Posted by: Nick Ward | 9 January, 2011

Stepping into a brand new year

So, another year begins…

I’d be lying if I said 2010 was a good year. Certainly my new job and new company are brilliant, but the year started in stress overload trying to disentangle myself from my previous place of employ, henceforth known as the workplace from hell. Good news was, the disentanglement was successful, but at the cost of an interstate relocation, something I really didn’t want to do.

As is now clear, my mum’s frustration with her gammy emphysemic lungs was somewhat more than a passing irritation waiting to be fixed by the miracle of modern healthcare. With the benefit of hindsight, her body was finally packing it in and she was dying. I sometimes wonder whether she knew, and being so devoted to protecting us all from pain and suffering she hid her deeper understanding from us. Knowing her character, it’s entirely possible. I miss you, mum.

Being a single guy in Australia’s largest city has, well, it’s been crap. Sydney folk are friendly, but don’t expect a Melbourne-style dinner invitation, or to meet their friends. It’s not what happens in Sydney. People stick in their own small tribes and do their own thing. That tends to be more about going for a drink than a meal, which is a shame, as being a died-in-the-wool Melbournian foodie I reckon there’s much more entertainment in the latter.

To be fair, migrants to Melbourne often tell me that their first year or so in their new city was pretty tough too, so this might just be, at least in part, about relocation rather than about the city itself. Nevertheless, as a guy with an extroverted personality, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone. If you’re after a stunningly beautiful city with amazing beaches, Sydney is for you, but if you like to socialize, choose Melbourne.

So, let’s put 2010 in a box, close the lid and put it on a shelf. For that matter, you can happily throw 2007, 2008 and 2009 into that box as well, as they were pretty much rubbish too, albeit for different reasons. I’m sure the experiences from these last four years have made me stronger and wiser, but for the new year, I’d like a little less personal growth and a little more fun and happiness.

Here’s to 2011.

2011 holds promise to be a really good year.

My family and friends seem to be in pretty good health, touch wood, and in a pretty good place in general.

My job continues to get better and even more challenging as I continue learning the nuances of the travel technology industry. The results are starting to come in, a very satisfying indication that I’m doing something right in my role. As importantly, the company itself has a fantastic winning culture and great people, something not to be taken for granted.

My sporting activities, and achievements, are on track for a really good year, with the Outgames in Wellington in March a focal point. An 11th place in the Portsea Swim Classic last weekend was an important achievement in my preparation for the games. Bring it on. And in lifesaving I’m diving headlong into a brand new field which blends sport, leisure and volunteer work in the community.

In the lifesaving crew I find probably the greatest potential to build some of my first deep friendships since landing in this city. Hell, these guys even seem to reliably respond to voicemails and text messages. How non-Sydney is that. I share with many of my new friends a similar mindset and set of values. I love being around people who are chilled, not so uptight. Coincidentally, most of them are, like me, recent arrivals to Sydney.

I certainly haven’t given up on my new home, and will be throwing myself into the Mardi Gras Festival. Looking forward to it. I figure if Sydney is going to prove itself then this is it’s big chance. 2011 is a brand new year.

Which brings me to New Year’s Resolutions. OK, in honesty, I didn’t quite make any at the stroke of midnight on the 31st, but have arrived at a couple in the days since.

1. Tell the truth about my age on dates. I kinda figure it’s better to get a “Really? You look way younger than forty six!” than “Oh, OK, thirty seven, fair enough…” Besides, I’m a rotten liar and am just as likely to start blabbing about early memories of events prior to my fictitious birth. Untidy.

2. Watch more television. Pretty lame, I know, but the hard drive of my DVD recorder is chock-a-block and I need to turn it back into a functional device. Watch it or delete it. Since I’m a tragic hoarder, that would be watch it then delete it.

3. Travel overseas and do something crazy I can one day tell my kids about. Why? Because life is short, and who wants to look back in your twilight years and wonder “What if…?”

Bring on 2011. This is the year I’ve been waiting for.


  1. Hey Nick – 2011 is your year! I lived in Syd for just over 5 years and have to say that in all that time I only got invited to “expat” homes, so I sympathise! That said, I threw some brilliant soirees, went to lots of plays and concerts (make friends with someone with Opera House or STC connections for free/cheap tix) and created a newer version of myself, not the one that all my old friends would recognise. And in the process, met a fabulous man, bought a place, etc etc.. That could be you too! Just soak up the splendour of Sydney and on the day you get tired of looking at the Opera House and the harbour, it’s time to plan a change. Look forward to sharing a meal when we are next in Emerald City. Sarah x

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