Hanging out on the edge of rocks became a standard activity for me overseas.
Rather than deal with Canberra winter I fled to spend the summer in Europe.
I know, I know … winter’s not that bad, but as a former Queenslander I’ll always choose summer over the coldest months.
After three months away, returning to the ‘real world’ and Canberra was more difficult than I had anticipated.
Going from major European cities to what is essentially a large town was a significant mindset adjustment, let alone coming off an adrenaline high after completing challenging hikes, exploring historical cities and meeting new people every day.
And I had to start again. I had given up my room before I left, not wanting to continue to pay rent while I was away, so I had no place to live.
Fortunately, I had a great network of friends who have offered me their couch or spare room until I find something more permanent.
I’ve started to investigate the housesitting option but there’s not a lot of choice out there with only 10 places listed on Aussie Housesitters for housesitting stints between now and the New Year – and when I looked into the September/October options many had already started talking to possible housesitters and I was too late.
Unfortunately the unpredictable nature of my job means sometimes I have to travel at short notice – which may preclude me from housesitting and looking after pets. So for now I’m living the nomad life out of a few suitcases!
To get back into living in Canberra again and adjust from world traveller to public servant, I had to get back in and do what I did before the excitement of overseas and discover what I liked in Canberra.
The first weekend back I got back into hiking. I did a lot of hiking in Norway and Scotland while overseas and was keen to retain the fitness I’d gained. There are still a lot of hikes I have yet to do in Canberra down at Tidbinbilla and Namadgi, but I’m working through the trails.
Then I remembered all the good restaurants and cafes that Canberra has to offer. While I don’t have the funds to eat out much, I’m trying to get around to some of the new places that have opened up while I’ve been away such as Grease Monkeys in Braddon, and revisiting the places I really like such as Eighty-Twenty and Bentspoke Brewery.
Yum! One of the delicious acai bowl varieties at Braddon’s Eighty-Twenty cafe.
One thing I have noticed since my return is how many shops are empty in the Canberra Centre now. So many of the shops that were not in the main thoroughfare of the centre have either left completely or relocated to shops vacated in the main strip. I’m wondering if rents are too high in the centre, whether people have left Canberra resulting in less income for the shops or people are simply spending less.
Of course Braddon continues to transform with the petrol station on the corner of Girrawheen and Lonsdale Street demolished only this week and it looks like the old Hertz building is turning into more apartments. By the end of the year, I expect a lot more changes around Civic and Braddon.