August is usually my favourite month of the year. While the stupid emotional crap that I vaguely alluded to in July’s monthly summary has been ongoing, there was enough fun stuff going on to act as a pretty solid distraction. So, that’s something I guess!
Melbourne: 30 days
Mt Dandenong Ranges: 1 day
One solid highlight of the month was road tripping out to the Dandenong Ranges National Park, which is located about an hour’s drive east of Melbourne. A friend and I rented a car for the day and made the trek out there with no real itinerary beyond “possibly see lyrebirds and wombats and maybe do some fun things”.
The Dandenongs ended up delivering on everything I personally love about winter in Australia. We ate lunch in a lovely café in the town of Olinda (made incredibly cosy by a firewood stove) and went hunting for lyrebirds in the Rhododendron Gardens (didn’t see any sadly but did spot almost every other bird, including my first male superb fairy wren since November last year in Dubbo). It was so cold that we essentially had the gardens to ourselves the entire time.
We also visited Sky High on top of Mt. Dandenong, which was okay – not really worth the $6 entry fee (yeah, I’m a cheapskate) but it was nice being there for sunset. We finished out the day with a spot of pork belly at the Pig & Whistle Tavern, which is the most British-esque pub I’ve been in since I well, left Britain.
Being a woman, I love day trips and mini-breaks and would love to go on more around Victoria – being from New South Wales means that my time in the state was largely spent in Melbourne. There’s so much to see and do here and so many cool towns to explore. Now that I know I’m sticking around Melbs for a bit, I’m hoping to invest in a car at some point next year, so I can squeeze a few more adventures in.
On the Green Front
I was very social this month and either ate out a lot or just sort of forgot to eat whole meals because I was having too much fun (NB: not recommended, particularly when planning a night out on the town), but on the upside, it gave Betty a solid chance to chew through some of my food waste. For those who just read that sentence and said “Who the hell is Betty?” out loud, Betty is my worm farm.
I’m happy to report that Betty is going strong and is gobbling up everything I give her. I’ve a fair bit of worm juice accumulating now and am not really sure of what to do with it… perhaps it’s time to start gardening?
I also began using Meow Meow Tweet’s Deodorant Sticks with biodegradable packaging, as well as their newest shampoo bar. I think the bar is my favourite product yet – it smells so good and leaves my hair feeling like silk after every wash. I can’t stop stroking it, which of course simply makes it oily again. Sigh.
Other Random Ramblings
I read somewhere that it takes 6-12 months to settle into a new place and from what I’ve experienced so far in my adult life (Melbourne is my fifth city!), I’m inclined to agree. I do feel more and more at home here with each passing week. Although my job involves shift work, the hours aren’t crazy and I have more of a routine going on, which is something I’ve struggled with greatly in the past. And friends! Having a few people who you can call up to hang out with on a random Saturday night makes all the difference and is so much preferable to stuffing your face with pizza and crying alone.
Best Reads of the Month
Our crisis is no longer material; it’s existential, it’s spiritual. We have so much fucking stuff and so many opportunities that we don’t even know what to give a fuck about anymore.
– The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
As a diehard bookworm, I firmly believe that there are books that find us when we need them the most. Two of the non-fiction reads that I dove into this month certainly proved this theory to be correct.
Like pretty much every other person who has access to the internet, I’ve long been a fan of Mark Manson’s writing – particularly this article, which no joke, completely changed my outlook on dating when I read it at age 25. His book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck has been on my radar since it was released almost (or over?) a year ago, but I hadn’t got around to picking it up. Yet, midway through the month, I felt an overwhelming urge to read it.
I bought it and slammed through it in a day. Manson’s writing style is incredibly easy to digest and although a lot of what he preaches really does come down to common sense, it’s nice to be reminded of these facts from time to time.
I had similar weepy “I so needed this right now” feelings about Tasha Eurich’s Insight: Why We’re Not as Self-Aware as We Think, which was recommended by a good friend. The practice of being self-aware is something I’ve always just assumed – this book really made me sit up, get outside myself and take note of what was going on. It’s also got invaluable tips for dealing with people who err on the side of self-delusion – valuable information as we are all stuck on this planet together.
Blog Post of the Month
I think most bloggers would find they go through a bit of a pattern with their writing and I’m super enjoying penning posts about expat feels at the moment. It’s taken me almost a full year of being home to process my thoughts on the subject and I suddenly find myself unable to hold back. Hence – this article!
What’s on For Next Month
I don’t have much on in terms of travel, apart from a “staycation” with a lovely friend in the city at the end of the month. I am however, gearing myself up for my ONE OVERSEAS TRIP OF THE YEAR, which is happening in October. Not long to go now!
How was your August and what do you have going on next month?
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PS. This post contains affiliate links to books I’ve read or products used, which I therefore recommend.