We arrived in Melbourne, Australia, after a month of road tripping around New Zealand. It had been an incredible month of hiking, swimming, cycling, and exploring, but we were also very ready for a change: namely, a change toward a more settled few weeks in a single home.
But “home” means more than just a roof and an address. Especially traveling for as long as we are, we’re very intentional about creating a sense of home and comfort for our son whenever we can. With a full month in Melbourne, we were ready to make our AirBnb into a place that felt like our own. We stocked the fridge and cooked up meals big enough to provide left-overs for days. We went to the second-hand shop down the block and swapped out a few toys and picked up new ones. We bought fresh flowers, and created a schedule where my son could water all the house plants already in the unit.
Now, for the best $40 I spent during our stay:
On our second day in Melbourne, we walked past a big-box store. I was out of conditioner and floss, so we popped in to grab some basics. But as we rode the escalator up to the second story, our shopping plan quickly took a turn: my son had spotted the scooters on sale. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but the deal was great. We got a scooter and a helmet (with an awesome dinosaur design, might I add) for $36 USD, and the purchase transformed our Melbourne experience.
Namely, the scooter significantly increased the distances we could travel on foot. We had rented bikes for the month and were doing nearly all our commuting on bike, but the scooter was perfect for neighborhood errands and nearby playgrounds. We found ourselves using our stroller far less, and my son was much happier with the autonomy and adventure the scooter provided.
It also lent itself to so many teachable moments. We were able to teach our son how to stop at each intersection and wait for the “green guy” to appear at the crosswalk. As he got more comfortable, we taught him to use the break on the scooter, rather than his foot. We started to practice “left” and “right.”
The scooter was also simply something that could be his. He loved walking it into our apartment and “parking” it by the door. When we brought it along for adventures on the bike, he liked to be the one to load each piece into my paneers.
Zooming out, my February $40 was an investment in mobility. While two adult bikes for a full month were certainly more expensive, they were the other purchase I was happiest with in Melbourne. Riding, scooting, and walking around the city allowed us to feel like locals and instilled a sense of autonomy in each of us. And better yet, with a second-hand shop down the block, we know that scooter will get a good home upon our departure.
- Kangaroo Tour at the Anglesea Golf Club ($21 USD)
- Two heaping plates of spaghetti at Pelegrini’s Espresso Bar ($31 USD)