… each to their own. What I consider important to my lifestyle is no doubt different to the next person. I really don’t care if people don’t like Canberra. All the more for the rest of us.

If only it had a beach…….. but I am counting on global warming to fix that sometime soon.

sepi 8:40 pm 28 Sep 08

Here’s a comeback for your friends from Sunny places

– Canberra has more sunny days than Townsville.

I-filed 5:46 pm 28 Sep 08

rosebud said :

rosie_bubz said :

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

Woy Woy!

Mwa ha ha ha! And how does your Woy Woy [read: Charnwood] friend enjoy commuting more than an hour to work and the massive traffic jams on the way home, not to mention fortnightly major accidents stopping all the traffic?

Aurelius 5:34 pm 28 Sep 08

I not sure where Syriana lives, but the eateries in Canberra are, in general, a damn site better than any comparable sized city in the country. I just spent four years in Brisbane where the dearth of decent variety of dining options I found severely depressing. Some streets in Dickson have more variety of cuisine than all of Qld. And Brissy’s got ovr a million people.
I pretty much think the ‘like it or leave’ choir are being a bit harsh, but a city you live in is what you make of it. The world’s full of options, and if you can’t find it here, go look elsewhere. Excuses anyone uses to stay in a city/life/job they find depressing are little more than excuses.

HateMachine 4:24 pm 28 Sep 08

RuffnReady said :

I’m so freakin sick of Canberra-haters. Don’t like it here, move, and STFU about how much you hate the place already. You haters are pathetic – you whine, but do nothing about it. Shut up and act for once in your life, and leave our beautiful city in peace.

I’ve lived in Sydney, a small country town in the UK (near London), Naha Okinawa (a conurbation of about a million), and traveled extensively, and I have never come across a place as easy and peaceful to live in as Canberra. We have everything a big city has and more (especially the natural setting and wonderful four-season climate), without most of the hassles attached to the rat race. Canberra is the best kept secret in the world. Haters should just suck it up and f$ck off already as far as I’m concerned.

syriana – the darkness in the suburbs means that you can actually see the stars at night unlike most cities, there are plenty of excellent cheap eats in this town (and a number of threads on RiotACT about them), and the people are plenty warm if you try to befriend them. Are you a taxi driver? That job can make anyone into a hater.

Are you one of these ‘warm people’? Telling people to ‘suck it up and f$ck off’ for having an opinion you disagree with makes me think you may not be. And frankly, I’m with Syriana. As nice as stars are, I’d rather not drive around the centre of Canberra wondering if I’ve woken up as the only person left on Planet Earth.

natecv8 2:49 pm 28 Sep 08

“He followed his girlfriend to melbourne, and he now lives in geelong, because they couldnt afford to buy in melbourne unless they wanted a crappy house in a crappy neighbourhood.”

Ha ha, your friend fails badly. I moved from Canberra to Melbourne in 2007, sold my 3 bedder in Ngunnawal for $350K and bought a 5 year old 4 beddy place on a twice as big block in a nice neighbourhood for $320K, only 25km from the city, not 70km as Geelong is.

I grew up in Canberra and have plenty of respect and admiration for it, but as someone who has spent 18 months living in Melbourne now I feel that I’ve moved on to something more suited to me, and I haven’t looked back.

It really depends on your individual situation.

grunge_hippy 1:55 pm 28 Sep 08

i have an ex canberran friend, who many years ago, after living in sydney for a bit, came back and said “why would you live anywhere else, canberra has everything you need, sydney is shite, blah blah blah”. He followed his girlfriend to melbourne, and he now lives in geelong, because they couldnt afford to buy in melbourne unless they wanted a crappy house in a crappy neighbourhood. he now says to me “when are you moving out of canberra, its so boring there”. how fickle people are!

its all subjective. I have lived all over the place, and if there is anywhere i would move now, it would be brisbane/sunny coast, but then again, i dont like humidity so i probably wont. they are nice places to visit, and everything’s good when you are on holidays, its a different story living there. you get stuck in the same ruts, whether you have palm trees or frost in your front garden.

i have no plans to move, but i cannot stand people who bag out canberra. if you dont like it, F#$% off. you could not pay me enough money to live in sydney, i’ve done melbourne twice, and enjoyed it but still end up coming home.

i just tell people “its what you make of it”.

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