Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Little Adventure #1 – The walking tour, May 2021.

Ages ago I read a blog post that said that when you retire, you should make an effort to go out and see things in your city that you’ve never had time for before. I can’t remember who wrote it but I filed that idea away in my head. After I got back from my holiday, I received the usual weekly email from Choose FI and they had a suggestion: Google ‘fun things to do near me’ and see what comes up.

So I did.

One of the options was free walking tours in Melbourne. My vibrant and youthful friend Scott introduced me to walking tours when he showed me around London and Paris back in 2015. They’re fabulous. Even though I’ve lived in Melbourne all my life, I knew I’d learn bits of information that I didn’t know before.

So I decided – now was the time to start the Little Adventures challenge. One Little Adventure a month.

And yes – I paid my tour guide something at the end of the tour. I may be frugal but I’m not a barbarian!

Here are some of the photos I took.

The old Magistrates Court. People like Ned Kelly would’ve walked these steps.

The Old Melbourne Gaol is right next door. Lived my whole life here and never been. Now I know where it is.

The Royal Exhibition Building. They were giving covid jabs in there. If I hadn’t already booked my appointment, I would’ve raced back there to get one.

If you look up towards the top, you can see a lorikeet in a hole in the branch.

Looking towards the Treasury building. It was built sturdy – it was holding all the gold from the gold rush. We had the biggest gold rush in the world, back in the day.

This one is for Scott, who dragged me to a Babushka doll shop in Lincoln when I was over there in 2015. I could’ve come to The Block arcade and purchased one far more cheaply!

Back last century, these laneways near Flinders st were home to the rag trade. My grandfather worked all his life for a wholesale clothing retailer and this was where he spent his working days. Now, all of these little laneways are home to cafés and restaurants.

The dome at the top of Flinders st station.

As I was crossing the bridge over the river, I saw the patch of lawn in the gardens that I always met my year 12 students for lunch when we were going to see a play. It was nice to see another teacher had the same idea.

We finished at a little-known picnic spot with breathtaking views of the city up and down the river.

The walk took around two and a half hours and it covered a fair whack of the city centre. It finished soon after 1PM and I debated – should I go back to Degraves st to one of the little cafés and grab lunch, or zip home? I had a muesli bar leftover from my South Australia trip in my bag and I was right beside the station…

I went home. BIG MISTAKE.

This is when the unexpected adventure happened.

When I got back it was 2:30.

The dogs were inside. No one else was. I’d taken the train into the city so I didn’t have my car keys with me.

I texted Ryan26. “Are you on a walk?”

He texted back, “I’m in class.”

Shit. I knew both David27 and Ryan26 were due home at 6 PM. I had to wait.

The dogs came out through the doggie door and I met them in the back yard.

I did some weeding.

I had an excellent book in my bag that I was reading on the train – Klara and the Sun’ by Ishiguro. I finished it, sitting on the back couch with the dogs all over me.

It began to get cold. I threw the ball for Scout and Poppy for a while, then I grabbed a towel that was hanging on the line and wrapped it around me.

It got colder and darker. We moved out to the couch on the front verandah. Scout huddled on my lap under the towel and the cavaliers wedged in beside me. They were warm.

I sat there, thinking philosophical thoughts and vowing to install a key safe TOMORROW.

I’ve never been so glad to hear the latch on the front gate click and to see Ryan26 come home!

Apart from the being locked out thing, I count my first Little Adventure as a success. I got to see and hear things about my city that were new to me, it was a great way to get some exercise and I have some places filed away in my head for future Little Adventures.

I think this could be a great idea for retirement!


  1. Loretta

    Love this idea! Looking at your photos takes me down memory lane as I spent a lot of time wandering the city with the kids when they were younger. And you should definitely have stopped in Degraves St and had lunch (serves you right for being so frugal, hahaha).

    • FrogdancerJones

      It was more the convenience of being so near the train station – and getting home before all the private school kids invaded the train.

  2. Erith

    Good idea. Have done these abroad, but must do an Edinburgh one…

    Shame you were locked out. I keep a key at my neighbours….

    • Frogdancer Jones

      I have a key safe now. I asked the locksmiths how much it would’ve cost to get them out.
      So I just have to be a doofus 1.5 times and the key safe will pay for itself!

  3. Scott

    Thanks for the vibrant and youthful remark!

  4. Budget Life List

    Once, I got locked out of a house all day. I spent it one the phone with my mom and creeping on neighbors.

    The irony was that I was house sitting.

    Its a fond and funny memory, now!

  5. Lucinda

    Love adventures in one’s own town. I plan on doing an A to Z of Sydney. Visiting suburbs by alphabet. Maybe add an anti-A to Z – all the suburbs people avoid or that don’t rate.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I don’t know about the anti A – z. There could be good reasons why people avoid those places! On the other hand, if you’re looking for real estate, you might come across some hidden gems…

Leave a Reply

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