I left home at a young age, in my second last year of highschool. I didn’t get along with my parents and it was better to avoid the stress, and to look after myself than put myself in a bad situation. It wasn’t that I was queer which some people assumed, more that it was emotionally and physically better to be away from them.

Despite having to pay for school, uni and rent myself, I was determined to experience as much as possible in the world and worked and studied full time in order to make it happen. It wasn’t always easy but I didn’t have much of a choice. I saved as much as I could from my supermarket job, where I worked from age 14 to 24, with the hopes of travelling and learning new languages.

I did a short language exchange with uni in Shanghai as part of my first degree (my Chinese isn’t very good).

Europe felt less accessible, being further and more expensive than the Asian countries I’d visited but a few years later, I did a similar exchange in Florence during my second degree (my Italian is worse). Australia also has a special type of leave which you get for staying with the one company for 10 years, so I had an extra few months of holidays to go a little bit wild and explore.

Everyone always told me Berlin was very me, which I didn’t fully grasp at the time but I took them at their word. I spent the last of my trip there before I had to fly back to Australia for uni and I definitely squeezed in as much clubbing and sex as physically possible. Honestly surprised I survived.

On my last three days I met a boy at KitKat on Electric Monday. We locked eyes across the dancefloor and from that moment everything was a whirlwind. We hung out those three days and the intensity of the connection kinda left us both aghast at the distance between Melbourne and Berlin. He visited me in Australia a few months later and we made it official. Long distance was tough at times but we made it work and it felt like an adventure, travelling back and forth between the two cities. Berlin became a second home, with friendships and connections split between the two locations. Melbourne is quite a queer city as well but the hedonism, the care for the experience of others and, the activism of Berlin captured me in the city’s vortex.

My ex and I are no longer together (still good friends) but they were a special few years that I’ll always treasure. I still go back and forth between Melbourne and Berlin, I guess the city really is ‘very me’. So here I am, practicing my German with the boys at Hasenheide, 8 years later, while showing my friend from Melbourne the ‘sights’.