We are thrilled to introduce a new series on Champagne Cartel today called 10 Things I Know… Each week we will have a wise woman sharing what she knows about a topic she actually knows quite a lot about. And we are extra thrilled to have the warm and wonderful Megan Blandford to kick us off…
I recently made a tree change, moving 300km from the suburb my husband and I had literally spent our entire lives in. Now we’re all blissed up on seven acres in north-east Victoria – and I’ve learnt a lot from the experience …
- Taking the leap isn’t as hard as you think. The idea of moving to the country was a bit scary to us for a while: moving the kids to a new place, being away from our families and long-time friends, being further from towns. But actually it’s turned out to be a really easy adjustment and now we laugh at ourselves for having been so nervous. Life is life, no matter where you are.
- You have to put the distance into perspective. Sure, I can’t just walk over to my Mum’s house for a cuppa anymore, because now I live three hours away. But you know what? It’s only three hours. I can leave at breakfast and be there for lunch. It’s not that big a deal.
- You have to work out your values. Yes, it’s likely you’ll have to sacrifice something if you move from a city to the country. Opportunity for kids’ after-school activities, for example, is a big question lots of parents have asked me. But while my daughters won’t have access to 100 possible sports and activities (or, at least, we’ll have to travel further to find them), they’re gaining a whole lot of other life experiences. Things like that just come down to choices based on the values of what you want.
- It’s inspired us to slow down. Shops aren’t open every day here, the person driving behind you doesn’t care if you take an extra five seconds to cross a roundabout, and people don’t question your every parenting move. You can’t help but fall into this groove of a calmer life.
- People’s stereotypes are really funny. One acquaintance looked concerned as I told her we were about to move to the country. She warned me to be careful of redbacks on the dunny and asked how the children would deal with living in a shack. Showing her pictures of our new house – with four perfectly upright walls and indoor, flushing toilets – calmed her somewhat.
- It’s brighter in the country. The enormously vast skies and sprawling landscapes have a way of clearing your mind in an instant. Things are brighter and clearer in a way that helps your soul know itself with absolute clarity.
- But you have to deal with more creepy crawlies. Step outside here and you can watch eagles soar overhead and kangaroos hop through the paddocks … and all the while the not-so-fun wildlife is around too. Frogs, lizards, spiders and a heap of flies are part of life here. I reckon that’s why country people are known for being so pragmatic: if you can cut off a snake’s head on your doorstep you can shrug off just about anything.
- Farm life is a learning curve. Okay, so country people laugh a little when we call our small acreage a farm, but for us it’s a big adjustment. How does one round up sheep? What vegetables do we plant when? Can all that grass be kept under control? And how soon can I employ an attractive farm boy?
- Kids are made for country life. My girls are thriving on having all this space to run around, snacking on fruit from our trees, collecting the eggs, catching yabbies and, even more so, their parents’ more relaxed attitude.
- Life is good. When you just roll with it and let it be.
Do you dream of making a tree change? Where would you most like to go?
Megan Blandford is a freelance writer. You’d think living in the country would inspire her writing more than ever, but really it just encourages her tendency to daydream.
“Life is good. When you just roll with it and let it be.” BAM! There’s the answer to happiness right there. Love it!
I think your move is beautiful and I’m quite jealous. I would love to be a country girl again, but I doubt it will ever come to be. In the meantime, I try to keep my country values as I race around with the city folk. x