Once you have lived in the country, it is difficult to return and live within the boundaries of city life. But live in the city we did for many years, caught the trappings that seem so unimportant now. Leanne, my wife, grew up in Budgeree – a glorious place of rolling grassy hills that in the closing decades of the the 19th century was cleared and carried dairy cattle, and is now home to an eclectic mix of dairy and beef herds, market and hobby farmers, and simply those seeking a quieter life. She left for city to study teaching in her late teens, but home was never far away. A two-hour drive would see her at the kitchen table of her parents, with coffee in hand, catching up on the local news.
I had but fleeting experiences of the country compared with Leanne, but those experiences have stayed with me to this day. Most memorable were pineapple farms, friendly people that would treat you as one of their extended family, bare feet, and living most of the day outside made me feel as though I was truly home.
This feeling of wanting to return the country grew inside Leanne and I up to the point where we were unable to ignore it anymore. We wanted to reconnect with nature, with each other and to live a life more simple. This is our story of success.
In moving to the country, we have totally changed our life and our thinking. We self-built our family home using sustainable materials. We invested in sustainable energy systems (wind and solar), and solar hot water that heats our home (boosted by a wood fired boiler) – all costing less than connecting to the electricity grid. Consequently, we have no energy bills other than fuel to run a backup generator. Life is simpler. We spend a lot of time in the fresh air outside, tending to the garden, planting trees, or exploring the natural wonders of our local area. Living 30 minutes out of town means that we need to plan our shopping in advance and ultimately save money in the process. Leanne and I have found jobs close to home and although our collective take home pay has dropped by 25 percent, we have more money in the bank than we ever had. Our children catch the bus at our front gate, instead of us driving them 15 minutes each way to get to school. We keep a brood of hens, and they feast on our food scraps each night. Hens are easy to keep and provide an abundant supply of eggs. The land around us gives opportunity for growing our own vegetables, fruit and herbs. We are at the very start of this journey and have so much more to do.
The list of benefits of living closer to nature is endless – the list of opportunities even greater. It’s a choice that has brought abundance into our lives and for that I am eternally grateful.