Sunday, April 14, 2013

Back for good.






We've been back a year. It didn't even occur to me until the kids started coming out with sentences with the word "again" attached at the end. "The ducklings have all grown up again". It's getting frosty in the mornings again". "The trees are turning red again". And my favourite, "the vines are 'getting married' again" - a phrase coined by my 4 year old who thinks the netting on the vineyards resembles the veil of a blushing bride. 

The one year milestone is an opportunity for a little pondering methinks. I hope you don't mind the indulgence, it's a rather lengthy one as my mind is a little frazzled as I recall moving here for the first time 13 years ago with the Pianoman as my boyfriend and a small suitcase of belongings. 13 years and 5 children later and a shed full of 'stuff' - well it all just makes my head spin really!

The question I've been asked the most this past year is "are you back for good this time?". It's a fair question because this is actually the 3rd time we have come to live in Tasmania. Yes, the 3rd! We came, we left, we came back, we left again (reluctantly) and then we came back. Again.  I think you can safely say we love the place, even if it has taken 3 attempts for us to fully commit. It's the sort of place that gets under your skin and draws you in. One of my very first Posts I wrote when I started this blog was titled "My Love Affair with the Apple Isle - Prologue", which briefly mentions the very first trip I did to Tasmania and how it made an impression on me. What was meant to follow was Part 1, 2 and 3, to elaborate on the three different times we have lived here but like so many things, I just never got around to writing these Posts. 

Toddler Eleanor - 2006
So, in a very tiny nutshell because I don't want to bore you over 3 Posts with this, we first came to live in Tasmania in 2000 for a 3 year work contract. We got engaged, married and bought our first home here. At the end of 3 years we decided to pursue careers in Melbourne and thoroughly enjoyed that time of our life pre-kids. We were keen to start a family and the dream was always to find a bit of land in the country somewhere. Despite looking in country Victoria and coming very close to falling in love with Beechworth, we realised how much we missed Tasmania and our friends there and felt it offered the best option for us for country living in terms of affordability, lifestyle and proximity to a Capital City, which was necessary as the Pianoman is a Lobbyist. I know it looks like we are in the middle of nowhere but we are only 15 minutes from Hobart, the Capital of Tasmania - not a single traffic light between our front gate and the City.

So, we came back to Tasmania in 2004, had our first baby and then our second. We saved and searched for some acreage and in 2006 with a 2 year old Eleanor and a baby Charles on my hip, we moved to this farm. Following this, the twins were born and then the Pianoman's work stress (he was a former Chief of Staff to the Premier) hit a crescendo. Having 4 kids under 4 meant I could not work easily and the best decision at the time was for us to get some distance from the political upheaval and move where the work was immediately available and so we went to Sydney, all the while missing our little patch down here. After 18 months in Sydney we finally moved back here. The question is whether we will stay for good. 



Truth is, I have a bit of a reputation for being a wanderer. A family friend says she only uses led pencil when she updates her address book with my frequent address changes. It's not just moving back and forth from this Island, from the age of 15, I seemed to have fallen into a pattern of moving every 2 years - there's been overseas stints, a year in Germany, a year in Canada and then moves within Australia - away for University and then to a few different States. Living like this has meant I have a tendency to get "Itchy Feet" after a couple of years of living somewhere.  I'm not a particularly restless soul. I'm one of these people who loves and embraces change and all the personal growth that comes from such experiences. I used to get frightened by the prospect of committing to a place forever, even after the Kids came along. I would have been right at home living as an ex-pat in a foreign country with the family. I'm not a planner and love the excitement of not knowing where life will take me in the future.

source
But something has changed recently. I've noticed that I have become very attached to this place, not so much the bricks and mortar of the home but this patch of land and the lovely community that it is part of.  I am a firm believer of making the most of wherever you are regardless of whether you are there for 5 minutes or 50 years and I have loved living in every single place I have been. But, if I have a choice, and I believe we do in this day and age, I choose to stay here. For good? Quite possibly. The Kids are settled and we have very exciting plans for our farm on the horizon, which I hope to be able to share with you in the coming months. 




As far as the actual home goes, it takes a while for a house to feel like a home. It's a combination of time in the saddle and shared memories I think. One year on and we still have boxes in the shed to unpack and pictures leaning against the wall, not as a decorative statement, but because I haven't decided where to put them. We're getting there slowly. However, the most important thing about a home is the people you share it with and I'm finding that the more memories that are shared here with our children, the more it feels like home and the more I want to stay. For good. There, I said it.


It is for this reason the above Aboriginal Painting by Adam Gibbs-Tjapaljari 'spoke' to me when we picked it out in Alice Springs a year ago as a present for our 10th Wedding Anniversary from the Pianoman's parents. It's titled "Honey Ant Dreaming" where the lines represent the tracks made by the Aborigines as they wander around the country and the circles represent their nests. I like to think I've done a bit the same in life, made little nests along the way but with the bigger nest resting nicely in the corner now.

So perhaps the best compromise should the case of the "Itchy Feet" come my way is to take little road trips, which is exactly what we have planned in the upcoming school holidays.

So, where are you all placed at the moment? Any plans or are you just 'winging' it? Are you where you are for good, in a 'Forever' Home? For a short time with other plans for the future? Anyone with Itchy Feet Syndrome?


46 comments :

  1. I understand the itchy feet thing - I used to think I craved stability, but a quick look back at some of my previous addresses & the frequency of moves says otherwise! Financially (& emotionally) I'm not feeling like another upheaval anytime soon, so I'm hoping some travelling (and then coming home) will be on the cards in my distant future.

    I think it's awesome that you've made a home here in Tassie :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love hearing a little bit more about you, I feel when you write I'm sitting down having a chat with an old friend:) I'm one of those people who stay in the one spot for a while, this year we've been in our current house for 12 years. We'll stay here for a while longer, until the girls both finish school. For now we are where we need to be but I have itchy feet and I would love to live somewhere else. We all fell in love with Tassie when we visited, it's somewhere I think of often, one day maybe but we try and do trips to help with the desire to move.

    I can't wait to find out about your farm plans. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a lovely thing to say Catherine, I do view blogging as more of a conversation between two friends than a one-way thing. Yes, I can imagine not wanting to move while the kids are in the middle of high school x

      Delete
  3. we've moved four times in the last 5 years. The whole moving process can be pretty stressful but the new house, new town and new people is good.
    I guess with all the moves we are working out which parts of the state we like- climate, landscape etc. and saving up for a house of our own as we go.
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Zara, after living in 10 places in 10 years i think we felt as though we had "shopped' around enough to know what we were looking for in a place to live x

      Delete
  4. Oh! What a beautiful post. I have lived in the same little village nearly all my life and I am 60 this month but I also love travelling and embracing new things but my nest is here and actually of late in a little nest in Spain too. X may happiness embrace your every day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well that's the best of both worlds Linda! A little nest in Spain sounds just brilliant x

      Delete
  5. I couldn't agree more with you - I grew up travelling for 2 or 3 months of every year with my parents and now, with kids of our own I get really miserable when we don't manage a family holiday of any kind for a year. I love my home, but I need to be away from it for some time as well. Maybe it has to do with needing to miss things in order to truly appreciate them?

    We usually stay in a house for about 4/5 years each time, have been in the current one for just over a year now. We are fully unpacked, but we are still arranging things as our family of teenagers and our needs change. I love moving furniture around and making new spaces out of old ones!

    My sister has lived in Tasmania for the last 30 years though, so I can understand the pull that beautiful place has on people. And definitely the sense of community that you speak of, as they seem to know anyone and everyone down there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I move furniture around too, a little bit too much I think! x

      Delete
  6. Loved reading this post as it's exactly what we are going through at the moment. I lived in the same house all my life until I met my now husband, we rented then bought a house which we still live in with our 2.5year and 7month old girls. My husband works away a lot and now that we have the girls we've decided we need to make some changes. We are very tempted to sell the house and spend a year or so on the road in the hope that we find somewhere we love to settle and buy a business/work. We are in the process of making some big life decisions which is both exciting yet scary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That IS very exciting! A little bit scary but mostly very exciting. I think when you are that way inclined you just have to take the plunge.... :-)

      Delete
  7. Your life sounds full and interesting, yes frequent road trips would be good. Don't forget, wherever you go in the world if your family is close, you're home! :) x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Mel, I was in NZ in Auckland 'til I was nineteen, came over to Australia...my Mum is an Aussie...lived in Brisbane for a while finding my feet, met my husband in Canberra where we brought up five kids and have now been in Queensland for nine years. I've finally figured that whereever you live the weather isn't perfect, the people are generally friendly and it's up to you to get the most out of life!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh what a wonderful post Mel! I can't believe you nearly called Beechworth home...we will be moving there very soon (we could have been neighbours!), so that will be my new home...with small acreage to boot! I'm like you I think. I love new adventures, and would be just as happy living OS if thats were the wind was taking me. Our children can't wait for life on the land and in small country town the possibilities are still endless. I love Melbourne and it's only down the highway so we'll be frequent visitors but deep in our hearts we know we are making a good move!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll love it, very exciting for you guys :-)

      Delete
  10. We've moved around a bit too, lived in different countries and cities but not since we've had the five some. Now I just don't think I could move easily at all. We always travelled light before children but now it would be a mighty job. Your patch looks beautiful. Maybe you needed to try the others to know how much you loved that one. Happy days!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have had the best of both worlds. I grew up on a farm in Northern Idaho, in the US. It was the same farm my grandpa started when he immigrated from Denmark, and the farm my dad ran until his retirement. At university I met my future husband, who happened to be a Canadian. I have spent the past thirty years in British Columbia, and have lived in many different parts of the province.

    And I want to say, I love that spider web picture!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's fascinating Kristie! My Great Grandparents lived in Pocatello, Idaho. Small world. You know I love BC :-)

      Delete
  12. I've always wanted to move. When my husband and I were first married, we moved three times in the first five years, but now we've been in this last house for 18 years. I always wanted a place in the woods as I miss it very much from my own upbringing, but my husband isn't interested (I think the packing up turns him off). So now I'm wondering if I'll ever get out of this neighbourhood, and it makes me feel somewhat stifled and trapped. I love the photo you have of your kids around the fire ... what a gorgeous view beyond!! Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  13. Mel, I loved reading this post. I often have itchy feet, but have lived in the same house for nearly twelve years. I think that's why I keep changing the furniture around!
    And I love the picture of your children sitting around the camp fire.

    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love your house. I feel as if you're there for a long time now. Start putting pictures on the walls! That'll keep you there. You're children all look so happy and content.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously, how hard is it to hangs some pictures up!? x

      Delete
  15. Oh Mel, great post - I could talk to you on this subject for hours! Thanks for sharing. We moved here in 2006 and said it was only temporary, two children and two properties later we still say it isnt permanent....but we don't seem to be going anywhere. I have no idea what we have in store!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to stay for a bit now, you're just about to enjoy a brand new kitchen! x

      Delete
  16. It's so nice to know a bit more about you and how you ended up living in Tasmania. It looks like such a stunningly beautiful place.

    We've lived in Leeds for 12 years and I still don't think of it as home. I would love to move back to where I grew up, where all my family live, but I don't know if it's ever going to happen. I fear the longer we stay here the harder it will be to leave.

    Gillian xd

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a lovely post! I would love to visit Tasmania and hearing your recollections of living there just makes me want to visit even more.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. It gives me hope that someday I will perhaps find my forever.

    ReplyDelete
  19. dear mel, such a thoughtful post. i wonder if as your children grow you feel more attached to home and place. although it is true that where family is, home is. it looks and sounds so beautiful where you live, i hope to visit someday! we are not in our forever home. i had that in the past i thought, but lost it in my divorce. i am grateful for what we have now, but still i dream and maybe someday...it's exciting to think about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I lost my family home too but as a child as a result of my parents divorce and that's probably why I haven't felt much attachment to the bricks and mortar of a house since but more to the area and people. I'm very grateful for what I have too x

      Delete
  20. Lovely post. It looks like you have found a beautiful spot there in Tassie. Your photos almost make me feel like packing up and moving over (I've also been watching Gourmet Farmer on SBS). I've only lived in 3 states and moved a few times within Melbourne but not since having kids. I don't enjoy the moving process at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love Gourmet Farmer too! Moving is stressful, isn't it up there in the top 5 most stressful life events or something?!

      Delete
  21. Hi Mel, that's quite a tale! I think your children will thrive here in Tasmania now you have made your decision to stay. I grew up here and like you spent a lot of time living all over the country and the world, but there is nowhere else in the world that I'd rather raise my kids. We are so lucky, but stop telling everyone our secret! Just kidding! Thanks for sharing. Nat

    http://nataliafamilia.com.au/

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love this post and the insight in to your wanderings. It's lovely to find 'home.' We have found our home where we are now, with plans to put down roots for the next ten years at least. I'd love to live in the country, but in terms of practicality for Dave's work and our family, we have found a wonderful compromise with our old high set house on our big block of land 20 minutes from Brisbane.

    My parents still live in the same house we grew up in. 35 years in the same house. Once upon a time I couldn't think of anything worse. Now I can appreciate how much of themselves is invested in that house, their community and neighbours, and how comfortable it is for them. It will be a strange time indeed when they sell it.

    Enjoy your patch and all the beauty that surrounds you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's good to be rooted to a place, especially when it's so clearly the right place for you.

    I have roots here but I fear they're actually quite shallow ... uproot me and plant me on the Suffolk coast or on Shetland and I'd be a very happy bunny!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have just discovered your blog and love it (so if you are wondering you has been reading your old posts, it is me!) I have discovered that since having my boys that home is where my family is. Pleased to meet you jen aka www.muminthemadhouse.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a beautiful post Mel. I am always completely drawn into your posts and read them word for word. You have lived such an interesting and exciting life. The moving around is something I kind of wish I had experienced, because to now, I have always lived in Sydney... different houses of course, but all in Sydney. We love the neighbourhood/community around us right now too, so I understand that totally. The house itself is very small though, it will do nicely for the next 5 or so years, but I honestly don't see it as a forever home. We'll see though. I can see how once children settle into schools etc, it makes the decision to move somewhat harder... and we do have an extremely good school just minutes walk away.
    Love your photos as always and the vines getting married comment just warmed my heart, how beautiful are your children. You have a glorious part of the world there, if you're there for good, I think you'll be exceptionally happy.
    And I wanted to say a big congratulations on your Village Voices achievement, so very well deserved and I thrilled such a gorgeous blog is up there in contention. Go Mel! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  26. I *am* thrilled... need to proof read 'before' hitting publish... too late... need sleep ;)

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a magical place you live! I'd love to live in the country and still be 15 minutes from the city! My husband adores Tassie but I'm terrified the cold would effect my depression. You've painted a beautiful picture though - it sounds divine! I must add that your photo of that spider web is stunning! And your two white ducks reminds me of Babe! (it's on high rotation at our place at the moment) xx Fi

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Mel!
    Thank you so much for stopping by! I thought I'd pay you a visit too and can I just say you live in a gorgeous place! My hubby and I dream of somewhere like that, one day (hopefully not too far away) we'll leave our suburban home for a little more space. Neither of us truly feel 'at home' or 'settled' here either (we have no family here, mine are overseas and my hubby was moved here as a child from sydney when his parents divorced), but it's where we need to be for now.
    Can't wait to 'get to know' you more as I read your blog! Congratulations on making the Top 25 :) xx Bianca

    ReplyDelete
  29. Beautiful post as always Mel... I love getting to know you more through what you share here. I am not one to get itchy feet... the thought of ever having to leave our home scares me a tad :) Tasmania was one of our favourite trips we've ever done... such a lovely part of our country and I can easily see why you feel so settled now where you are. Your painting is gorgeous!! I especially love the meaning you've drawn from it and how fitting it is for you and your family. P.S Congrats on being Kidspot Top 25 blog... noticed your gorgeous smiling face there the other day as I scrolled through the list xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. You write beautifully, I agree with Catherine at the top that reading your posts is just like having a good chat over the fence with an old friend. Nice to hear more about your life and family too. I am probably more of a stay in one spot kind of gal, our last house was for ten years and then we moved to the next street! I do absolutely LOVE exploring and seeing new places, unfortunately my children are not quite so adaptable so that has curtailed our travels somewhat. I just also really love where I live for the climate, the sunshine, the close access to so many amazing places I cannot imagine living anywhere else. Every time I open your posts and see that amazing view from the top of your hill I can't imagine how you could ever want to leave that! mel x

    ReplyDelete
  31. Beautiful post!!!
    I'm sure you would find the beauty no matter where you lived, but I am enchanted with your life and the way you can verbalise how we all feel.
    You always make me smile :-)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh Mel. Such a touching post. I can't believe it's only been a year. It feels like you've been here much longer, to my great delight. Finding you has made our move back here so much more pleasurable. So glad you're here for good. J x

    ReplyDelete
  33. Until I met my Hubby I was very restless. I moved to Chile when I was 16 then back to NZ then back to Chile then in 1998 I moved to OZ. Over the next 10 years I moved 12 times. We have now been here on our little farm for 3.5 years but we expect to move to NZ next year sometime and start all over again there. I really am a home body and you would not think it but I find it quite stressful to not have a place to call home. However I am a planner and organiser by nature so the actual move does not worry me.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is a lovely post. I found your blog a few months ago and now we have just spent the last two weeks visiting Tasmania for the first time. A week ago I visited your neck of the woods, recognizing it from the photos on the blog. It certainly is a beautiful place and I can definitely understand your love of it.
    As for me, I have lived in Sydney all my life, and now live 20mins away from where I grew up, and my parents still
    Iive there. We have been in our house 18 years next month. Coming to Tasmania was the furthest I have ever been from home! It's so interesting to read about everyone's experiences ... Sometimes I wish I were more used to change, but I also appreciate the stability of my life.
    All the best for your next year!

    ReplyDelete