Bright lights; Big city

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 Permalink

It’s just over 18mths since I left the city, moving to Hervey Bay – population… about 65,000.

My old life in Brisbane involved daily commutes into the city where I was just one misfit in a sea of suits, briefcases, backpacks and heels. I’ve written before about a very visceral reaction I had when reminded of my old life a year or so ago. Seeing someone dressed for ‘work’ with their briefcase awaiting a bus almost made me feel ill.

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I had the same reaction yesterday. Sort of.

As it happened, I was surprised to discover my old life seemed both: so recent I could taste it; but at the same time, almost completely foreign.

I flew into Sydney yesterday afternoon. Not quite the culture shock you’d get coming from a tiny regional town to the city, but enough to result in this post (and the shelving of my planned post).

Flying into Sydney over the harbour was a bit surreal. I live opposite the ocean. Less than 100m from the sea. I look at the vast blue water daily. Hourly or more when I’m home. So it was strange to see the water off Sydney littered (though not in a bad way!) by large container ships. A reminder that I wasn’t in Kansas Hervey Bay with its fishing kayakers and runabout ‘tinnies’ anymore.

I walked slowly through the airport terminal – trying to again become familiar with wearing shoes (Doc Martens in this case) given that I usually live in rubber thongs (which I can also wear to work as we rarely have visitors – plus we’re a web development company. Anyone popping-in should be grateful we’re wearing shoes!).

My footwear of choice (Nowadays!)

My footwear of choice (Nowadays!)

I was immediately struck by the swarm of business-travelling suit-wearers. And beautiful people. Three stunning young women (beautifully made-up) strolled past on pinpoint stilettos. Hmph! “Models,” I thought. Not something you see in Hervey Bay.

After arriving at the hotel I popped out on a vanilla diet coke mission. Although not in the inner city, the streets were buzzing with peeps meeting in cafés: handsome men and well dressed women looking tired but confident, and all still with a few hours left in their working day.

And then there were a few lucky ones (who may have been early starters!) leaving the office with their backpacks over their shoulder – starting on the long trek home, or perhaps heading to the gym.

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My office.

Like I said, it was strange – so familiar and yet… so foreign. How can that be, I wonder?

Have you ever returned to a previous life or looked back on old experiences?
Do you (too) wish you could wear thongs to work? (The shoes, not the knickers!)

12 Comments
  • @Kanga_Rue
    May 20, 2014

    I returned to Sydney, my home town in January for a week’s workshop. I stayed in the same suburb, travelled the same route by catching the same bus… It was surreal. It was actually great fun for a week. But I don’t miss it at all. I miss a few of my friends of course. While I sometimes struggle against over-scheduling (which I’m sure is due to early indoctrination), I’d much rather the more relaxed pace of life I currently enjoy.

    • Debbish
      May 20, 2014

      I didn’t really have a reaction either way – so realised I’d left that life behind… But it also felt like it was only yesterday that I was lugging my own backpack & gym gear into the office everyday.

  • Marjorie
    May 20, 2014

    I work from home, so I wear flip flops everyday too. I do have to get dressed about once a year to travel to headquarters and it does feel strange! I don’t miss it.

    • Deborah
      May 20, 2014

      It’s strange isn’t it? To think I used to do it every day?!

  • Me
    May 20, 2014

    I will probably stay in the job I am in because I wear jeans to work every single day – long jeans in winter and knee length jeans in summer, boots and socks in winter, thongs in summer – to me, that’s the only way to go to work !! I don’t miss ‘dressing up’ for work one little bit and if I ever decided to leave this job, unless I found a job with similar dress code, I would have to buy a whole new work wardrobe – that’s enough to make me stay !!!
    Have the best day !
    Me

    • Debbish
      May 20, 2014

      Yes, I enjoy not having to stress about what to wear to work!

  • Emma Fahy Davis
    May 20, 2014

    See, I just don’t know if I could quit the city life. I love country/beach escapes every now and then, but I’m a city girl born and bred. Hubby on the other hand grew up on a farm and would gladly move rural!

    • Debbish
      May 20, 2014

      I thought I was like that… And my decision to move was a surprise to some people, but it was obviously the change I needed! #noregrets

  • Jody at Six Little Hearts
    May 20, 2014

    Looking at your office I can see why you would not miss your former life!
    I am living somewhere lovely at the moment. We bought our house 3 years ago and it has the most stunning views. HOWEVER…I miss my old burb – beautiful Balwyn (unfortunately one of Melbourne’s wealthiest suburbs.) We are considering selling and moving back there to rent. I have enormous home-sickness for my former life and even though we are 50 minutes by car away, the people are different, the culture is different (make that no culture!) and I just miss the things that really make me thrilled in life: cafes, multiculturalism – Melbourne’s heart. If I move back I will blog my reintroduction to returning to the past for you! 😀

    • Debbish
      May 20, 2014

      Ha! That sounds good – the opposite to a sea / tree change. Like a city reinsertion or something!

  • Yvonne
    May 21, 2014

    We moved to Sydney from country Queensland. What a shock! Even though we originally came from Melbourne the couple of years in FNQ had lulled me into a better way of living. Problem is, there were no jobs in paradise. I thought Sydney would be fine, after all I came from another large Australian city, we have the same culture all over Australia after all. Wrong! I had some hard lessons to learn. A few months ago we returned to our Qld town and saw our old house. The lovely trees were all chopped down, a handmade lean-to was attached to the house. It looked dreadful and made us sad.

    However, it was great to meet friends again and some interesting things had happened at the back of our place which I enjoyed sharing on my blog. Now others know about some of the delights of our town.

    • Debbish
      May 21, 2014

      Ah yes, I’m probably less shell-shocked when I go to Brisbane as it’s more familiar than Sydney – but still – as you say, quite different nonetheless.

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