Monday, April 1, 2013

Down The Rabbit Hole...

'Tree change' is the new 'sea change'. There are some people who want to swap their hectic city lives for the seemingly peaceful and serene life that the country offers.

I wasn't one of those people.

This is me back in my uni days. Probably about to head into the city on my fourth night out in a row.
For those of you who haven't read my book, I was slightly reluctant about moving to the country. Perhaps more than reluctant. In denial is more accurate. I wanted to save some money and move overseas. The country was a mere pit stop in my flash dance to a foreign country.

"You'll end up marrying a farmer." My friends and family would say.
"Why would anyone marry a farmer? And, clearly you all don't know me very well." Were my standard responses.

The country was some far away place that I had barely heard of. Life beyond the city limits was a twilight zone, and I was nervous of passing down the rabbit hole to find my way out west. And I was very much Alice in Wonderland in the beginning.

I wore inappropriate clothing, and found the locals somewhat different to myself. There were Mad Hatters for sure, except these ones also drove Utes and wore Wrangler jeans and boots. It was hard, nay impossible, to get a decent cocktail at the local pub. I knew no one.

And I was lonely. For all of 5 minutes.

That's right folks. Only 5 minutes. And after that I didn't really have time to scratch myself.

"Don't you get lonely out there in the never-never?" This is the number one question I get asked (only, not really in those exact words). And honestly, the answer is no. Sometimes I wish I had more quiet time.

The invitations are constant. This year alone I've attended numerous barbeques, get togethers,  birthday parties, a hens night, family gathering, numerous dinners and even a wedding (that I wasn't invited to, but that's another blog). That's not even touching on the school functions, community events, fund raisers and local celebrations.

If it's a tree change you're after, then I'm a strong advocate for life in the country. I give it two thumbs up, but it's not always easy. But what life is?

It doesn't matter where you move; city, sea or country. Cracking into a new community can be tricky. Rural communities are no different, except that there are some families who have been friends for generations, and breaking into that little circle can take some time. But it's not impossible.

Get involved in all things community. Yes, it's hard work at times, but anyone who's willing to involve themselves in these events, is also likely to appreciate your effort and then reciprocate the favour by inviting you to other social events. This goes for local committees, sports groups and school events.

Having children also helps, but isn't the be all and end all. Many of my good friends are people I met through having children. Before I married, I recall having a conversation with a local girl who told me that 'getting married and having children' would help cement my place in the community.' I was devastated at the time, but have since learned that it's true. But before we all go hating on the country, I find this also to be true in the city too. Of course in the city you can meet people at gyms and other businesses, but that sort of happens here too.

And people are so friendly here! We wave at complete strangers in cars (the one finger wave anyone?)

FYI - I usually stop this wave around Goondiwindi. Experience has taught me that's the limit...
Newcomers to rural communities are first viewed with some curiosity and suspicion, and are soon quickly welcomed into their social niche.

"But what about the isolation?" Another popular question I get asked.

I am geographically isolated from the nearest town (only 1/2 an hour, but still, that town has a population of 1000). After that there is St George, with a population of about 2000, slightly more facilities and schools. And then we are 2 1/2 hours from Goondiwindi - the nearest 'decent city', because it has a McDonalds. Finally we are 5 hours from Toowoomba, which is the 'city' closest to where we live, with a proper shopping mall and loads of fast food outlets. (The only real way to judge the size of a populated centre.)

Isolation from my family is no longer an issue thanks to the Internet. In the beginning I genuinely struggled with being away from friends and family, but 'life' seems to get in the way of my self pity these days.

These days I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. I still make it to the city, where I indulge in a spot of binge shopping, movie watching and social purification. But then I get to come home to the farm. The golden silence, wide open spaces, clean country air and endless blue skies.

I'm well and truly down the rabbit hole in terms of where my life was and where it is now, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Apparently my friends and family knew me even better than I knew myself. x

Russell (next door), me and CP.


  1. Oh yes I hear you. And agree with every single word x

  2. Having lived at North Star for a few years many years ago I can agree 100%. There is something very special the country and its people.


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