The Quiet Traveller: Day 6 – Melbourne

It was another early start, but this time an early start with real purpose. We were off to go surfing, which I wasn’t too sure about trying, but looking back, I’m very glad I did.

I’m not a huge fan of the sea and I’m not the greatest swimmer in the world. The usual styles are breaststroke and butterfly etc; I call my style flailingandnotdrowning. So I was quite apprehensive as we drove down to Anglesea on the coast.

However, I fell in love with the sport. And my surfing instructor. This was no ordinary surf instructor. This was an M&S surf instructor.

I consider myself to be of Sainsbury’s level, but on a good hair day, I max out at Taste the Difference. She was a probably a bit out of my league, but hopefully my taming of the wild ocean with nothing but a polystyrene board would catch her eye. If conquering a force of nature doesn’t impress a woman, then what does? I suppose some prefer that stable job, own place and car malarkey.

Anyway, so yes, surfing. I fell in love with it because the feeling when you stand up on the board is very addictive. I know it’s a cliche, but you can really feel the power of the sea. You fight the sea to get out into the waves, and then join sides with it to surf back to shore. Waiting for waves is like waiting for a bus but a million times better, because the reward of the wait is an ecstatic feeling of being alive, whereas the reward for waiting for a bus is an approximate half hour of being shaken and rattled to death whilst inhaling a multitude of human fumes. And waves probably operate on a more reliable schedule.

To my relief, my sea fears were brushed aside when I realised how shallow the sea actually was. And you don’t need to be able to swim that well when you’ve got a board that floats.  And it’s a great way to stay in shape.

It turned out that I was actually quite good at surfing, and this was also confirmed by my instructor. So had I impressed her? With surfing skills, potentially. But by wearing goggles whilst surfing; absolutely not. Any cool surfer vibe I had going for me was spoilt by the fact I had to wear my prescription goggles to actually see anything that I was doing. No surfer in the history of surfing has ever worn goggles, and no one has ever impressed a woman by wearing goggles. They also gave me goggle-tan, so unless she had a panda based fetish, my chances were in the gutter.

After some much needed food, the whirlwind of a Sunday morning came to a close and we headed back to Melbourne. As it was a Sunday, I needed to counter balance the over-activity of the morning, so I decided to go for a stroll in the local park in the once again baking heat. On my way I encountered a fellow Brit who asked me where the nearest pub was. Of course the Brit would be asking for directions to the pub.

I took a seat under the shade of a tree and watched an atrocity unfold before my eyes, that atrocity being the game of cricket. For such a boring sport, there seemed to be a lot of people out playing it. It’s actually quite similar to NFL, in that both sports require headgear and participants spend a lot of time doing very little apart from short bursts of action. I was 10,000 miles from home, but no matter where you go, some things never change. Cricket is still dull.

Boring in action.

Pulling out ‘On The Road’ and reading on a few more pages, I couldn’t help but feel like a character in the book. Of course, reality was a lot less raucous than the fiction of the book, but here I was, on my own, bouncing from city to city on the largest scale of them all – the entire planet.  I also felt like I didn’t quite know who I was yet. It’s another cliche yet again, but the older I get, I do feel more like I’m getting know who I actually am. So I don’t think it’s just ‘Quiet’ that helped me a lot. It’s also age. And cliche part three, I can confirm travelling helps this process.

My moment of serenity in my little restorative niche within the park was then interrupted by a pair of loud infant humans announcing their presence. I’m convinced that the tiny gremlins joined ranks to interrupt my moments of quiet on my travels. More often than not, I would take a seat somewhere in a public place, and then moments later they would be onto me, hunting me down and shrieking in my near vicinity.

I promptly shut my book and strode off into the sunset. The toddlers had won for today.

Track of Day 6 – Let’s Go Surfing // The Drums







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