It is ten years tomorrow since Action Man and I, along with our 13 month old son, packed up our Sydney house and headed two hours south out of the city. How do I know? Moving day was my birthday, which is tomorrow. Also I'm one of those people who remembers dates (but I can't remember what I'm looking for).
If you had said to me that I would not return to Sydney then, I would have looked at you as if you were mad. We were leaving so Action Man could take up a posting (he was a navy officer then), and in my mind, we would be returning to the city at the end of the posting and life would return to normal.
Life has other plans for us sometimes though, doesn't it? Our daughter was born within a year of the move. Gradually, I grew to love the life we had on the coast, and to my surprise started to dread returning to the city. Who'd have thought?
Action Man, a country boy, meanwhile was working on a career change. When a good job in his chosen field came up in the area, our future was decided. We sold up our Sydney house and bought this piece of Australia, and have never looked back, and have never regretted the move for one minute.
For most of this time we have lived on one moderate income, which is where the need (and in the end, desire) for pared back living arose. Far from being a challenge, it has been something we have enjoyed doing and learning. For me , growing things and doing things, yes with spades and spoons, has been absolutely empowering. This is our place, and we make the decisions around here. I work outside the home on occasion because I want to, not because we need to. A huge difference.
More than anything, we have achieved a state of personal freedom here that I didn't foresee and is worth more than any money. Is our way the only way? No, not by any means. Everyone has their own path, young or old, city or country dwellers, employed or not employed. For all of us, I think the underlying challenge is to find our way of life that allows us to make the decisions, free from the chatter of media, societal expectations, business and yes, government.