It’s interesting how things can change considerably in such a short period of time. Seems like only yesterday we were traipsing around Nepal worrying about nothing more than blisters and diarrhoea. In fact it was three months ago to the day when we touched down in Melbourne; now with only one week left before we return to Thailand I look back over the past three months.
For those who follow this blog, you’ll remember that we returned to Melbourne to tidy up some loose ends and set ourselves up a little better enabling us to continue our cruising lifestyle. Of course we also caught up with friends and family. First on the agenda was to get the ugg-boots, warm PJs, and Landcruiser ‘Troopy’ out of storage.
One of the trickiest things about the cruising life is that you really don’t know how long you’ll be doing it. Five years, ten years or more – who knows? We’ve already been cruising for almost three years and could potentially be out for a further ten, or perhaps twenty years. In our short time in Melbourne, we’re pleased with the decisions we’ve made and feel a little more in control of our future for the next few years. We’ll never be millionaires with this lifestyle and will work from time to time to boost the cruising kitty. If we wanted to be millionaires we wouldn’t have gone in the first place. Funny thing though, some of the people I caught up with in Melbourne said things like “Oh, so you’ve finished sailing and have decided to return back to Melbourne for good?”. Don’t think so!
Before we arrived in Melbourne I’d pre-arranged accommodation through the ‘Happy House Sitters’ website, settling on a house-sit on the Mornington Peninsula, south east of Melbourne. Our first month was looking after a very relaxed tortoiseshell kitty named “Phyllis” while her dad went overseas on his own adventure.
The house sat up a hill with fantastic views stretching far across Port Phillip Bay with the city of Melbourne on the northern horizon. A perfect place for us to ponder and decide on what we needed to achieve so that we could continue living the cruising life. Also out of storage came the whiteboard; an effective secret weapon for staying focussed to achieve goals. Back in Perth before we even had the boat we developed our five-year sailing plan on the whiteboard. It used to hang in our lounge-room (or hiding behind the couch when friends popped by) reinforcing our goals which were: 1) sell home; 2) move to Melbourne; 3) buy house; 4) buy boat; 5) go sailing! Simple but effective; the rest is history…
Tucked away on the peninsula with beautiful views of Melbourne’s winter sky, we began listening to financial podcasts, watching ATO webinars and reading e-Books to absorb as much information about buying property, self managed super funds, term deposits, share market – whatever it would take to keep us cruising. After a while the whiteboard had a fresh set of goals staring back at us. One of our goals we decided was to purchase an investment property, and we did just that. A nice little place down on the Mornington Peninsula and very close to the beach. We’ll rent it out and hopefully have something to come back to in the years ahead.
You might be wondering why we didn’t do all this before we left Melbourne in 2010. As I mentioned earlier, besides having enough other stuff to do, you don’t really know how long you’ll be sailing for; nor do you know what the economic conditions will be like while you’re away sailing around. Another reason of course is that while you’re sailing around Australia it’s easy to come back and sort things out if needed. But as we go further afield, it’s good to have everything tidied up. Some of you reading this may be travelling on the Sail Indonesia Rally and reaching Malaysia in a month so you’ll be starting to think about what you’ll be doing next year too.
After our stint on the peninsula we moved closer to the city to stay at the home kindly offered to us by Jenny and John of Corazon while they went sailing up in Queensland. This was a handy place and reasonably near to where we used to live. I managed to get some temp work in the CBD and caught up with a few old work buddies. We also managed to get out on the bay while in Melbourne with a trip from the RBYC to Docklands in Melbourne with the RBYC Cruising Club. That was a great night with Brenton and Robina of Chakana and others from the club. I also joined Kathy and Alan and crew aboard Allegresse for an afternoon of sailing (ended up with a few boats leaving the ‘race’ and headed to Port Melbourne for a delightful coffee and chat instead!).
Apart from planning and spending time with family, our visit was over-shadowed by the most outrageous three month period in recent Australian political history! In case you missed it, here’s a snippet. When we returned in June, Julia Gillard was our Prime Minister and had been since the ousting of former PM, Kevin Rudd in 2010. Although Kev’s party kicked him out from the top job, Kev (aka Kevin-07; Kevin-747; K-Fudd; Kevin Kardashian; Milky Bar Kid) spent his waking moments on the back bench (allegedly) seeking revenge for this dastardly deed through his sneaky actions and evil doings; effectively undermining his own Labor party. His (alleged) actions, caused disunity and chaos for the Labor party leadership as it receded into the political abyss. Finally after much speculation, in late June K-Rudd toppled Julia Gillard with a majority vote from the caucus to surprisingly lead the Labor party back from potential oblivion! As K-Rudd astoundingly reclaimed his role as PM, many of the front benchers elected to walk (I think some ran) displaying their obvious distaste for the return of Kev’s tyrannical old ways (remember, he was originally kicked out of the job!). Since then, Kev has been popping up on TV at every opportunity (in between cooking shows and the incessant reporting about the Essendon footy club drug scandal), driving us potty with his excessive hand gestures, crazy fly-away hair, changeable policies and absurd one-liners, all in an attempt to portray himself as a cool-dude with attitude and boost the ratings of the Labor party. Today, Australian’s took the opportunity to officially boot K-Rudd’s Labor party to the political naughty corner for some time out. Best known for smuggling budgies, Australia’s new Liberal PM is the Hon Tony Abbott; the third PM in as many months. Although he won with a clear majority, many Australian’s probably took the opportunity at the polling booth to show their contempt for both major parties and voted for other parties on offer, such as the ‘Pirate Party’, the ‘Coke in the Bubbler Party’, the ‘Sex Party’, or my favourite, the ‘Party Party Party’! Are you still awake?
So with a new PM; the warmest winter on record; Melbourne voted as ‘the Most Liveable City’ (third time running); and with Hawthorn at the top of the AFL ladder (and on track to take out the 2013 AFL Premiership) it’s been a pretty good time to visit Melbourne.
Next week we leave behind our family and the political circus to return to Thailand and focus on the work we plan to get done on Blue Heeler over the coming months. I’m certain that will be more enjoyable for us!