Why did we change our lives so completely?
This is where we used to live. Eleven acres of native forest in rural Queensland with a charming 100 year old Queenslander home with expansive views over the valley.
Imagine a huge chicken coop, an enclosure for goats and an overly friendly rescue dog, a border collie called Bella. A seasonal creek and remnant rainforest created a lovely place to escape the heat of summer.
We relied on rainwater tanks, enjoyed the benefits of solar panels and had expansive garden beds including herb and vegetable patches. The local wildlife included native birds, goannas, snakes and wallabies.
We spent three years looking for this property, and then spent four years living in it. In many ways it was idyllic. Our daughter could run around outside and jump on the trampoline enjoying the space and the sunshine.
She started attending school and we both joined the local Girl Guide group. Repairs and improvements were made to both the house and the land. My husband bought power tools and learnt how to build furniture.. We experienced three major floods, leaving the house cut off from the local town but otherwise unaffected thank to the elevation.
During those four years, I continued to commute two hours to work, staying overnight with my parents, and then a three hour drive home to try and make it in time for dinner. The reality of juggling work, the driving, parenting and other responsibilities always felt like it would be a temporary fix. Instead, it turned into a four year solution as I was unable to find suitable employment locally.
Years before we moved into this plot of paradise, we decided to have a baby. Shortly after her birth, we agreed that when our daughter was about 8 or 9 years of age, we'd return to my husband's birth country to give her the opportunity to learn the language, connect with her Italian heritage and culture and spend time with his extended family. A year at an Italian school was the agreed goal.
Then the news arrived that my mother-in-law was planning her retirement. Her health was also a concern.
For different reasons, we both found ourselves disillusioned with our work situations.
Over New Years 2018, we really started to discuss the idea of moving back to Italy for a while. Miss S had just recently turned 8 and was about to start her fourth year at primary school. It would only be three years before she would enrol in high school in Australia.
In February we made the decision to make it happen, giving ourselves a year to prepare. We both committed to spending the next year working hard and saving hard.
The decision was based on a number of practicalities. I could apply to take unpaid leave from my job, and although approval wasn't guaranteed it was a possibility. The property wasn't working out to be as functional as we had hoped, especially in terms of starting a home based business. We'd come to understand that we needed to find a different local community for the long term future.
It was the best time to take time off from Australian schooling for Miss S. We needed to spend some time with the Italian side of the family. Miss S really needed something to kick start her Italian language skills.
Finally, it had been six years since our last trip to Italy and the itchy feet syndrome was escalating.
Having made the decision to travel, move overseas and embark on a family adventure, the next step was working out how to make it happen.
But that's for another post.