11 Dec 2013

chowing in melbourne, australia {and on traveling alone}

Is it just you? Are you traveling alone? Table for one? Only you? You’ve come a long way by yourself! You’re so brave to be traveling on our own. Could you grab that table instead, because this one by the window seats four? Do you have a boyfriend? Do you have a husband? Do you ever get lonely?

This morning I made a list of all the places I’ve traveled alone: Prague, Rome, Frankfurt, Florence, Toronto, London, Paris, Biarritz, San Sebastian, St. Petersburg (Russia), Pisa, Cinque Terre, Siena, Bayonne (France), San Gimignano, Pompeii, Hong Kong, Bali, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Kaplong Pluk, Madrid, Mexico, Melbourne, Fiji, Tuscany, Copenhagen, and most of the United States. I’ll be 38 next week, and I actually find this to be a paltry list, as I’ve so much more of the world to see. Continents left to navigate, languages to untangle. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I plan to experience the world on my own.

Ever since I was old enough to board a bus and carry a map, I’ve been itinerant. In high school I had few friends, so I spent weekends discovering obscure parts of Long Island, taking buses to miniature towns dotting the shoreline and others engulfed by trees. Waking up and wondering how the day would reveal itself thrilled me, and I never craved the company of others. I simply got used to my own company, and for a time, I lived a great deal of my life in my head. Being alone gives me the time and space to think and often this is the time when I write best. Often, I find it strange when people tell me I’m “brave” for traveling alone. What’s brave about boarding an airplane and planning a holiday? It’s not as if I’m fleeing to the Middle East or planting myself in war-torn countries. I’m acutely aware that there are a great deal of countries where traveling alone, especially if one is a woman, presents challenges. I’ve heard stories. Morocco, Goa, parts of the Middle East and Africa — these are dream destinations, but I plan to be smart and either travel with a group or hire a male guide. Because the freedoms and cultural norms that exist in the States don’t board a plane with me, even if I desperately want them to. Part of my work is researching the places I visit, and ensuring I fully understand the culture before I clear customs.

This is a roundabout way of saying that flying to Syria is brave. Traveling to Fiji is not. Is being alone with your thoughts brave? Is it because I am a woman and one assumes that women should be accompanied by others (perhaps a gentleman?) when they travel? I’m genuinely curious what makes one traveling alone brave, because, for me, I simply prefer to play my days as they lay. The idea of having to placate someone else’s schedule exhausts me. I spend the great deal of my life surrounded by people, and sometimes I just don’t want to speak unless I have to. There’s nothing more liberating than exploring a city on my own, and I guess I have to figure out what this means should I find a great love. Part of me knows that I will want to sometimes fly solo, and this love will have to accept that too.


When I arrived in Melbourne, I didn’t have much of a plan. Two days in a large city can be overwhelming, so instead of trying to cram a whole fantastic culture of art and architecture into 48 hours, I settled on a walking tour and food journey, knowing that I’ll likely return to this part of the world someday soon. This morning I woke and left my home at 7, not realizing that many shops in Melbourne don’t open to at least 9 or 10, but it was nice to roam gardens and streets without all the fanfare of a busy morning. I’m staying in an artists’ workspace in the S.E. Suburb of Richmond (think Williamsburg), so I didn’t have to deal with the frenzy of CBD (Central Business District), which is akin to midtown Manhattan, until the afternoon.

I found Martha Ray’s on a lark, really. Friends unanimously sung the praises of Brunswick Street (think East Village with its eclectic and vintage shops, art galleries, old houses, smart coffee houses and outdoor cafes), so I found myself drawn to Martha Ray’s clean, minimalist space, but its scrumptious menu (Broadsheet review). I’m told the eatery is known for their sandwiches, but this filling breakfast of puffed corn, rice, quinoa, baked in agave syrup and coconut oil, topped with local fruit, was TO DIE FOR. And did I mention the amazing coffee? Because I should.


If it’s delicious biscuits and cakes you’re after, Slowpoke Espresso is the right spot (Broadsheet review). After devouring a raspberry and white chocolate (you read right) muffin that married the perfect crunch of the cracked muffin top with the light sweet flavor of the cake, I chatted up one of the baristas. Coffee is practically an art form in Australia, and proprietors take their beans and brews pretty seriously. Melbourne isn’t a city where you’ll find a Starbucks on every block, and I’m relieved. Instead, you’ll find yourself ordering a “short black” (espresso), “long black” (hot water + double espresso), “flat white” (think latte + more froth), as well as the requisite lattes and cappuccinos — all strong and impeccably flavored. I sampled a few brews at Slowpoke, and after nearly shaking from all the caffeine, I nabbed a fat chocolate chip biscuit (cookie) for takeaway (to go).


You have to know that everyone in the free world told me to go to Chin Chin, THE place to eat in CBD. Part restaurant, part bar, part art space, this reservation-free spot (except for parties of 10-12), gets bawdy at night (or so I’m told), but since my habits are more of the Geritol variety, I decided to enjoy a tame early lunch. Luckily I arrived at Chin Chin at 11:30AM, as the place was quickly booking up. From the airy warehouse decor to the branded glasses to the Southeast Asian menu and chill vibe, you will not only want to hoover everything on the menu, you’ll want to score the Chin Chin Cookbook to recreate the experience at home. I settled on the corn + coriander fritters served with a plum jam (AMAZING!) and the Laab Gai — stir fried spiced minced chicken, lime, ground roasted rice, served with iceberg lettuce cups (HOLD ME!). You’ll find generous portions of noodles, rice, meat and vegetarian options with price points from $18AUD-$30AUD. So glad I listened to the hype, as Chin Chin definitely deserves their accolades.


After leaving Chin Chin, I was on the hunt for more coffee and perhaps another sweet, so I checked out Duke’s Coffee Roasters, a very busy spot in CBD (Broadsheet review). While the coffee was full-on, my peanut butter cookie was less so. A bit dry, poor crumb and a peanut butter flavor that overwhelmed the chocolate, I was a bit disappointed.

Tomorrow, I plan to hit Journal, Krimper, Manchester Press, Tivoli Bread Bakery, as well as the food markets!

Special thanks to Sue Wells, Jessica Goon and Ginny Gruber for their amazing, lengthy recommendations!


  1. Hi, I hope you don’t mind my getting in touch but I enjoy your posts and the fact you’re travelling is amazing – I travelled Asia last year and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I guess I just had a question which you may get quite often but, how do you afford to move around like you do? I’m considering moving town with my partner and that’s complicated enough when you consider jobs, if it’s right and whether if we’ll like it! But how do you move around without working? I hope to hear from you soon and know the reason I ask, is because I’d love to go again, to explore and write whilst I’m doing so… Arushi

    Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2013 15:12:20 +0000 To: arushi_112@hotmail.co.uk

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
    • Arushi,

      Thank you for visiting + for the lovely note!

      I actually do have a job — I’m a digital + consumer marketing consultant, and taking on projects, while living frugally, allows me to take 1-2 trips a year.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers, Felicia

      Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  2. saira777 wrote:

    wonderful photos and writing

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  3. I agree with you. I travel by myself all the time. The constant questions and comments can be annoying. There is nothing brave about going to bloody London alone!!

    I find I meet more people when I travel alone and I’m more aware of my surroundings.

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
    • Exactly. I tend to be a lot more present in my travels when I’m alone. I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head 🙂

      Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  4. canalcook wrote:

    When I lived in Melbourne I frequently ate out alone. I moved there on a whim knowing only one person, it was my first time with a salary and I got bored of eating at home. I used to go the Italian Waiter’s Club a lot because the staff were so friendly and never made me feel odd about eating by myself. I went to Sydney by myself for a weekend and had a great time.

    After that I backpacked around Laos and Thailand for much the same reason. People always say it’s so brave, but I just think it’s the stupidest thing in the world to miss out on doing something you want to do just because you’re by yourself. I doubt I’ll have the opportunity to go to Asia or Australia for a long time again, and I’m so glad I took the leap.

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
    • Couldn’t agree with you more! Although I actually like being alone, I wouldn’t forgo an amazing trip just because I couldn’t find a friend/partner to come with!

      On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM, love.life.e

      Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  5. petra wrote:

    amen. I don’t see the bravery in travelling alone either. depending on where you are, of course. I’ve been to SE Asia for the past six months, and the only challenges I encountered came from within myself. I do prefer to travel alone too. not need to justify anything. I can eat at the same food stall over and over again. the one most of my western friends would find unhygienic, ugly and uncomfortable. I get so much more done even though I spend lots of time reading, writing or simply sitting somewhere doing nothing. I’m comfortable with myself. and what’s most important, I learned a long time ago that you can’t wait around for company. if you want to do something, do it, even if you have to do it alone.

    that said, I do hope to meet my perfect travel partner one day, and hopefully spend the rest of my life with him. I had it for a while. it was great. I won’t compromise on that. if I end up spending the rest of my days roaming the world alone, that’s going to be ok too. but, you know, someone who gets you would be nice… xoxo

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  6. This post really hit home, thank you for sharing! I travel a lot for work and tend to be the only female so I venture out on my home and have no qualms about it. I get the same type of comments all the time and have the exact same sentiments. Sometimes its nice to be alone with your thoughts and not being tied to anyone else’s expectations for the trip. I just spent the weekend in Maui by myself and loved it!

    Posted on 12.11.13 · Reply to comment
  7. Melbourne! My old stomping ground, almost, when I was going there for work every few weeks. Good to read about some familiar and some new places, and about the coffee. I have found myself travelling alone when partners or friends went on side trips or got sick, or in free afternoons during a work trip, and find I have a very different experience of a city. My memories are more inward looking, somehow more dream like, often with incredibly vivid moments. It was fun in Rome and Hong Kong, wouldn’t do that in Cairo though.

    Posted on 12.14.13 · Reply to comment
    • Thanks, lady! I’m only sad that I didn’t stay longer in Melbourne. I do want to go back and explore the Great Barrier, Blue Mountain, etc. Warmly, f.

      Posted on 12.14.13 · Reply to comment
  8. Hi! I have to say that the words you said at the beginning of this post where almost from my mouth. I’m 19years old Finnish girl on around-the-world trip by my self, and man, how many times I’ve heard those questions! At the moment I’m in Sydney, going to go to Melbourne also so this post was really useful for me! And you have amazing pictures! Check out my travel blog; minimiimaailmalla.blogpost.com.au

    Posted on 12.22.13 · Reply to comment

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • As you guys know, I am BIG on education. My goal for this year is to share as much education and free resources on freelancing, marketing, and writing as possible. I'm even switching email list providers (moving to ConvertKit) so I can send you better emails related to what you're interested in. Don't care about the brand stuff, but want to know more about writing? I GOT YOU. When I sell resources, I want them to be relatively affordable. So, I'm starting small with a MONSTER guide on freelancing. I originally thought this was going to be 100 pages. Well, it's 150+ pages with 40% of NEW content I'm writing RIGHT NOW. Templates, how-tos, personal stories, resources, and everything you need to know about getting started, getting clients, onboarding them, managing them, and dealing with them when they drive you bonkers. .

You know me. I write long, comprehensive how-tos in ENGLISH, not jargon. .

So if you want to get started with freelancing (or are considering it), you're going to want to get this guide so you can avoid all the mistakes I made, get all the resources you need without spending $$$ and hours on the internet searching for competency. I'm selling this guide for $49. Pre-order link is in my bio. I'll be sending this out on 5/1, and then creating a fun course around it so the price will inch up a bit. .

And don't worry--I have guides in the works for people who want to write, market, and SO MUCH MORE. I'm on a tear, my friends. Pre-order #education2019tour
#freelancewriter #freelancetips #freelancer #risingtidesociety #beingboss #sharetheknowledge #brandstrategist #marketingtips #marketingstrategy #bosslady
  • In this era of competitiveness and self-serving "entrepreneurs," it's rare to come across a peer who is generous with their work and their heart. Rarely am I moved by people, but today I was on the receiving end of an act of kindness that I had to share. 
I contacted a peer in the marketing space, a woman whom I revere and admire. She's young, smart, passionate, hardworking, and knows more about marketing than most people I've encountered in my two-decade-long career. 
I wrote her wondering if she was selling educational materials she created a few years ago-- an education that helped me refine my acumen. She replied and sent me the materials FOR FREE. 
I gasped. 
Who does this? Who extends their work and kindness so generously? I came away inspired. Inspired to share my knowledge--as much as I can--for free.

So many people paint consultants, marketers, educators and course providers with a broad brush. Yes, there are hoards of incompetent hustlers. People who don't do what they teach. But there are those who are bright lights. And today I was reminded of that. 
There are good people out there and I can still be surprised by kindness.
#freelance #freelancelife #risingtidesociety #karma #beastudent #beingboss
  • With the exception of the cruelty that is tax day, I’m toasting some professional wins. I’m creating a comprehensive ebook on freelancing—the ultimate guide before I go the course route. Hit the link in my bio to subscribe to my email list to get all the details! I’m excited about this one because I’m rocking the baby steps before marathon approach.
Inspired by one of my professional heroes, @byreginatv, I removed 2,000 people from my email list and it felt glorious. Don't be tethered to a vanity metric. If people aren't connecting with you, the numbers are meaningless. I'd rather have a smaller, engaged audience of people who are into my vibe and work than the ability to shout out a high subscriber count. #foodforproverbialthought.
I’ve got new book recommendations up on my personal blog: http://www.feliciacsullivan.com if you want to devour some excellent reads.

Finally, aided by a new friend, I’m going to my first Quilt chat this week. The Wing isn’t my vibe and it’s can’t rationalize spending the money and Quilt is my scene. I’ll likely be chatting about this in my newsletter as I’m FINALLY in a place where I can network in a non-smarmy setting.
Here’s to an excellent start to the week!
#freelance #freelancelife #crushingit #bosslady #goaldigger #fuckhustleculture #beingboss
  • This year is shaping up to be my best yet, and I’m happy to have made it out of the dark country. I’m writing work that means so much to me. I’m reading 2 books a week. I’m tackling challenging, but thrilling projects. I’m collaborating with brilliant, beautiful friends. And I’m calm, centered, and focused. It too a long while and a breakdown to get here, but I’m grateful for my small patchwork of a family who always checked in, hired me when I desperately needed it, and didn’t flee when things got tough. Sometimes you need to feel the weight of your sadness to unburden yourself of it. Here’s to yummy lunches and the best year yet!
  • Over the past two years, I’ve been toying with teaching. I’ve taught marketing to creatives at USC. I’ve taught creative writing in New York. I’ve mentored employees and friends. I love learning and sharing what I’ve learned, and forpeople I know and love I often do it for free. 
So, what’s stopped me? Honestly, the machine that’s become the online course industry irritates me. Webinars that waste time. Who wants to watch a 45-minute infomercial? Not me. Or how about the fake fan love and Instagram platforms that are transparently transactional? Courses that are a million dollars, taught by people who haven’t done the thing they’reteaching beyond their own privileged platform. And did I mention that everyone looks the same? The super stars are white, well educated, and bragging about their seven-figure incomes. 
I mean, COME ON. 
Listen. I’m half-white, privileged as fuck, well educated, but I definitely don’t make seven figures. And I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated with freelancers who call themselves brand strategists (aka, predators posing as house pets) making bank, yet they lack the experience, education, and discipline. But I’ve learned that complaining does nothing if you’re not creating, if you’re not putting out the thing you want to see in the world. I spent two months creating an 8-step tutorial on how to build a brand platform because I was tired of people not having access to education and opportunity because they couldn’t drop $1,500 on a brand-building course.

Then I thought about how I need to stop complaining about the shady machine that is the online course space and put out the education I want to see in the world, made accessible to people who don’t look like me or have the fancy-pants Ivy League degrees I have (which have driven me to paralyzing debt, but that’s a whole other bag of sad tricks). I’m planning two courses: one on getting into the freelancing game and another on building your brand and finding your customer. Interested? Sign up for my email list (link in bio), where I’ll keep everyone posted.
#freelance #beingboss #freelancing #risingtidesociety #brandstrategy #lifeisgrand
  • It may only be 5:48am, but I woke to amazing news. I’m toasting with coffee and a scone this morning. I’m partnering with brilliant friends and marketers (eh-hem, @luciaioevans) on incredible projects, my pipeline is healthy, my mental health is aces since I got off all personal social media. Granted, I won’t be able to see humans for the next two months as I’m locked down with some major projects, but I am not complaining. I’m ELATED. It’s all happening!!!! Yay! Finally!!!
  • You guys. I’m having an incredible fucking year. I’ve published tutorials, thought leadership and essays I’m proud of, I’m working with incredible clients who are breaking ranks, I’m partnering with brilliant people on projects, my pipeline is healthy, my mental health is getting back on track, and I’m reorganizing my business so I can run it more efficiently. Sometimes you have to applaud the wins, especially when they’ve been earned.
#fuckhustle #worksmarter #brandstrategist #freelancer #crushingit
  • What a day! Ive been floored and humbled by the tens of THOUSANDS who viewed my 8-part brand building series on medium (link in bio)! I’ve heard from four university professors who want to incorporate my work as assigned reading, the people who were grateful not to have to spend $2K on some wack course taught by an “expert” whose only success example is their personal brand.
Today, I had a day of interviews that culminated in a presentation to the executive team. After it ended, several people asked if I’d considered teaching because I just delivered a master class on brand strategy.
It feels good to know your stuff but still have the hunger and drive as a student!
#brandstrategy #marketing #brand #freelancer #nofauxmarketer #therealdeal #beingboss

Follow Me!