Day 1,034: The Night He Came Back

31.10.11: Why don’t Aussies go tropo insane for Halloween? I’ve seen more life in a terminal ward. I’m sure there are plenty of middle-aged bores who would rather not be hassled by kids for sweets once a year, but I’m of the opinion that it’s fun and you should save all your days of doing nothing interesting for when you’re dead.

I dearly wanted to get dressed up as some crazed serial killer, or a vampire, or a suicide bomber or a catholic priest and go out and terrorise the neighbourhood. But nobody wanted to play. So instead I boarded a train to the city centre and met up with a couple of mates from the UK and (rather unsuccessfully) stalked the streets of Melbourne city centre.

Look, I know I really shouldn’t be complaining about the city that experts around the world regard as the ‘most liveable’ (although, seriously, how do you become an expert on liveability?!). But what they mean to say is ‘most liveable if you plan to spend the short time you have on this miracle of a planet doing nothing but shopping, talking about house prices and watching telly’.

Bugger that for a game of soldiers. Look, I’m all for being polite (I’m not), but the fact is that I’m writing this blog and you’re reading it: you can make all the excuses you want, but if you’re not living your life the way you want to live it you have nobody to blame but yourself. “Oh but my mortgage” is no excuse and neither is “oh but my kids”. Give the bank your house, take your kids with you. You can easily travel the world as a vagabond, a vagrant or an alcoholic. Get out there people, you need the world more than the world needs you.

There are some of us that don’t like comfortable. There are some of us who are happy to travel for two days through the jungles of Guinea in a broken down Peugeot 407 with one buttock on the handbrake. There are some of us who love the unpredictable, the spontaneous, the great unknown… people who know the secret of living is to throw yourself at the tide.

Quite why people think Melbourne is ‘liveable’ is beyond me. Here I am on Halloween in the city centre with a BANK HOLIDAY TOMORROW and the streets are dead.

But this may not be Melbourne’s fault. Melbourne has an Achilles Heel, a chink in Smaug’s armour, a sub-space frequency that deactivates the Borg: it has no city centre. It has a CBD, a “Central Business District”, but as world-renowned party cities Liverpool and Newcastle can attest, what you really need is a CPD, or a “Central Party District”. There’s a bit of fun to be had in the southern suburb of St. Kilda, but if you’re male and don’t turn up in a limo, don’t be surprised if they knock you back for being ‘too drunk’. The suburb of Northcote has two bars open past midnight. TWO. And in general if you’re not fond of Robbie Williams, Akon and Autotune then you’re probably not going to have a good time. The city centre is quiet most nights, and dead on the others. Too spread out, too expensive, too pretentious, too no-you-can’t-wear-that too everything that isn’t conducive to a decent night out.

The fact remains I spent one night in Luanda, the capital of Angola, and went to a kick-ass house party. I spent one night in Honiara, the capital of The Solomon Islands, and went to a kick-ass house party. I spent one night in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, and went to a kick-ass beach party. I’m in Melbourne for what can only be described as the most awesome opportunity for booze, make-up and mayhem in the calendar year and what happens…?


Australia, I feel like writing what my teachers wrote about me in school.

“Could do better if he tried.”

They were lazy hack goodfernuthin’ can’t-think-what-to-do-with-my-life teachers, but they were right. I could.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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