Sonntag, 15. Januar 2017

Social Community - Projects, ideas and free stuff in Melbourne

The closer I come to the point of leaving Melbourne, the more I realise, how much I love it here. 
Yes. I'm going. Even if - for the first time since about 4 years - every little part in my body screams: "Nooooooo, stay, I want to stay and settle here! Nothing should change!!!" 
But thanks to bureaucracy and gouvernment rules I have to.
Here is one thing out of 100 which I will deeply miss about Melbourne-home.

Melbourne Acro Community, Photo Credit: Christophe Bachelerie

I mentioned in the "Straya" Post that Melbourne or Australia in general is very social.
In fact, it is amazing how social everyone is here. Well, doing fundraising for the last 6 months I can honestly say: not everyone. But at least in my area. My neighboorhood, my community, within my friends.

I mentioned, that even the trees wear selfmade pullovers and that veggies in the supermarket are for free. Let's stop here. These are two things which are essential to create this social home feeling: Street art and things for free.

Brunswick Streetart

Street art
In my area, Brunswick (as well as in many other areas in Melbourne), people seem to know how much
Streetart at bike path
difference colour makes to everything. I can look at a grey house with a white fence or I can look at a beautiful garden, flowers, and a white-yellow-redish house behind. But it's more than that. Imagine an ordinary street. Poles: grey. street: grey, houses: different colours, trees: green (if you're lucky enough to have trees in your neighborhood). Why do poles have to be grey? Why not put flowers on them or knit them a sleeve of colourful wool? Yes. Why not? I know, everyone has their own style. Personally I can say I turned into a much happier being when I moved from the neat and tidy white-stylish Hampton area with a lot of fences and short-cutted gras in the gardens, to the colourful, artistic, streetart area Brunswick. I love to walk around in the little streets and alleys here. There is always more to discover. And if you have a little bit of time, read about the influence of colours in your daily life! Really interesting!
wild garden in Brunswick East
So what exactly to find around here? A garden full of flowers (I was so sad when we had to cut down our little jungle because of a house inspection. I loved it to lift the plants up to make my way through our front garden every morning!), a wall full of graffiti which goes all the way up to Coburg and turns "riding a bike to work" into "gallery visit" and all  those little things along the way. No idea how someone came up with the idea to put something on poles and traffic lights. But it makes me smile. It's so thoughtful. And that's the whole magic about it. Someone spends time to actually make something more beautiful for everyone else. Imagine you walk around and you just continuously see things that make you think "oh what a lovely idea! Oh, how beautiful! Oh this is a sweet thought!" Makes the daily life much nicer, don't you think?

BikeShed in Ceres (Brunwsick East)

Community for free
Besides the street art, there is another thing which is amazing. Community projects for everyone. Australia is super expensive. And yet, I haven't lived somewhere with that many things to do for free. Maybe it's the common enemy (Australia is expensive), which makes the people come together and run all these things for free. But whatever it is, I love the mentality behind it. It is a nice thing to share. It is a lovely feeling to give. And people here just do it. They don't speak about it and promote it. It is just part of the every-day-life. 
We have a little bookshelf in the shopping center nearby (Barkley Square), which says: take a book, bring a book. Or just take one. Or two. And believe it or not: it is always full. I think that is a thing: if you don't ask for anything but just offer, people want to give back. And it helps those, who really can't give back (yet). 
The best example: Lentil as Anything.

Lentils in Abbotsford

Everyone who's been in Australia knows it, I'm sure. 
Lentil's philosophy
This is a community project, that helps. This is one idea, which is just amazing! 
For those, who don't know Lentils: founded in 2000 by Shanaka Fernando, Lentils is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant and community space based on the pay-as-you-can/feel philosophy. Basically you can eat delicious food here and either pay a) your food, b) a little more, to help someone else, who can't afford a meal, c) a little donation or you can d) volunteer instead of paying by helping with dishes, cooking or run classes and workshops. Lentils has currently 5 locations, 4 in Melbourne, 1 in Sydney and some offer not only food but also workshops, classes, concerts and a beautiful community. 
For more info check out Lentils as Anything.

Lentils is run by volunteers and it just asks for a minimum of human brain. For example: you find signs at Lentils, which say: "Electric is expensive. So when you need to charge your phone, why not volunteer in return or leave a little donation so we can keep on doing what we do and offer meals to everyone?" Simple, good and they really make amazing food!

free veggies
These kind of ideas make Melbourne and especially the Northern Suburbs so liveable and loveable for me. And again. It's the mentality rather than the possibility to do and eat free stuff. Even though I do love that! For free/pay-as-you-feel sports for example check out JetSport or FunAddicts on Facebook. They run free or donation based classes for different sports such as soccer, boxing, yoga, dance and more. If you're more looking for tours, you'll find very affordable tours to the main sights around Melbourne here as well. 
Isn't that great to live in a community where sharing is normal instead of complaining? Where people are happy when other people are happy. Where supermarkets offer free veggies for children to ensure that growing up healthy is not a financial thing. Where you find a community project and help for every problem you face: 

  • The BikeShed if you need a bike and have neither knowledge nor money.
  • Jetsport, FunAddicts and Acroyoga Melbourne (and so many more) for free sport and new friends.
  • Lentils and dumpster diving for food (why is that still not technically legal??? People throw so much food away! At the festival for New Years we - a group of 10 people - litterally had to invite tent neighbors to finish all the food, some of us got from dumpster diving!).
  • Community gardens, if you want to plant something and don't have your own garden.
  • Hair and Beauty Models Melbourne for free haircuts, super cheap treatments, massages, nails and co
  • Ceres - for everything else.
There is basically something for everything. You just need to find it. I even got my whole furniture for free (Facebook Group: Free Stuff Melbourne) incl. the delivery of my queen size bed plus mattress. And I can't speak for every city but I know that Berlin has such a facebook group too, maybe just try for your city.

cuddle puddle
My lovely Acro community is the best example. These people inspire me every day. To move, to make, to learn. To live with a minimum of money and with a maximum of life. And it's so much more than just Acro. It is so funny how my teenage me was always so ashamed, when my Mom picked up something from the street, saying she could turn that into a something or build a puppet out of it (she is a professional puppet player for grown-ups. If you're in Hamburg or around have a look!) or use it as a whatever. Now it's me who stops somewhere and screams out "hell yeah! I can make a basket out of this! Can we take some of these leaves home??" And annoy all my friends with it. Like mother, like daughter...

Massage train on my birthday
In the Acro community everyone is welcome. Money is not a thing (mostly, and if, than it is because it is one's main income and everyone is happy to help with that). What exactly Acro is will be part of another post but at this point I'd like to point out the beautiful community which exist around Acro as a sport. It's like Breakdance. It's not just training. It's a lifestyle. And as your jeans change to baggy, your music into Hip Hop, your name into a BBoy/BGirl name, your hair into Braids and you find yourself at another battle in another city every weekend, when you start Breakdance (at least that was the lifestyle back in 2002...), so changes Acro your wardrobe into colourful yoga pants and onesies, you find yourself much more comfortable in cuddle puddles and 8-Minute-hugs (did you know that a person, who hugs for 8 minutes a day is scientifically proven a happier person...?) and you basically turn into some mixture of a monkey (climb everything which could be possible climbed!) and a very happy child (smile, jump and sing!).
We make you fly ;)

I was told lately that this whole community sounds like a bunch of weed-smoking-hippies. :) I would like to clarify that: 99% of these people are probably healthier than you: Ǹo cigarettes (let's say 98%, I'm definitely one of the unhealthier parts), no drugs but humanity, a lot of sports and body knowledge, sensuality, friendship and awareness instead. If we seem high, we're mostly just having fun and it's rather a mentality and movement thing than a drugthing. In fact I really felt high after the last tantra-workshop. High from love around me. I know it sounds like a hippie mentality - but so many of my friends back in my other home tell me, how unsatisfied they are with their lifes, every time we speak.  How they feel alone and not loved and can't really name it. How they feel the overload of work turns into back pain and they just wanna break out. 
Well. I might live exactly this life. And the truth is, we all can, if we decide so.
Endless support from
I for myself rather learn to be aware of what I have and appreciate that, instead of crying over the things I am missing. This is a form of mind control, business coaches use as well and not as flower-power as you might think... I'll explain the whole concept in another post. For me I can say, it totally worked and the community, the lifestyle, and the colourful streetart here plays a big part in this.
And yes, I still do plan my future and don't just live in the day. I do work and I do think about stupid things like insurance and pension (what a lot of people forget by seeing a lot of fun pictures on facebook....). I just found a way, which works way more healthy for me and keeps the work-life-balance, which I had lost somewhere in Europe in 2015, when my back finally told me to stop and gave me my first slipped disc by the age of 25. I personally won't forget the lesson from Nepal: not only 3rd world countries have their problems. 1rst world countries actually might have the bigger ones. And that's why I reach out to you guys and tell you my story. It helped me and maybe one of you to make a step. And the truth - or at least my truth - is: making yourself happy does not mean you stop being a part of society. Or you'll never get a job. Or whatever people might think about us nomads. It just means, you maintain your balance within job, life and soul. And I strongly believe that this way is healthier in a longterm way. And that those, who are able to keep this balance, in whatever way they do that, will not end up with backpain, burnout and frustration/depression which, to be honest, is not the most successful way of doing a job. So for those who know, I just say:

...If you like pina colada... Come with me and escape!

Do you know a special community or project in your city? Or do you totally disagree? Share it with me in the comments below :)

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