I’ve never seen so many people in one place before. Thousands converged in Melbourne’s CBD last Saturday for White Night, a twelve hour celebration of culture and creativity.
We went in by train, with no real plan. Our aim was simply to enjoy a meal, then walk around and soak up the atmosphere of our home city.
Sometimes it’s good to have no huge expectations.
The brochure read that …
“Tonight you will be treated to Liquid Skies, Flaming Serpents, Spacemen, Street Serenades, Dancing Fashionistas, Trains, Flying Books, Electric Eagles, Illuminated Fish, Street Art, Projections and be asked to ponder what if “.
There was so much to see but we didn’t see even a quarter of it.
But were we disappointed? Hell no!
It was a night that showcased and celebrated the streets we walk and the creative flair of our city, Australia’s cultural and musical capital.
Inspired by the international Nuit Blanche movement, which began in Paris, White Night Melbourne, in its sixth year, attracted more than 600,000 people.It’s hard to believe we were part of that, as we walked along city streets, normally lined with cars, but for White Night were for pedestrians only. Up above us on verandas and balconies soulful vocalists and musicans performed their magic.
Buildings along Swanston and Flinders Streets were transformed and illuminated with a kaleidoscope of projections changing the view every few minutes.
Everywhere we walked there were new discoveries, light displays and creativity.
Standing in front of artistic works prompted the imagination.
Some things defied our sense of reality, reminding us there are inspiring possibilities in everything.
But a girl has to eat too!
We had our heart set on Indian and Gaylord Indian Restaurant, Melbourne’s oldest curry house right in the heart of China town fit the bill perfectly.
After dinner the light show continued. The night was still young.
Normally, being the campers and nature lovers that we are, we avoid crowds like these, but there was a controlled and easy flow to the night.
We witnessed planetary attractions that made me think I’d stepped out of this world.
And into another universe.
A world of creativity and discovery … that’s what we found and amongst it was an overriding sense of calm.
That’s what affected me the most about the night. More impressive and illuminating than all the lights and spectacles put together was the vibe.
Amid this wave of people there was a feeling of respect, friendship and connection.
In a world that’s often tarnished by ugly senseless acts a night like this reminds me of the kindness, compassion, creativity and overriding good that exists in this world.
Love and laughter rules, if we let it.
Earlier in the night we’d met Michael and Tonya, who danced with unbridled exuberance to the swinging sounds of the Big Blues Band.
Their smiles and fluid moves seemed to embody the whole feel of the night, a smooth flow and an unspoken acceptance that we’re all in this together.
On the walls of Flinders Street Station illuminated words read “what if you forgive someone today”.
Can you imagine a world full of forgiveness? Where differences could be resolved with empathy and compassion, instead of acts borne from fear and paranoia.
White Night proved that people of all ages and races could come together in peace.
There was no aggression, no pushing or rushing, everyone was there for the same reason, to discover and appreciate the adventure of the night.
If only we could carry this forward every single day.
Maybe we can.
Walking through Melbourne on White Night did need concentration, but with focus it was like wading through a tranquil sea of humanity and it filled me with a sense of hope.
Slow, calm and a steady respect for others always wins the race.
Instead of just being a face in the crowd I felt as though we were a part of something much bigger.
Here’s a short video I’ve put together, in which I’ve tried to capture the mood of the night.
The White Night festivities may be over now but the light and unified love I felt was very real and can live on indefinitely.
That’s what the world needs more of, a collective consciousness of peace and kindness.
As for all the attractions we missed, well, there’s always next year.
Shine on everyone, the world is a beautiful place and it needs you.
In light and love as we continue the journey
Stay in touch and connect with me on Facebook.
Come check out my new group for like minded travelers
Outanabout YOLO “You only live once”