This journal was written as a physical diary by me during my gap year. I am typing this up to share my gap year experience. At the beginning of travels I was 22. I travelled with a friend (Kieren) and anybody else involved will be introduced during the journal. For more details, check here.

To spend a year in Australia, we got working holiday visas. These allow up to 1 year of travel and work in Australia. Find more information here.

Check out the previous instalment here.

The Melbourne portion of the journal doesn’t always go day-by-day because I got a job to save up for future travels so I neglected the journal a bit. There will likely be less photos (sorry!).

6th December – 10th December 2017

Spent most of my time working but did manage to fit in a night out with Emilia* – we went to Spice Market.

Mahesh (owns the apartment we live in) has decided he will go home to India for at least one month, and that he’ll rent out his room on Airbnb. This means that Kieren and I have to actually manage this because we’re living here. Luckily, he is giving us 15% of the Airbnb money.

*friend from work

11th December 2017

Chilled day – I went for a hot chocolate at the Lindt Cafe (best hot chocolate ever!). They also had a 50% sale so I may have spent $28 on chocolate….

We bought some lovely prawns from the supermarket and had a lovely dinner of prawns, garlic butter, bread and roast potatoes. We then headed to U-Bar (the bar connected to Nomads Hostel) for Josh’s* last Monday night out**. Amazing night out! Josh bought so many shots then Michel (my manager from work) came and bought us 3 bottles of wine and more shots. The bar staff cut me off after that…

(a) Hot chocolate from the Lindt Cafe. (b) Selection box of Lindt Lindor chocolates. (c) Dinner of king prawns with garlic butter.

*Kieren’s friend from back home who was in Melbourne at the same time

**Monday night was the best night to go out at U-Bar

12th December – 16th December 2017

I spent pretty much all my time working – SO many hours! The restaurant is obviously very busy at the moment because it’s the run up to Christmas. I am exhausted!

Mahesh left to go back to India, and we had 2 Airbnb guests staying. One stayed for 1 night, and the next is staying for 6 nights.

(a) Christmas tree at Federation Square, Melbourne CBD. (b) Christmas tree on Acland Street, St Kilda.

17th December 2017

I finally went to see Book of Mormon!! It was even better than I thought it would be.. so funny! Kieren loved it too! Afterwards we went to Gradi for food. We started with calamari and a cheeseboard, then I got an amazing fillet steak. Kieren got goat for his main course. For dessert I got a panna cotta and Kieren got a cheesecake.

(a) Ticket to Book of Mormon at The Princess Theatre. (b) Cheesecake dessert at Gradi. (c) Calamari starter at Gradi. (d) Christmas tree inside Crown Melbourne (shopping centre where Gradi is located).

18th December 2017

I spent the entire day preparing for my interview for the Wellcome Trust Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) PhD*. I had a Skype interview (including a written exam) at about 10pm (because of the time difference). I don’t think it went too well…

*At the time of my gap year, I had a BSc in Microbiology and Biochemistry and MSc in Microbiology and Infection. My plan was to come back to the UK in September 2018 and start a PhD researching antibiotic resistance (I did actually do this and I have now been doing my PhD for over 2 years). During my time in Melbourne, I was applying for PhD positions at various universities in the UK.

19th December 2017

The plan today was to go see Love Actually at an outdoor cinema in the Botanic Gardens but it was cancelled due to rain. I was so upset because I love this movie! Instead, we went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi then to TGI Friday’s for food.

(a) + (c) Christmas decorations at Bourke Street Mall. (b) Ticket to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

20th December – 24th December 2017

I have been working so much! Some Christmas cards arrived from my family, which I put in in our room next to the tree.

On the 21st, we had a fire at work. The entire kitchen went up in flames. Roberto had to extinguish the fire then the firemen came. We had to close the restaurant early because the kitchen was unusable (burned and flooded from the sprinklers). Emilia got burned but luckily not too badly. The restaurant was open the next day as usual but the back had been flooded. A bit of a disaster but somewhat back to normal now! Also, Kieren got a part-time job at Renzo’s behind the bar!

(a) Australian Nativity Scene (taken in a shop window). (b) Cards and Christmas tree in our room.

List of Regulars at Work (Renzo’s)

  1. Theresa a.k.a. Mariah Carey/Barbie – a local hairdresser who always orders mussels with linguine. Sometimes she rings from the hairdressers and asks if we’ll deliver. We don’t but sometimes Michel does because he fancies her.
  2. The guy who always sits at Table 51 – he always orders the same things. First a San Pellegrino sparkling water and a small peroni with a dozen oysters. Then he’ll either have a steak or gnocchi with an expensive bottle of red wine. About an hour later he orders a pizza.
  3. The lovely couple with the cute dog that like to sit outside
  4. The group of 3 people who always want the ‘fancy wine glasses, not the normal ones’
  5. The woman with the parrot – she has a parrot called Gonzo who has a lead and sits on her shoulder. She feeds him whatever she’s eating and he loves the lemon tart. She always drinks far too much prosecco.

Check out the next instalment here.