I find life seems to be made up of chapters.
Childhood, my first chapter, was spent on Bribie Island – a rather idyllic and laid back upbringing with the only rule from my parents being that we were home by dark. I went around with bare feet or rubber thongs until I went to High School in Caboolture at around 12yrs when I had to wear real shoes.
By 18 I found island life constricting and left for New Zealand on a trip paid for by the Miss Australia Quest for which I had won a fund raising prize of a free trip as an entrant. I had a reckless intention not to return to Bribie and sold up everything I owned of value before I left, including my old car ($100) and some electric hair curlers. I had never ridden on public transport let alone a plane. I had never lived anywhere but with my immediate family. It was all pretty scary but I felt the need to expand my boundaries.
At 19 I married a 30yr old English emigrant to NZ. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Three kids and close to 30yrs later I found I had a kind of freedom back – with two daughters, one sin-in-law, four cats and three dogs in a small house half owned by myself and another family member.
15yrs later, after turning the yard of the small house into an organic haven of fruit trees and vegetable beds with honey and native bee hives, I find myself alone with one old dog on his last legs and four old Cockatiels. The agreement with the co-owner was to sell the house once the last of the old dogs, Hugo, had passed on (I couldn’t afford to buy them out – having had a run of unemployment and now in an enjoyable but low paid job).
Initially I was very resistant to give up my home (my husband used to move us every 2yrs so 15yrs in one spot felt blissfully like forever with my established garden) but eventually I had come to a place of acceptance and looked forward to the next chapter.
At the moment Hugo is being treated for pneumonia, at great expense I might add, but is quite happy. He turns 14 this December. A good age for a small dog but the end looms.
Once the house is sold I will come out with a moderate amount of money after paying off my bit of mortgage but not enough to buy another house or even a unit.
At 61 I don’t want another mortgage…considering I could even get one. So, faced with the choice of moving into some nasty cheap rental with no ground for growing anything (and I must garden), no rainwater tank for drinking or watering, no space for a pet I eventually came to a bit of a radical conclusion for a home lover like me. I realised that for the very first time in my entire life I would have complete freedom. No kids, no pets, no husband. I would travel.
How would I travel?
I could use my bit of capital and buy a campervan. Looked into that – very expensive to buy anything remotely comfortable and I would not have anything to drive around in apart from that vehicle. I would have to pay for camping spots. And I would have no capital left to handle emergencies etc.
I started checking out house sitting and realised that this could be a way of travelling with little expense. I could hang on to my economical diesel car and travel up the Queensland coast by increments. On my bucket list is a visit to the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm and this was one way of (eventually) getting there.
So, the immediate plan is to sell up everything – no point in storing easily replaced furniture at great expense. I will buy a laptop computer and blog my way up the coast – hunting out community and private gardens and organic farmers markets as I go. Hopefully. And staying in other peoples homes, looking after their gardens and animals.
This style of life can’t go on forever I realise. I am a homebody and will need a place of my own at some point – but in the meantime I will be checking out new places, meeting new people and looking for my perfect spot to live. My Mum at Bribie may also need my assistance as Carer at some point.
It will sort itself out in the end.
I have a plan 🙂