I am incredibly fortunate to currently be living in a small-medium sized town (<7,000 people) in country NSW. For a city boy, born and bred, it was as much a surprise to me as it was to anyone else, yet I’ve taken to it like a duck to water. Just like the ducks who live in the creek at the end of the street, the ones who like to come and wander about our front yard when it rains.
If you had told me five years ago that I’d be here I would have glove-slapped you, called you a scoundrel and challenged you to fisticuffs.
And yet here I am. And I’m loving it.
I live in town, yet on the edge of town, which means I have the convenience of supermarkets, shops, cafes and restaurants – everything I need within a two minute drive – balanced with the sights and sounds associated with being five houses away from where the real ‘country’ begins. Two houses down there is not, in fact, a house, but grazing land for a flock of sheep, so I’m often woken by the sound of lambs bleating. Behind our house is a large paddock and another creek, an area that our next-door neighbour uses for her horses to graze, so most mornings I enjoy standing at our kitchen window watching two beautiful horses virtually in our backyard.
We’re surrounded by so much natural beauty here that it’s breathtaking. Once you get out of town, the speed limit on our country roads becomes 100 kilometres an hour and let me tell you I have had a few near-misses because I was in awe over some incredible view and nearly drove off the road.
We’re just coming out of winter which, to be frank, has been quite confronting for a city-slicker like me. Although we don’t get high winds like I was used to back in Melbourne, the temperature here plummets as soon as the sun goes down and can take forever to warm up in the morning. Minus temperatures (Celsius) are common, with several -5 nights and one -6 night this year. I do not recommend leaving brass monkeys outdoors.
What you get in return though is worth it. Incredibly massive skies during the day where you can see the horizon in all directions, and, at night, a tapestry of stars and nebulae the likes of which you have never seen in the city. Just thinking about it has me excited for the impending Spring, when temperatures will finally rise just enough to allow for stargazing that doesn’t end in frostbite.
Speaking of Spring, signs of its looming arrival are everywhere. Native wattle are flowering, the fields are bright yellow with canola, and blossoms are beginning to burst into bloom. Everything seems so much more vivid than it does in the city.
There are often many challenges with making a tree-change, such as settling in, getting to know people and making a living. I’m fortunate that I’ve got family here in the form of my sister-in-law, niece and nephews, providing an all-important support network that I never had when I moved to Melbourne and only knew a couple of people. Local residents are warm and friendly, which is not surprising as the town relies heavily on tourism, yet I can see how it would take a long time to make real friends. And I’m fortunate to be a full-time student and run my own business from home, because the employment situation is challenging; although not as bad as some towns, it’s still a small town with limited job opportunities.
Who knows how long this will be my home for, so I am making the most of every day and enjoying the change of seasons. And as long as I continue to be able to buy my favourite brand of prosecco for a decent price at one of the local supermarkets, I’m home.
My forthcoming book, ‘Depression? F*** Depression!’ is due out in October 2015 and is now available for pre-order at www.jeremygodwin.net/store. All pre-orders help to raise much-needed funds to promote the book upon launch, so please be generous and purchase a pre-order copy now! Available in eBook or limited edition signed print versions. Thank you!