The familiar road that eventually leads to Africa.

Mandy and I arrived in Melbourne, Australia 6 days ago weighing the most we have ever weighed. This was due to strict baggage allowances that forced us to wear as much clothing as possible and carry all heavy things in our pockets to avoid paying any more than the $200 we had already spent on excess luggage. I must have looked like a drug smuggler with bulging pockets and sweating profusely from the layers, you can see me pictured below wearing two pairs of jeans, shorts and about to put on another pair of jeans. It was the first time I have ever weighed more than 70kg.

The reason we had so much gear was because we will be “settling down” in this coming chapter that is going to see us stay in Melbourne for a year. A year that is going to be dedicated to saving, organising and planning for the Africa chapter (more on that in later posts). Since landing I have been walking the familiar road, flat hunting, immigration paperwork, job hunting etc.

Our flat hunting didn’t start off too well. The day we arrived we went to an inspection of an apartment as we are keen to get set up ASAP. There were 12 couples waiting outside as the property manager turned up and went to unlock the door. “SNAP”, the property manager turns around and says “sorry the key just snapped off in the dead lock, looks like the viewing is cancelled, sorry”. So it wasn’t the best omen for our apartment hunting, it continues. (Matt who we are staying with checking out a perspective walk in wardrobe).

I haven’t had much time so far to even look for work as I have been filling out the paperwork for Mandy’s visa. Somehow as I’m a kiwi I can sponsor Mandy a 5 year family member visa for Australia – you have to wonder what Australia gains from being so lenient to us kiwis, maybe it’s the fact we raise the national IQ (that jab should tell me if there are any Ozzies reading my blog). Anywhoo, we have been spending every hour of each day trying to prove our relationship for the visa, it’s a full time job. Ooooohhhhhhh I love dealing with government organisations (deep breaths Hap). So far the application consists of over 100 pages and still counting! Thank you to everyone that has helped us in this.

Job hunting. You’d think that since I have been working the world for over 7 years now I would be used to it. Well actually it is the one thing I hate. Trying to persuade a potential employer that I’m not someone that stays in a job for 3-4 months and then moves onto a new city, country/job……………….oh yeah thats right, that’s what I have been doing, haha. But the problem here is that I actually plan to “settle down” for a year, unpack the backpack, have an address where I can get mail sent to, buy stuff like furniture, towels, bedding etc – in fact I just acquired a frying pan and a coffee mug for the house on the side of the road.

It’s crazy, here I am trying to find work and a house in Melbourne but I find myself surfing the net all day about Africa and expedition related issues ie types of touring bikes, hippo related deaths, dry season and wet season etc. Today I went for a run and stopped off at 2 bike shops enquiring about what types of touring bikes they have etc etc.

That big hole that Antarctica left has been filled right back up with my Africa expedition. I really need to get set-up here in Melbourne ASAP so I can start earning and saving for Africa and get my Africa ball rolling. I can’t wait to get my new Africa Expedition website up and running and jump head first into it. Already I’m waking up in the night with my mind full of lions, smiling black faces, crocodiles, endless dirt roads, GPS, cycles, rafting, laughing kids, mud huts and a sore bum (from my touring bike seat).

But in saying all that, I’m loving the vibe of Melbourne, a city I have wanted to live in for so long and full of good friends, friends from my NZ days and friends from my travels. So what will I end up doing for work? Where will I end up staying? Will I have third world withdrawals? Will I remember how to work after only working 2 months in the past 14 months? Will Mandy get her visa accepted? Keep following folks as the Melbourne chapter unfolds!!!!! (pictured below with Simon my English friend from my Mexico backpacking chapter)