TRAVEL// "Melbourne, Australia." // by Kelly Mason

"An image taken from the rooftop on the other side of the river.

The city skyline around mid-day during my first few days arriving in Melbourne City"

I arrived in Melbourne, Australia back in 2014 not long after I had just finished a stint in Thailand.

At the beginning of my trip I spent time in Bangkok and travelled the South West islands surround Phuket but after two short but memorable weeks with one of the best, most beautiful & suited couples we began to make our way to the North of Thailand to spend the last few days together.

When our trip together came to its end I was dropped in Doi Saket, Chiang Mai where I spent the next month completing my first 200Hr Traditional Hatha Yoga teacher training.

After a month and once the training had completed I then found myself enrolling in another course at The Old Medicine Hospital where I spent the next month with daily training of Thai massage.

As soon as the course wrapped up I flew out of Thailand and headed straight for New Zealand where I lived with a friend in Wellington for the next three weeks. Here I would read, write, attend daily Yoga classes and squeeze in a little culture by exploring the city and suburbs.

But these were mere moments that came and went fast as my main reason and intent for travel was to arrive and call for a short while Melbourne city my home.

I had an image of myself arriving and instantly being settled, I envisioned myself in studios and working in the field of my passion in this diverse and progressive city.

Little did I know that this for me would be far from the truth for at least the first six month of my time in the city.

But sure, enough still, even with the struggle to make it as a Yoga teacher battling the external and my own internal world in the field of Yoga, some of the best learning experiences and experiences in general of my life to this point so far would happen during this time of hardship.

I spent the first few weeks in the city bouncing from couch to couch of strangers. I would wonder by foot sipping coffee and reading books of Yoga, Philosophy & Culinary literature.

By my second week I found myself in somewhat of a settled place while couch surfing with a Saskatoon born Canadian girl and a San Clemente raised Californian Boy.

These guys were my support system and I was thankful during this brief time.

They allowed me to stay for two weeks. During this time, we shared stories, watched movies and lay on the terrace watching the Casino nightly fire show from across the river while giving me the "A's" to my "Q's" as the new arrival in the city.

During this time of temporary stability, I was looking as to what I should do first and fast as I could as funds were already withering away as each hour that went by.

I emailed and contacted various studios and advertisements looking for Yoga teachers and quickly heard back from one studio.

This studio was "The Hurricane Hall" and at the time who was I to know that this place would be an extremely significant space with an intention like my vision as a teacher.

To cut a long story sort, I ended up meeting who would be my partner for the next 11 months, a partner in crime but also a partner for the Hurricane hall and its offering of boxing and yoga classes on donation base for "Innocence International" , A non for profit organisation successfully exonerating wrongful convictions, as well as funds to be raised for "Liberation Prison Yoga", another non for profit organisation.

"The Hurricane Hall" Named after Rubin "Hurricane" Carter former Boxer & wrongful convict.

The Studio was upstairs at the African Drumming School in St Kilda, Melbourne offering weekly donation based Yoga classes for Innocence International & Liberation Prison Yoga."

Over the next few days after landing the position teaching at The Hurricane Hall and as funds were running worryingly low I decided to do my necessary farm work straight away to "lock in" my second year working visa in Australia.

So that's exactly what I did and by week three of my time arriving in the city I had sealed a Yoga Teaching position with The Hurricane hall based in St Kilda and I had a date to arrive at "The Peace Farm" in Yarra Valley, around two hours outside of the city.

"Images taken after a "thinning" session at the farm."

The next three months I would find myself working fourteen-hour days on the farm four days a week and commuting by bus and train into the city to teach my class and explore what the new city had to offer.

After the time on the farm was complete around late December, early January 2015 I found myself living in Richmond - here I shared a space with my then boyfriend Andrei; A beautiful, at the time aspiring but now successful, photographer; an Irish high school teacher and rugby couch and finally; a beautiful Malaysian rooted, Australian grown diving Instructor.

I worked hard and found myself many times out of my comfort zone during this time but found myself auditioning and picking up more yoga classes throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Soon I was settling in and teaching several weekly classes. I had settled in my apartment and created a healthy routine in my new environment.

"An apartment shared in Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne. A real creative mix... An aspiring Yoga teacher, an aspiring theatre director & boxer, an aspiring photographer, A high school teacher & rugby coach and a Great Barrier Reef Diving Instructor."

"Teaching weekly, donation based, Yoga classes at the Hurricane Hall in St Kilda for nonprofit organisations "Innocence international" & "Liberation Prison Yoga.""

Throughout my time I would explore Melbourne and her offerings. What she had to offer of things in my interest and that compliment and support my lifestyle choices; Vegan Restaurants and cafes; Yoga studios and Market places.

And this brings me to the following...

The places I would visit frequently, places I can say I was a part of the team for some time at the time I called Melbourne City my home.

I hope you enjoy the list and I hope the recommended places enjoy the mention...