Yesterday I walked 3.2km from Burwood Station to my parent’s house in Concord. No big deal. I’ve walked it a million times in the last 8 years I’ve lived in Sydney after habitually missing the bus; usually hung over, hungry, heavy with bags, uni books and hatred for Sydney Buses and other public transport entities. The only difference was this was the last time I’d walk this route. And as I knew this would be my last opportunity to walk through the ‘wood I made whoopee with nostalgia and dragged my arse towards Parramatta road.

I’ve spent most of my time in Sydney in the East, trying to avoid the western interior; an inland oasis for personalised number plates and weekends spent in Westfields. However my fettish for European holidays and not starving to death has forced me back for a few rent-free sabbaticals throughout my twenties at what my dad describes as the Concord Hilton, the last stint being a savings effort for 12 months off to drive around the world.

I digress. The fact is I was walking home for the last time to pack my bags and drive to the UK.

My dead iPod presented an opening to reflect on where I was going in the next 12 months, and where I’d been since I arrived in Sydney as a 17 year old. This stream of consciousness was simultaneously incriminating, hilarious and boring.

Without going into raw detail; I really, really grew up in Sydney. Not in a chronological sense of the phrase, but Sydney has been the backdrop for a very slow coming of age for me, and whether I come back here again or not, I’ll always have fond memories of how living here shaped me into the person I am today.

It was a place that I was reluctant to come to as a 17 year old school leaver from Hobart, leaving the network of friends I relied so heavily on, where I had no idea what I wanted to do, where I began to understand how socially political a place could be, where I got my first jobs; from the shittest of the shit as a receptionist and debt collector, to working the perfume counter at DJ’s to an Alannah Hill girl for far too long, to the advertising dept at The Daily Telegraph. Years of overworked and underpaid, drunken disorderly and lessons learned. The best of career opportunities, the most cherished of relationships, and finally this – a chance to travel and move onto the next big thing.

So whilst everything that lies ahead is new and exciting and terrifying, I thought I’d just acknowledge the last eight years of growing up in Sydney, and say goodbye to those long walks down Burwood Rd which have been a constant measure of how a person can learn so much, and still not know how to read a bus timetable.