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My big move: leaving Berlin for Alice Springs wasn’t my choice. But as life wore on I healed there | Alice Springs


I watched the sun smack the sweltering bitumen, sending swirls of giddy air dancing above the rocky horizon into the blank, blue sky. I’d landed in Mparntwe, in the heart of Arrernte Country. Alice Springs.

I wasn’t there by choice. Earlier that year a serious spinal injury had led to two operations, unexpected complications and the unravelling of my physical and mental health. The ensuing months had left me single, jobless, extremely unfit and dependent on a parent for the first time in more than a decade. I needed a place to recover. Dad had moved to Alice a few years earlier and was the only person in my immediate family who could put me up. The town was a far cry from my beloved Berlin, where I’d spent the last few years treading water as a snarky, queer hipster. I was really good at it. As soon as I was able, I planned to resume life among the packed apartment buildings, bustling green spaces and hedonistic nightclubs.

The view over Alice Springs from Anzac Hill
The view over Alice Springs from Anzac Hill

I couldn’t stand Alice Springs when I first arrived, in part because of the circumstances that had brought me there. I was used to big moves, having shifted overseas several times, but I usually had some agency over where I was going. Lack of control provoked my insecurities and manifested as resentment in those early days. I was also wary of rural living, having grown up bullied…

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