The Paradox of Living in a Remote City

I’ve never lived in a city before. I spent the first nineteen years of my life living in a regional town. Then I spent six months in another regional town, but that one was twice the size of my hometown. And then I found myself in Darwin, and it was not what I expected.

In trying to prepare for my new life in Darwin I spent a lot of time visualizing what it would be like, and the picture I had in my head was a little something like this: a bunch of skyscrapers in the middle of a flat, hot desert.

As my partner and I drove into Darwin we were both surprised at how green and lush everything was, and I was seriously dumbfounded by the lack of skyscrapers.

But after a few days I started to adjust my idea of Darwin. It was a very wet, very humid, very hot city, with all of the shops and fun things to do that I had missed out on in my regional town life (except for rare school excursions to Sydney).

My first clue that Darwin was not this well-supplied, bustling (but sticky) city that I thought came when my partner and I went on a search for a fruit market to do our grocery shopping (but more on that later – it needs it’s own post!).

And little by little the signs kept adding up. Coffee shops closed at 2pm, things that I could buy online weren’t stocked in store, and there were only two place to buy furniture. In all of Darwin.

Now I’ve definitely had my moments of cursing Darwin and cursing this shopping and this awful location, but I do have moments of clarity when I make the most of online shopping and free shipping, and if that means having to wait 5-10 business days to get that cushion I want then so be it.

And it was this false sense of security provided by the convenience of free click + collect that left me standing at the layby counter of my ‘local’ Target (which is thirty minutes away, by the way) trying to hold in my tears as a very kind employee explained to me that the stool I ordered had been broken in transit and someone was meant to call me and let me know.

I had not been called.

If I had the energy, I would have been angry. Not at the woman working behind the counter at Target, not the truck driver or the person who loaded my package, or at whoever forgot to call me.

I would have been angry at Darwin.

Angry that I had to order online for something as simple as a stool. Angry that it had to travel so far, during which travel time one of its legs unceremoniously snapped off. Angry that this was my only method of purchasing a stool and that even my previously trusty Kmart couldn’t provide me with the furniture and homewares that I was so used to.

But I wasn’t angry. Instead I was just defeated. Darwin had beat me. I held in my tears as I said I would wait another 5-10 business days for a new stool to arrive.

So Darwin may have won this round, but next time I order online I’ll be asking for extra bubble wrap.


Do you have a retail horror story? Let me know down below! Let’s endure these shopping hurdles together!


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