I went to my first AFL game

This has been on my Melbourne bucket list for as long as I have known I was moving to Melbourne. Even in Brisbane many people told me it is a must when I am down in Victoria, visiting the 100,000 seater Melbourne Cricket Ground for an Aussie Rules Football game.

The MCG, Australia’s Wembley for my British readers. Australia’s Madison Square Garden, I think? I don’t know, you will have to tell me what your biggest or most beloved stadiums are in your home country so I have a place to watch some great sports if I make it to your corner of the world. Don’t be biased though. Sports fans never are anyway… ūüėČ

This was a very quick ride from where I was in the city, we all met in a bar called Stomping Ground,¬†appropriately named as we bought a can for the road and discreetly yet very elegantly drank them on route to Australia’s biggest and most famous stadium.

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The bar was in Collingwood, as this was the team we were watching play against Melbourne. Interestingly enough for those not too familiar with the sport, the majority of the AFL teams are based in Melbourne. Ten of the 18 are in the state of Victoria, and nine in Melbourne’s metropolitan area.

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Apparently this says 11… which ones are no longer?

As you can see above, Collingwood sport black and white colours. For me this was an easy team to cheer on.

Or so I thought. Black and white stripes with the nickname ‘the magpies’? Just like Newcastle, the city I lived in back in England. Easy choice!!

However it seems people that aren’t Collingwood fans, well, like to tell me not to be a Collingwood fan. Apparently it is a bogan/chav/redneck team, as are their fans. I mean in the stadium everyone including my Melbourne friend seemed to be pretty nice people, is this a myth? I guess I will let the locals decide…

 

The Big Freeze at the ‘G’

Melbourne vs Collingwood is an annual game held on the Queens Birthday. On this day an event called the ‘The Big Freeze’ takes place before the game. This is a fun charity event with the aim of raising awareness for Motor Neurone Disease, a condition former Melbourne coach Neale Daniher suffers from and now aims to raise funds fighting for a cure.

On the charity website, fightmnd.org.au it states about the event that:

‘Each year, a group of ‚ÄėA-List‚Äô celebrities take the icy plunge sliding into the Big Freeze pool all in the name of raising critical funds to help fine a treatment and cure for MND.’

As you can see below, the celebrities ride down a slide on a sled and into the ice water, often in fancy dress. I noticed people started to clap the intro to ‘We Will Rock You’, and with that out came Freddie Mercury himself. Freddie was always at home in a stadium.

 

And the plunge…

It was a glorious day for football. Well, I say glorious, it didn’t rain. And the Melbourne skyline looked fantastic from here with the Eureka Tower dominating as always.

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Now for the game itself. It is a sport that always looked rather funny to me, as does Gaelic football, with the variety of things going on whilst the players run. Sometimes bouncing it, something punching it, sometimes kicking it. Sometimes kicking each other. Once I understood the rules a little better it was much more fun to follow and appreciate.

I was under the impression that this game evolved from Gaelic Football, but after some quick research it turns out this may be a myth. Historians consider that the game Marn Grook that was played by Aboriginals in Australia possibly has more of a connection. One reason is due to one of the founders of AFL- Tom Wills- having watched the game being played.

Here is a picture of Tom Wills, believed to have been taken on a very early Nokia.

Tom Wills

The basic rules are this. Six points are awarded if the ball is kicked in the middle goal. one point if it is kicked between the outer posts. The games lasts four 20-minute quarters and starts with a ruck. In the event of a crocodile, any player is considered ‘fair game’ and the team suffering the loss can substitute another player on without penalty. This is when you see the referee do this.

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The ball up is an interesting start to the game. As the umpire throws the ball off the ground, the players then try to take possession as it is bounced into the air. A bit like a basketball tip off really, but with what resembles a mild kids temper tantrum. The throw-ins are equally unique too. As the ball goes out the opposition team does not get to throw it back in, instead one of the umpires throws it over his head, wedding bouquet style. The difference is the guys actually run to grab it first.

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The ball is passed between players via a¬†handball,¬†in which the ball is punched with a clenched fist from the other hand. This is the only hand pass allowed. Players can also kick the ball to opponents, and can ‘mark’ the ball by catching a pass that has been kicked over 15 meters without being touched or bouncing (I think). A mark gives the receiving player a free kick without the threat of a tackle. Players running with the ball have to bounce it every 15 meters. This and the kicking rule got me thinking how umpires (or anyone really) can tell what exactly 15 meters is on the field in such a fast game. I mean, does anyone really have the ability without computers to determine what was a 14, 15 or 16 meter pass or sprint? It seems pretty hard to do. I asked my friend and he replied with ‘they don’t’. Fair enough.

But knowing these rules made the game more fun to watch. Like any sport actually investing a few minutes to getting to know the rules means we can relate to the cheers and geers from the fans, and can actually join in. It was a great atmosphere and I would certainly do it again.

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I would recommend to anyone reading to go to a local sports game, even if you aren’t a sports fan. It is a great way to embrace the local culture, meet some of the cities most passionate people and try some of the local junk food, which is more than often delicious with a beer. It might not make sense at first, but think of it like trying new foods. You don’t know what it is or what to expect, but regardless of the outcome it is another memory to look back on. And I am certainly glad I had this one.

 


 

Pssst, if you want to see the pro-shot of the glorious ‘Freddie’ slide, here it is…

 

fightmnd.org.au/

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

 

I felt like an Australian yesterday

Yesterday was a very fun day. With each and every day that passes down under I feel more and more like a local. I went to my first AFL game here in Melbourne and it was a great experience. This was the view from the impressive MCG stadium at sunset. 


I will blog about this experience more in depth tomorrow as its my day off and I have a few photos to share. But the team I went to see won and I’m pleased I got to enjoy the experience, which is a must when in Melbourne. 

I’ll see you all soon with an update!

Sam

I spoke too soon…

The weather has been perfect today in Melbourne. Warm enough to not need a jacket (by my standards) however as you can see from the trees winter is certainly here.


Melbourne looks great in the winter. The streets of colourful art and busy laneways keep me merry and the Nutella crepe stalls warm me up just by looking at them. It’s a great city to live whatever the season, and that season seemingly changes daily. The locals tell you that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. And I’m making the most of these sixty seconds.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

I think these days are over…

A few readers from Melbourne will know that today was a fairly decent day in the sense it didn’t pour down. It’s still cold enough for a thick jacket but being dry made today actually pleasant enough to walk outside. However the days of gazing up and seeing the blazing sun surrounded by a blue sky are seemingly long gone.

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I cannot actually remember the last time I saw such a blue sky. Probably not too long after I took this shot,¬†riding along the coast in South Melbourne shortly after arriving in March. It doesn’t seem like I will be able to take my typical bright and colourful photos as much as I have been which is a damn shame, however it just means I will have to find other ways to keep my blog bright and upbeat.

More street art perhaps? I haven’t uploaded many of these posts recently. I guess more pictures from the inside of buildings too as I am usually looking from the outside. My phone has enough water damage already and the rain has been forcing me indoors more than I would like. Goddammit.

Or simply more posts without pictures, or without my own pictures. I enjoy using Unsplash¬†for some of my posts as there are some amazing photographers out there and this site allows you to use their images. You don’t have to credit the photographer, but I like to. They help me out so I want to return the favour. Some of the posts I thought wouldn’t be particularly popular without my own photographs are the most popular, which is a pleasant surprise. It shows it isn’t always about the images, although they can certainly help. A post can survive without photos, but a blog can’t really survive if there isn’t anything worth reading.

Maybe winter will help me to improve my writing skills with this in mind. I have always tried to see the benefits in any bad situation and if winter can help me improve on certain skills, then I have no complaints.

That, and I can try more hot chocolate variations. Have you tried hazelnut hot chocolate? A taste sensation.


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

Winter is coming.

I am probably in the minority here, but I love a rainy day. It sounds contradictory as I curse to myself all too often during that awful moment when I take my wet shoes and socks off, I should look at the soaked pavements underneath the sea of umbrellas with dread when venturing out. But I don’t. I just feel calm and relaxed and go about my day.

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I think this mindset comes from childhood. I remember in my more lazy teenage years a rainy day would give me a guilt free pass to stay indoors and play video games. I loved being outdoors as a kid as much as I do now, staying indoors on a nice day is very difficult. I can’t do it. On a rainy day I feel like I am allowed to and that sense of urgency washes away with the sound of the rain. I get a great sense of nostalgia.

It sounds crazy flying from the UK to Australia and being happy with the rain. But I have had my fair share of summer days down under. Sunshine that I made the most of on the incredible beaches down the east coast…

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And sunshine I avoided as much as possible whilst picking watermelons for ten hours a day.

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The sun can be a blessing or a curse depending on what we are doing. And being from northern England, the northern Queensland heat can be intense. I only recently moved from Brisbane and the weather there was still very humid for me even in March… I had to buy a jacket and scarf and actually wear jeans immediately after moving to Melbourne. But I didn’t mind the relief from the constant humidity, how long I will remain happy will have to be seen.

I’m not sure if ‘I like the rain’ is worthy of it’s own post, but one of the reasons I got onto my blog so soon after work is that I needed to get indoors fast. It is a blessing for my productivity on the blog.

And with that I ask, are you a fan? I have met Aussies that are jealous of the mild temperatures I get back home, and Brits that have moved here for the sun and never went back. And of course the exact opposite. I know some of you need the rain right now and will through the summer, and it reminds me to be grateful if anything.

What’s your verdict?

 

Featured Photo by Kieren Andrews on Unsplash

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary or follow me @samest89 on Instagram

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Five years on WordPress and one week left in Brisbane

A pretty emotional week! It has only really hit me in the last couple of days that I won’t be in Brisbane much longer. My last shift is Friday and soon I will need to make my way to Melbourne. I am currently looking for work and I hope to get into work as soon as I land there.

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And today, I got a notification that I have been on WordPress for FIVE YEARS. That makes my blog’s birthday 06/03/14. Happy Birthday to onechancetoseetheworld.com. Not that it was called this back then, but my blog in general. It has changed style as it ages.

A lot changes in five years. Some for the better and some for worse. But the worst we have experienced should fuel us to see the better moving forward. Time doesn’t stop so we may as well try to make it amazing. If we live our lives with the aim of having the best next five years we can, it will be. Even if we have downfalls, they won’t hit us as hard as they could have if we went in with no motivation to have a more enriched life.

The world gives us constant reminders of this. Yesterday we heard the tragic news that The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint died by suicide. Very sad news, he was in a band my whole family loved and to be honest, I really can’t think of anyone that doesn’t like them or at least respect them.

I now feel very lucky to have seen them twice live, in possibly the most brutal crowds I have ever been in. Isle of Wight Festival 2015, literally five minutes into the gig my shoe popped off and was never seen again in the mania. I had to hop on one foot as it got stamped on about a dozen times, and I wasn’t able to walk properly for two weeks after getting back home. Great memories. They certainly knew how to put on a show and I will remember the crowd as much as I will the performance. You have to be great at what you do to get people that pumped up.

In fact, I would like to elaborate on this in my next post as festivals just put me in a good mood. Writing about them probably will too.

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So I will be heading to Melbourne soon, expect plenty of posts from this great city as I finally give it the exploration it deserves. Will it be my favourite place in Australia? Who knows. But I really am looking forward to updating you all as I travel and discover.

I am not saying goodbye to Brisbane yet, but sadly it is coming. But not for another week, and maybe a liiiiitle longer. I expect to be in Melbourne around mid march.

As always, I will keep you updated!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Sam

A quick update on my travel plans

So my last day at work is the 12th March. This is due to my contract ending, 6 months is all I get with one company on a working holiday visa. Shortly after this I will be relocating to Melbourne.

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As much as I will miss Brisbane, the 6 month rule is good as it keeps me moving. If I was able to stay longer I would be in danger of staying put, wasting my two year visa not exploring. Two years can fly by, and they are. I wouldn’t want to fly home again and regret not seeing Australia.

I am looking to get straight back into work as I haven’t saved much money. I had a holiday with a friend before Christmas and another with my family just after Christmas, and I am not getting many shifts at work. But this won’t affect my blog and I will be here daily.

So I think my last day in Brisbane may be the 13th March. Not that I want to leave, but sometimes we have to force a change even if it doesn’t feel right. Sometimes these changes are met with big rewards.

Expect many more posts from March onward to be Melbourne related, and I am sure this city will give me plenty to blog about!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

 

Happy birthday mum! 

Happy birthday to my amazing mum. This is one of the aspects of travel that isn’t rose tinted, being so far from home and missing special days like this. But we had an amazing holiday as a family recently and at the end of the day, a birthday is just another day in the calendar. Travelling may mean I reluctantly miss today but it also meant that we had the opportunity to spend a holiday together in a country that my mum has always wanted to visit. So if anything, missing a birthday is a small sacrifice for some huge positives.

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So today’s blog post will be dedicated to my mother. For being an incredible mum to my sister and I and allowing us the freedom to make these big decisions to travel and pursue whatever we want in life. This has helped me become the person I am today and realise that we should do the things we want to do in life whilst we can, as not everyone has these opportunities. We truly have one chance to see the world and this year my family have been off to a great start.

Mum, I’ll see you in September!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Merry Christmas! (and to the girl in the hostel really missing her family)

Thank you to everyone that I have engaged with this year. To those I have known for years through this site and those that I have only just got to know, thank you for making my experience as a blogger so enjoyable. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

I look forward to continuing this hobby throughout 2019 and to keep growing as a blogger and sharing my experiences as I spend my final months in Australia before making my way home.

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This morning I checked out of my current hostel and into a new one as it was way cheaper for this specific week. I am working later today too so I got packed early and made my way there, roughly a 15 minute walk up the road. As I was crossing the final set of traffic lights towards the hostel I noticed a girl walking from one of the rooms externally towards the reception. She was alone in a red dress and it looked like she was crying. I was unsure however and as we were coming from two directions I made it into the reception before her. I didn’t want to turn around and just stare at her to confirm this but I did glance over after putting my heavy bags down at the desk as she walked towards the elevator in the lobby. As the doors closed I could clearly see she was crying and was looking directly at me. I didn’t know who it was, or if I would see her again. I wondered what it was about, but I strongly assumed that she was missing her family back home.

As I was checking in with the receptionist the elevator doors opened. She walked back out and stood in line behind me. Now knowing she was clearly upset, I asked if she was okay. She simply nodded whilst holding back the tears. She wasn’t British, however could speak it but because she was upset it was hard to tell how much she knew. I asked her if she was missing family and she kind of confirmed it by nodding again and telling me she was travelling. I knew she was in a safe environment and was about to speak to the reception desk (the person behind the desk looked like a manager to me) so I simply told her I hope she has a Merry Christmas and that I hope she was okay. She said Merry Christmas back to me and I headed back into the CBD, where I am typing this now.

It was very sad to see and because I didn’t know her I didn’t really know what else to do. I feel better knowing that I spoke to her instead of just ignoring her sadness and there isn’t really anything I can do to help anyway. I am heading to work now but would have probably asked if she wanted to hang out. But knowing hostels, people are very sociable and friendly in nature anyway, and I imagine especially on Christmas. I will probably see her again at some point in the next seven days, hopefully.

It is a very hard time for some people, especially people traveling without family and possibly for the first time. But hostels are filled with people doing the exact same thing, which can be a big morale booster. In fact I am looking forward to working today because I will be with friends, all in this same boat together. I try to remind myself as well that although I am away from my family this Christmas, they are safe. There are always people having a much worse Christmas than us and having that perspective helps me to be grateful of the life I have. News of the recent Tsunami in Indonesia is a very recent and tragic example, sometimes the worst moments strike at the times we want to be happy the most.

So with that in mind, I am extremely grateful that my family and I are well. I am working today, but I have a job. This job provides a roof over my head. Today’s technology means that despite being so far from home I can talk to them the moment I finish work, as if they are right there next to me. It must have been very hard to spend Christmas away from home back in the day, or during a war. We are very, very lucky.

So to the girl in the red dress, as sad as you’re feeling right now today is a great day, even if it doesn’t seem so at this moment. You are young and healthy and despite not being with your family they are there waiting for you. You will see them again and it will be awesome. Today is the one day that will hit you harder than most on your travels, but there are 364 other fun days that you are currently experiencing on a trip that you will remember for a lifetime. Sometimes the sad days are a small sacrifice for a much more enriched and lived life of travel and adventure.

And as much as I do miss my family in this Christmas period, they are coming out to see me in January. I have always thought that instead of going home for Christmas, them coming out to see me will be a much more fun experience. Again, not seeing them today is a small sacrifice in the long term. We are all about to have the holiday of a lifetime.

Sometimes it is best to see life this way. Certain decisions seem like bad ones in the present, but over time will prove to be the right one. It is hard to change our mentality with this in mind however knowing that the happiness and benefits of this decision await us is enough to see us through.

And with that, have a very Merry Christmas and if it isn’t so merry, think of a time coming up in which you know it will be. And if you can’t think of one, there is no better reason to work towards one today.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

 

Would it be Christmas without this?

Spotted in Darling Harbour on my most recent visit to Sydney.


It is still hard to tune into the Christmas spirit when all my family are back home in the UK, and with it being so damn hot outside. I’m used to wearing three layers to stay warm and dry and hugging a cup of coffee/tea… or a mulled wine as I shiver around the glorious Christmas markets that occupy the city centres. It’s a great change in lifestyle of course, but I need pictures like this to remind me of what is around the corner. I mean it is Christmas Eve after all!

Crazy.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam