Friends struggled with my decision to leave. What they perceived as an impulsive decision, I knew to be a wonderful opportunity. I was moving to the Great Southern. I was determined to be new in town.
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What on Earth has gotten into you? Why there? So far away? Grey gloomy skies, rain and icy winds straight off Antarctica await you.
Take a little time, for the children.
Dreaded locals. If you’re not born and bred there it’ll be 20 odd years before you’re considered one of them. A stayer.
I know it’s a sea change you chase, but the kids can’t swim down there. Great whites all the way up to the beach even at the safe swimming pontoon and you do realise there are snakes everywhere there.
No. You should stay.
Hey? A suburban block? Under an acre? Your neighbours will be privy to everything. Arguments, flushing toilets and forget wildlife. Feral cats everywhere. No. This is where you belong .
Actually, I had never belonged. In a small Wheatbelt town stricken by drought, I was an exotic fish out of water.
The naysayers’ ominous predictions did nothing to alter my resolve. I didn’t feel fear. I felt exhilarated anticipating a new life in the Great Southern.
Brand spanking new in town. Like a child reading a choose-your-own-adventure novel I was highly excitable. A certain courageousness comes with the initial anonymity. Being alien lends itself to skinny-dipping, full moon drumming and dancing with wild abandon. Being new in town is a vacation preceding a rich new life.
My advantage? I was no virgin. I had history as the outsider, the newcomer, the chick who waltzes in but not long enough to set roots. Dad’s employer was fond of plucking us from a town. Three well-worn family calendars of activity, inevitably cued the arrival of removalists and a road trip thousands of kilometres to the latest in GEHA housing.
These early lessons have served me well. An efficient chameleon, I harmoniously settle in. Joyfully learning the lingo, exploring the terrain, discovering unique things in nature to feather my nest.
The well-intentioned fearmongers could not have been more wrong about this place. The exaggerated risks they perceived were a justification for their continued existence in a dry and dusty town. They felt me disloyal. A deserter.
I’ve considered carefully my lack of trepidation regarding this move. I knew something they could never know. A lifetime with one postcode does not uncover this wisdom.
Herein lies the key: you have to find your people.
Not always apparent, they’re uncovered in a wonderful treasure hunt. Happened upon in the most unexpected places. There’s no room for complacency, you have to seek them out. Daring to speak meaningfully with strangers perchance they should offer a clue.
Discovering one of these rare spirits is the ultimate reward. Finally airs and graces are abandoned, you relax completely into your untidy self. Your people enrich you, letting you know beyond doubt you add colour and life to their world.
I fondly reminisce about being new in this coastal town. Here, I have found my people. This exquisite place is my first real home.
Photo Credit: Jillian Anne Photography