Wednesday was a pretty big day for me, in regards to physically, mentally and emotionally. I think in order to tell this story a little bit better, I should do a quick recap the last 7 years. Back in 2008, at 20 years old, I made the decision to move from my hometown of Oaklands, to somewhere in the Melbourne area. If you didn’t click on the link, basically Oaklands is a tiny town in rural New South Wales, with a population of around 200-250 people. It has a general store, a pub, a RSL club, a central school, a pool, some churches, a football and netball club and a bunch of other stuff. However, it was also the little town that I called home for 20 years. At the time I was working as a machine operator, playing football and having a few drinks on the weekend and that was about it. Towards the end of 2008 I felt I needed change, and wanted to pursue (wait for it) strength and conditioning coaching, or similar, at an university level. Yep, that’s right.

My best mate arranged that I’d go house-hunting with his girlfriend at the time, and her friend from university, as they were also looking to move into a place. The area of Melbourne we were searching included Bundoora, Heidelberg, Reservoir and Ivanhoe, so the more northern suburbs close to LaTrobe University. In January of 2009 we signed a lease to a townhouse in Heidelberg Heights and in March I moved. Towards the end of 2009 I ditched health and fitness to pursue architecture, which my first involved studying the Advanced of Diploma of Building Design at Wodonga TAFE (about an hour from home). Last day of our lease I finished packing my stuff, drove back home, and I remember feeling homesick, which was odd given I was home. I vividly remember chatting to a friend I made while living in Heidelberg Heights that I miss Melbourne, and I told myself I’ll be moving back there. From 2010-2013 I lived in Wodonga, and from 2013 to present I’ve been living in Geelong. I’ve been etching closer to Melbourne each time I’ve moved.

Rewind a few weeks back my current housemate informed me that the landlord is looking to sell the property and we’d need to start searching for a new place, which was great timing given I had exams and this portfolio/Masters submission. I thought about where I’d move to, and I realised after university I have ZERO ties in Geelong. I thought I’d try my luck and look for a place in Melbourne, so I hopped on Gumtree. After a few iffy inspections, no responses and a windowless tiny bedroom, it was getting stressful. Granted I was picky, needed to be in a great location, close to amenities, good rent, not sharing a bedroom with 3 other people, etc etc. Needless to say, this criteria really narrowed my options. Throwback to this Tuesday, that night I posted in University of Melbourne’s StalkerSpace, asking if anyone had a room or knew of anyone. Within an hour I had someone reply, we talked on Facebook sussing about details and such, and arranged an inspection the next day, on Wednesday.

I arrived at the place, looked around, and chatted about some particulars and was told the room was mine if I was keen. About an hour before inspecting the place my housemate messaged me saying the landlord wanted us out ASAP, preferably by the weekend, so this inspection was my last shot until I seriously looked at sleeping in my car until I found a place, OR, sharing a room with 3 other people. To hear the room was mine was honestly a god-send and once I left, and was out of sight, I got a tiny bit emotional. Not so much with sadness, but with joy and stress being eliminated, however given the year I’ve had it was nice to have something go my way for a change. Come Sunday I’ll be back to living to Melbourne, after 6 years I have returned to call it home again.

Oh, did I mention I’ll be living in Parkville?

That wasn’t all that happened, there was an scavenger hunt on that evening in Melbourne. Wasting some time in the afternoon, I made my way to 41x to await for my team for the hunt. We were briefed and got our Challenge sheet and our first checkpoint. I won’t go too much into the scavenger hunt, you can check out the photos below or my Instagram. There are a couple mentions though, we got a score of 11/10 for our, now dubbed, McPavilion and I hugged an 1886 building, and took a really sweet photo with the Shrine of Remembrance. Below you can see majority of our entries to the hunt!

We started at 6pm, and wandered around the city, attempting to decode secret messages and getting the courage to ask a stranger to take a photo. Our last stop landed us at a Japanese karaoke bar, given I was completely sober I had ZERO intentions of belting out a tune. By the end of the night we walked a bunch of kilometres, climbed a bunch of stairs and took a bunch of photos. I hopped on the 12:15am train back to Geelong, got home at 1:20am and finally closed my eyes at 2am. I was a bit mad I forgot to disable my alarm as it started buzzing at 5:30am, but after that, a few more hours slept and I was right for another day.

If you have an architecture-based photo challenge, scavenger hunt style, leave it in the comment below and I’ll dedicate a whole day in the near future to do them all! I had fun doing this scavenger hunt, I want to do another! Melbourne-based would be cool, but even general ones is awesome. Thanks everyone, looking forward to seeing your challenges!