28 July 2015, I first landed in this capital city of Victoria, Australia. My main destination was Canberra, but I was impressed to step in this dubbed “4-season-in-a-day” city. I arrived at 5 p.m local time, after 6-hour flight from Bali, in a cold Winter afternoon without knowing which way to go. I booked a hostel in Spencer street which I believed to be in Melbourne CBD (Central Business District).
After passing the custom, I dragged my 30-kg purple luggage and exited Tullamarine airport. This was not my first time being overseas, but it was indeed my first time arriving in a country without being picked up. Of course, I was not lacking knowledge to search about the city’s landscape, transportation and accommodation. I sought beforehand.
I walked straight to a ticket booth and asked for one ticket to go to city centre. It cost me $18 (IDR 180000) by Skybus and it took me an hour to get there. It was a lady in her mid 40’s who gave me the ticket. I was so careful listening to her talking as I was afraid I didn’t catch what she was saying. Before I came to Australia, I heard some stereotypes related to these Australian people; they were rude and they talked distinctively. I broke those stereotypes and got a really good impression when the lady smiled and welcomed me. She also wished me to enjoy my ride and my stay in Melbourne. I grabbed the ticket and thanked her and waited for the bus to come over.
I have a petite body. My height is 150 cm and I was so skinny. I brought a big luggage which height is almost the same as my body and its weight was like a half of mine. Traveling alone might have been a problem for me, I could not even lift my bag to get in the bus. Luckily, people were so helpful that I could endure my journey.
An hour later, I arrived at Southern Cross Couch Terminal in Spencer street, the same one as my hostel was in. I followed the exit way and was amazed to see the city. It was around 7 p.m, I didn’t have internet connection nor maps to lead the way. I saw some policemen standing across the street, I walked through and dared to ask for direction. They seemed unsure about the location and just pointed at the street for me to go. I thanked them and pulled my luggage down the Spencer street. I was walking on a quite steep road and my hands were shaking as the night getting colder. Perplexed by the unfinished roads, I asked some people passing by me and none of them knew where the hostel was. I crossed an intersection between Spencer street and Flinders street and had no idea where else to go but keeping my way straight. I stopped in a bridge and giggled at myself for getting lost. But, I always like getting lost as I can discover some breath-taking moments I could never have.
Instead of whining, I viewed my whereabouts and took a picture, a dazzling one.
I dipped myself in a cold breeze and felt overwhelmed. Until then, I saw an old blonde lady in her late 50’s coming over. I stopped her and asked for a direction. I showed her my printed hostel booking and tried to figure out which way I should have gone. She, herself, was not sure about the direction. But, instead of leaving me with a “no” answer, she slide her phone and said “let me ring the hostel”. I was so thrilled by her answer and said “thank you”.
She rang the hostel and asked which direction I should go. After hanging up the phone, she showed me the way and I happily thanked her. I turned and went back to Spencer street. The hostel itself was located in an intersection across the way I passed by.
I arrived at the hostel and met a long blonde ponytailed hair girl in her 20’s. She welcomed me and gave me a key. Bad news was, my room was in third floor and no one came up to help me lift my luggage at that time. With my resilient hands, I heaved my bag into my room.
I unlocked the door and was surprised to see some stuffs on the floor. I met two Korean girls in my room and introduced myself. The room was a backpacker style with bunk beds for 4 people. It was occupied by me, the two Korean girls, and the slobby girl from Europe. She was outside when I arrived and I met her late at night after I unpacked my things. Instead of unpacking her stuffs in a closet, she put them on the floor and made the room so messy. I let her do it because I didn’t want to give her any problems.
It was around 11 p.m when I finished cleansing my body, I prayed. I told my roommates about my religion and my worship practices I need to do five times in a day. In case, they were shocked to see me doing those prayers.
I was relieved that I finally made myself a “solo traveler”. Before going to bed, I connected my phone to wifi and saw some messages displayed on it asking if I was safe and had arrived.
I was smiling and was quite proud to say “I am in Melbourne, safe and soundly, don’t worry”.
I fell asleep with a warm feeling that I finally made one of my dreams true.
*to be continued*