6 Months of Country Life: Highs, Lows and My Wish List

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When I was 18 years old, I moved from my home on a farm near a small country town to Melbourne.

I’d just finished high school and was accepted into a Bachelor of Psychological Science and Deakin University. I didn’t know how to catch a tram or train, I barely knew anyone, I didn’t have much money and I was terrified of driving around Melbourne in my little Toyota Corolla from the 1980s with a Melways (Melbourne road maps) balanced on my lap.

It was a huge life change, but the next 8 years in Melbourne would turn out to be completely eye-opening and soul-shifting.

In those years, I finished my Bachelor of Psychological Science and Graduate Certificate in Coaching and Counselling, found incredible friends, met the love of my life and got engaged 5 years later. I also struggled with anxiety, ended a long-term relationship and moved house 7 times.

I worked at The Body Shop, Herbert’s Pies, Jeanswest, Monash University and as a nanny for three different families.

As a Helpline Volunteer at the Anxiety Recovery Centre, I learned about mindfulness, which became one of my passions and inspired me to start The Mindful Kind podcast and write The Mindful Kind book.

In Christmas 2018, my fiancé (Dec) and I were visiting my home town and we started to wonder why we were still renting in Melbourne when we both really loved country life. Two months after that conversation, we moved in with my mum so we could find our feet and our country-living adventures began.

Here are some of the highlights and the downsides of living in the country.

Highlights

Spending more time around nature


Since moving to the city, I’ve really come to appreciate the beauty of my home town. It’s surrounded by mountains, there’s a huge lake to walk around, you can see so many stars on a clear night and our home is a short walk away from a sparkling river.

I often advocate spending time in nature to help relieve stress and boost happiness and I love how easy it is to do that now!

I can go for a 20-minute walk with my dogs along the river and see hundreds of birds and enjoy the fresh air.

I love wandering through mum’s garden and in the summer, picking blueberries and raspberries straight off the bushes.

In our free time, Dec and I enjoy exploring new hiking trails, finding waterfalls and swimming at the river.

This is the lifestyle we love and we can’t wait to see how it continues to unfold.

Feeling like we’re part of the community


When I go shopping in the local supermarket, I nearly always see someone I know. I love dropping into the local clothing store, Sassy Road, to chat with the lovely people there.

I picked up some shifts at the pharmacy and it’s been amazing to catch up with customers who remember me from when I used to work there as a teenager.

Dec has managed to find various work around town through friends and word of mouth.

It’s been great to feel like we’re part of the community and to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

Eating healthier food


Now that we don’t have access to our own kitchen all the time, I’ve started planning all our meals and cooking a week of dinners at the same time. We eat bircher for breakfast because I can easily make it and put it in the fridge the night before and we hardly ever get take-away anymore (mostly because no restaurants in town deliver and it would take us 30 minutes to drive there and back!).

We both feel healthier and more organised when it comes to food, which is awesome.

Saving money


One of the main reasons we moved back to the country was to save money and to remove some of the financial pressure while we focus on growing the business. We’ve been slowly paying off a car loan and credit card and it’s been so much easier since we moved to the country.

Planning for our wedding


When Dec asked me to marry him, we decided to have a 2-year engagement. For the first 6 months we just enjoyed being engaged and didn’t really talk much about the wedding. Over the last 6 months, we’ve started making a few plans and with just over a year to go, the big things are starting to come together. We chose our venue and reception, I found my dress, we chatted with our photographer and we’re about to book a musician! It’s been really exciting and we can’t wait to celebrate with our family and friends and kick off married life together.

Less traffic


It takes almost an hour to drive to the nearest traffic light because there are hardly any cars on the roads (compared to Melbourne, at least!). I’ve always been a nervous driver in the city and it’s so nice to have more space and less pressure when I’m driving.

Downsides

Loneliness


Even though it’s been great to feel welcomed into the community and to reconnect with family and friends, I’ve felt lonely at times. I’ve missed being able to walk down to a café and just spend time around people. Working from home is wonderful for so many reasons and I love having the company of our dogs, but it can be hard to spend so much time alone.

Snakes


I never used to mind snakes until I was 12 years old and stepped on a brown snake (luckily I was wearing thick boots at the time and when it struck, the fangs didn’t get through to my skin). Since then, I’ve developed a bit of a phobia and I feel squeamish even thinking about them.

Even though we moved back towards the end of summer, we’ve seen 4 snakes and Moose almost got bitten (we were walking the dogs on their leads and didn’t see it on the side of the track).

It’s not the best feeling to know they’re around and we have to be really careful with the dogs, especially as the closest vet is an hour’s drive away.

Living out of our suitcases


When we moved in with my mum and my younger brother, Dec and I took some time to organise our new space and we were living out of our suitcases for close to 3 months. It was amazing to be home and, of course, we were grateful to have the time to get organised! But still, I’m glad to be more settled now.

MY WISH LIST!


I hope I can do most of these things before the end of the year, but I’ll see how things go!

-Ride a bike along the High Country Rail Trail

-Attend the La Dolce Vita Festival in November

-Hike Mount Bogong

-Go to a dance class (I grew up dancing and really missed it when I moved to Melbourne)

-Do the Mount Beauty Gorge Walk

-Go on a date with Dec to Templar Lodge

-Visit the Woolshed Falls

-Plant dahlias

-Eat lunch at Coffee Chakra


Thank you so much for reading about my country living experiences!


To learn more about mindful living and to read plenty of personal stories and insights, be sure to check out my book, The Mindful Kind. You can even download a free chapter below!

 
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