I knew I had to write a post about my experience of Crunchy Town and I’m kicking myself its taken me this long as it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in Australia. I know whatever I write won’t quite do it justice and its so difficult to explain an experience like it, but I wanted to document it as best I could for myself to be able to look back on. Since I have visited it has moved to a new location and obviously there are different people staying there so I cannot comment on the current Crunchy Town from personal experience, but I am sure with Sam’s vision it is just as incredible as before.
Crunchy Town is a communal house based in Melbourne that is typically found through couch surfing or word of mouth. It was started by Sam who is considered to be the leader, although he promotes a strong sense of community in the house where everybody contributes. I came to know about Crunchy Town as I met a couple of people living there through a good friend and after some time of knowing these people, I ending up visiting and eventually moving in! From the first time I visited I didn’t think it would be somewhere I could actually stay. The set up they had at the time was that there were two houses next door to one another which were connected through a few missing fence panels. There would be around 20 to 30 people staying there at any one time sleeping wherever was available and sharing beds with total strangers. Sounds a little crazy right?
I couldn’t get my head around the idea until I actually visited. It wasn't until I actually met the people living there who were so accepting and open minded that I could consider sleeping next to someone I barely knew or being so open and accepting of all types of people. It was so refreshing to be in an environment where nobody would judge you and where everyone would welcome you. It was a little intimidating for me at first, I will admit, as there were so many people to meet but once you get used to having to say hello to and hug at least 20 different people when you walk through the door it actually feels really comforting. You’re never alone and you’re rarely bored at Crunchy Town, even just lounging around the house all day is fun as there is always someone to chat to or someone who's up for playing a game or doing something. Eating all together was a crazy experience too. Even as a visitor I was invited to eat with them, everyone was so welcoming and generous in every aspect. It kind of reminded me of feeding time at the zoo having so many people but it was so nice sitting around wherever we could all eating together.
For the introverted it may be a little difficult to get used to, it definitely was very strange for me at first, but everyone there seems to share such a similar mindset and they all seemed so welcoming and friendly. It helped that I already knew people whenever I was visiting or when I eventually moved in for a short time, but even those travelling alone were made to feel totally welcome and were accepted by all. Everyone is so eager to help out where they can too. Cleaning and cooking was always a group effort with everyone doing their bit to help out. Things got done a lot faster with so many helping hands too!
Although I only lived there for a short time I really enjoyed the experience and have never had an experience like it since I have been travelling. I’ve never been made to feel so welcome or met such a kind hearted group of people. I can’t really put into words the experience to be honest its so difficult to try and explain other than I will never forget my short time there and will only ever have fond memories of the house and the people I met.