A portrait of travel. A glance through Europe, South America, Asia and Australasia….
A throwback to Vietnam. One winter, awhile ago, I took myself to Vietnam. We had a 10 day hiatus in the middle of shooting a season of Spartacus. It’s possibly the only trip I’ve done entirely alone.
But there was something quite liberating about it. There was a moment, somewhere on a 3 hour journey through nowhere, where I had several epiphanies. I felt “lost in the world” to quote Kanye West, with my backpack balanced on the front of taxi driver’s scouter, and the thought that no one in world knows where I am now, and that’s kinda exciting.
They say Melbourne is the Europe of Australasia. It was in Europe I first noticed the urban pony-tailed man, and it seems this trend has made it to Melbourne. This fetish has long been a bit of a weak spot for me.
One train, one lost stumble, and one tram later I found myself on Brunswick Street — home of the Melbourne Hipsters and alternative folk. Despite being rather mainstream myself, I felt quite at home here. It reminds me of East London, memories ago, where the neighborhood is cool, but the local folk are cooler yet.
First stop was some café about a cat, which it turns out, is in fact a bar. How fitting. The local joint is decorated with two barristas, both sporting the dirty blonde ponytail with exactly the right amount of facial hair. They’re not the West Auckland pony-tailed bogans, but more the urban chic man — wearing clothes that make even me envious.
And it turns out the streets of Brunswick are littered with such specimen. I find it strange I’m eyeing up the male’s wardrobe selects more than the local ladies. Perhaps in another life I wish I were a hipster male so I too could don my brogues, twill pants and a ponytail.
Luckily the female shopping turns out to be almost on par with the males. Before long I have an array of shopping bags, and an eclectic mix of summer niceties.
I’m a bit of a sucker for old buildings, ivy and anything visually aesthetic. The surrounding streets and alleys are exactly the type of place I like to meander. It reminds me of Europe summers gone — wandering aimlessly, mapless but not lost, just perusing and exploring as my fancy is taken.
Despite the rain, and intermittent sunshine I was quite taken by Melbourne. Yet of all the places I visited here, Brunswick Street resonated best. Be it the quaint cafes, boutique shops, trendy eateries or pony-tailed men — I’m not really sure. Maybe it’s the hint of familiarity, reminiscing the carefree days of youth travelling through Europe.