Sydney, Australia. A Place I Love.


This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Sara Hardman from England. Thanks for your entry Sara!

Is it possible for a city to break your heart?
If it is, it’s Sydney and it took mine in July.

I moved to Australia on the Working Holiday visa at the age of 29. I sold my house, left my career and fully intended to never come back.

July 24, Circular Quay, Sydney NSW

I’m sitting in Opera Bar at Circular Quay like I do most days after work. It’s a view I’ve seen a hundred times but this time, as the sun goes down over the Harbour Bridge, it’s obscured by the tears in my eyes.
It’s 6pm as I look out over the harbour and up at the coloured blur of lights as traffic passes over the bridge.  Commuters are making their way home. Bumper to bumper, cars full of bored rat-race workers trying to make their way their way back to their waiting families. They don’t care that they are sitting on the most beautiful bridge in the southern hemisphere. They don’t even notice the majesty of the Royal Opera House as the evening lights dance over her curves. They could be anywhere and it’s irrelevant because they have to be somewhere.


Sara Hardman-writing-contest


I have nowhere to be. No one is waiting for me.  For two years now it’s been just me and this city and for that reason, I see things they will never see.

I know that as the sun sets, a gentle light hits the top of the Shangri La hotel and casts as blade of gold down over the water. I know the way the freshly cut lawn smells in Hyde Park when it’s been raining and the way my heels sound as I run over the cobbles on Argyle Street when I’m late for work.
I know that at 6am a young girl sits under the railway station eating bread that she steals from the delivery man as he stacks fresh crates for the food court. I know that there’s a lady who dances alone in the Botanical gardens and reads an imaginary newspaper to an imaginary friend. I know that if you walk past the Queen Victoria Building at 10pm there’s a couple kissing goodbye as they wait to take separate buses home. I know that that the suited man who sits in the window and orders coffee in Gloria Jean’s every lunchtime is hoping that the young, blonde waitress will one day notice him.

I am love with this city.  I’ve travelled a lot in my life and passed through more cities than most but I’ve never belonged anywhere like I belong in Sydney. I was lost until it found me.  Sometimes I would leave the city for a few days just to feel the warmth of ‘coming home’ when I returned.

My hands are cold on the glass of chilled white wine and a couple at the next table are looking at me with concerned faces. I’d forgotten about the tears, now steaming down my face and reach in to my bag for a tissue. I don’t have one.
I imagine they think my boyfriend has left me/I’ve lost my job/I’m having a terrible hair day. I wonder what they would think if I told them that not being able to look at this view anytime I like, for the rest of my life, is breaking my heart. That I have nothing to go back to.

They get up to leave and as she passes she leans in to gently push a pack of tissues across the table towards me. We share a smile and they walk away hand in hand.

I’m crying because it’s been two years and I’m borrowing a life that I can never own.

The friends I’ve made, the men I’ve loved, the jobs I’ve held, the homes I’ve shared, it’s all temporary because my visa days have always been numbered and I’m struggling to hold tight in a cyclone of transition.
I’m crying for the loss of the happiness that was always eclipsed by the shadow of time creeping up behind it.

I’m crying because it’s time to leave home to go ‘home’ and nothing has ever hurt like it.

About the Author: Sara Hardman:  I am a former daily newspaper reporter turned travel writer wanna-be. I am never happier than when I am out exploring, meeting new people, going off-map, washing elephants, skydiving over the Barrier Reef and, most importantly, making everyone jealous back home who is behind their desk. My writing is always from the heart and gives you the emotional and human journey rather than one led by maps and landmarks. Here’s my Twitter page

Writing Contest

This is an entry to the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest. The theme of this contest was "Inspiration: A Place You Love". Enjoy reading and don't forget to leave a comment!

10 responses to “Sydney, Australia. A Place I Love.

  1. Sara your article is beautiful. I hope you can stay in Sydney for as long as your heart desires. Your writing is like eating chocolate cake. And, you do not need a boyfriend to make you feel complete. If you broke up with him you don’t need to get him back. Just enjoy your life as it comes to you and when the time is right everything will fall right into place.

  2. OMG Sarah, I met you when you were last in Sydney and through your wonderful writings about Sydney life, I feel that I know so much more about you than I realised from meeting you in person.
    What a colourful and beautiful way you describe your experience , it made me realise that there is so much more to see when you take the time and really look!
    Enjoyed this immensely and thank you for opening my eyes to my lovely city of Sydney. Look forward to meeting up with you if you grace us again with your presence.

    1. Hi Brigitte,
      I’m really touched by your comments and it means so much to me that you will see the city in a new light now.
      Thank you for your kind thoughts, it’s lovely to hear and I certainly hope to be back in Sydney before too long.
      Sara 🙂

  3. This is awesome and really personal I love it. Definitely one of the better contest entries. If you do leave Sydney, I hope you are able to reel yourself back into it’s streets, best of luck! I loved how you focused on those details that nobody notices, instead of writing a broad and superficial explanation, you have painted a nice warm portrait of the city in my mind, kudos.

    1. Hi Diego

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad that you liked my personal style of writing, it means a lot to me that you took the time to comment and I do appreciate it.

      Sara 🙂

  4. Beautifully written and from the heart.

    Stu and I will be in Sydney in a few months doing what you’ve been doing, we can’t wait! I hope we love the city as much as you do and I really hope you find some way to stay or go back there in the future.

    1. Thank you Eloise! I hope you and Stu have an amazing time, it really is an incredible city with so much to see and a vibe I haven’t found anywhere else.

      Happy travels 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We Said Go Travel