Why I left Canberra
By Nemo. Age 34 and a bit.
I was born in Canberra. Grew up in the region. 33 years later, I was still there. I have a familiarity with the place. I love Canberra.
But my history there is not continuous. I have travelled, albeit briefly, but each time been reminded myself that I love it. That change brings out the best in me. And that for all the history I have in Canberra, it is not a static city either. Over the last few years some of my Canberra temples have fallen...
my tree - air temple. A place of solitude at my old university grounds. No longer there. At first I mourned it's loss to development, but maybe it came down in a storm? 2 years or so on, it’s still just a bare patch of ground.
the lake - water temple. Recently lakeside development has encroached, and what was once a quiet place by the water now has shopfronts looking over it’s shoulder.
firetwirling in civic - fire temple. After the devastating fires a few years ago, the last remnants of weekly fire meets faded, and despite some halfhearted attempts, has never returned. No core groups has reformed, and firebans in summer provide new deterrent to match the cold in winter.
I started considering it after Europe in 2008. Was it time to change city?
Social groups in Canberra can be limiting. And sometimes that is a good thing - the limited populations brings together groups who, in larger cities, would instead keep to their own clique. The Canberra goth scene is full of dance, life, and joy. The 80s goths, the emo teens, the raver crowd, the gender-experimentals... all mesh as one lovely group, and are welcoming to anyone who isn’t judgemental. You don’t need to be IN their exact crowd to be accepted as part of the larger alt community.
But for all that, there is only one such crowd (and that is but one example), and social inertia can be limiting. My own habits combined with existing assumptions from others about me - exert a powerful stabilising force that maintains a personal status quo. A status quo I was growing weary of. A status quo best broken by leaving. To find the new ‘now’ me. Moving to where I can find my own new voice free from external assumptions. Where external inertia can be set in motion anew, as it inevitably will. This is not the first such time for me.
I wanted to explore a more creative side to myself, in a larger creative community with more opportunity for ad hoc randomness, and opportunity to challenge myself.
I felt I was outgrowing Canberra basically.
So I started talking very quietly to a few friends about the idea shortly after returning from Europe holiday. Though I think even then I’d been thinking about it for a while...
Why I chose Brisbane
Also by Nemo. Still 34 and a bit.
So while I needed a change, I didn’t need to deny my past. I needed a balance of familiarity and freshness. I needed somewhere bigger, but somewhere I would find comfortable.
Overseas would not fit the goal. Sydney would not fit. That left Melbourne or Brisbane. Melbourne has the known art scene I was feeling inclined towards, but is also such a cliche for it. Melbourne had the range of weather I would likely prefer, but not the proportions - I love to swim - that was something I missed in Canberra and didn’t feel I would get in Melbourne, but would in Brisbane. I think it’s also true that I knew more people in Melbourne than in Brisbane, but the people I had long known in Brisbane I was closer to. And it had not escaped my attention either that I had recently made several close new friends in Canberra who were from Brisbane, or that on my previous couple of Brisbane visits I had met new people with whom I got along with well. Brisbane had the vibe and people I sought. At the end of the day, the major factor was people. They tipped the scales.
By mid December I’d made my decision.
Some people have said that when it comes to quitting job and relocating interstate, that to go from ‘yeah, thinking about it’ to ‘having done it’ within little more than 6 months is quite spontaneous. To them I say ‘bah, humbug’. This was quite a slow, measured, thought out and deliberate move to my mind. In late March (I think), I gave notice at work. By mid May I was here.
Is everything perfect? No, not at all - and I didn’t expect it to be. but alot of things have fallen into place well. I am forming new groups of close friends - both those I already knew here and those met since, as well as finding wider social groups... I have an awesome place to live - the Inside Out Zoo (being on the edge of a nature park) - which found me as much as I found it.
So was it the right thing to do? Most definitely.
I have no regrets at all.