Who am I?
My name is Heather. I live with my boyfriend (Macca), dog (Topaz), two cats (Tes and Lola), 6 chickens (Buttons, Eleven, Beatrix, Eleven, Bacon and Dactyl [yes we have two chickens called Eleven]), 4 ducks (Zeus, Juno, Sunny and Alba), 2 koi fish (Percy and Jasper), in our house in Margaret River, Western Australia. I live the life that I never knew I always wanted.
This is my blog, it’s a diary of my attempts to become a more positive influence in the world and to try and live a more self-sustaining life-style.
Why did I feel the need to write this blog?
For a long time I have felt a strange emptiness, a longing I couldn’t name or define. I had so many reasons to be joyful: a wonderful job, a loving boyfriend, a lovely place to live, yet I still couldn’t quite feel like my life was complete.
Growing up my mother had always tried to teach us to be more environmentally conscious. For most of my teens and some of my twenties, I struggled with sustainable ideology and loving myself. I wanted to own lots of beautiful things, the kinds of things that we had never been able to afford in out household. I wanted shoes and dresses and a perfectly matching house. I seemed intent on filling the emptiness inside me with things, hoping that this would fill a void I couldn’t even admit to myself existed. It never occurred to me that my consumerism and self depreciation might be linked.
There is only so much stuff you can buy, there are only so many distractions you can involve yourself in before you have to face the fact that you’re avoiding dealing with yourself. What was I so afraid of finding?
I discovered the love of food and cooking in my twenties and had started to grow my own herbs out the back of my Leederville cottage. I started a food blog (the kitchencrusader.com) to share this love of food.
However, I still didn’t quite feel complete. I felt a loneliness. I seemed to be afraid of spending large amounts of time with myself.
Then, in 2011, a few tumultuous and catalytic events took place that shifted my life into a new and far more positive gear.
A boyfriend dumped me because he couldn’t fall in love with me,
A wonderful, positive boy who I had mentored died
I narrowly missed out on selection for culinary reality TV show
I met and fell in love with Macca, my slightly unusal, bearded and generally lovely surfer boyfriend.
In 2012 a job was advertised for teaching English at Margaret River Senior High School. In my sixth year of teaching I felt ready to move on to another school and Macca and I had been talking of moving to Margaret River at the end of the year… it seemed meant to be. I applied for the job and got the position. Macca and I moved from Perth to Margaret River, a town in Australia’s South West, famous for its surf, wine and food. We had finally decided to live the kind of lives that made us the happiest. We rented a little weatherboard cottage on 1/2 an acre of land, we started a vegetable garden and bought chickens. We watched the established fruit trees in our garden produce figs, plums and apples. We occasionally got to eat them before the birds did. We didn’t install our television. We made friends with some new and interesting people who worked in wine, food and art. We went out less at night. I started to feel more comfortable with myself. I started to feel like I was getting time to know myself and I started to feel like I might quite like the person that I was.
A lot of people tell us that they’re jealous of our lives. They tell us that we are so lucky. We are so lucky, but we chose to be. I remember what people in our position used to say to us when we would tell them how much we wished we could live lives like them, they would say: “You can.” They were right. You can have the life you choose. We can’t all necessarily live in Margaret River, but then we probably don’t all want to. For Macca and I to live like we do we just had to change how we thought about and spent money. We asked ourselves whether owning things and going out to bars were as important to us as living a wonderful, satisfying life. The answer was a no-brainer. A lot of people tell me they have to live in the city for their jobs. This is mostly true, however, it’s also true that a lot of people don’t like their jobs. It’s also true that most people only have their jobs to pay for expensive mortgages or things that they don’t need. We realised that we could live in the country and we could exist with less and we were lucky to discover that this is true.