I would say that our time in Australia is coming to an end and that it is time to move on.
But that would be a lie.
In fact, quite the opposite: our time in Australia is not coming to an end. But it is still time to move on. Let me explain.
This post was originally published in 2009. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
Life at Kingbilli Country Estates has been like living in a fairy tale. With a gorgeous property, native and friendly animals (and even those not so friendly), living at Kingbilli has welcomed us to Australia, shown us how life in the rural countryside can be idyllic and charming, and lured us into a community full of supportive and generous folks. When I am on the property, a constant soundtrack of birdsong accompanies me, and I swear I hear little flutes in the background playing a charming chorus to match the surrealistically perfect surrounds.
In fact, it is our life at Kingbilli that has in part led us to our next decision: to stay in Australia for longer than intended. We are excited to (temporarily) set up shop here with an aim to use it as a base camp and explore this part of the world over a period of time as long as the next few years. Seeing places like New Zealand, Indonesia, and Asia from Australia is considerably more feasible and economical than it is from Canada. Besides which, we love life here in our part of Australia, and are happy to continue to foster and build upon the fledgling friendships we have already established.
So we have found a house to rent nearby that fits the bill. There are fruit trees everywhere (three grapefruit trees, figs, plums, nectarines, lemons, and the larges mulberry tree you have ever seen), lots of space, the location is beautiful, and the price is right. There is a shed ready for chooks (which is Aussie for “chickens”), and space for a giant garden. We have already received loans of furniture and other required household items from our ever-expanding network of friends, since all we own is that which fits into our backpacks (which incidentally doesn’t include furniture, cutlery, or much of anything other than clothing and toiletries).
Although we will not be living in splendour, we also will not be paying exorbitantly (or at all) for our furniture and such. We refuse to buy crappy cheap new things from the big box stores of the world, only to see them (and all their packaging) occupy landfills somewhere down the line. We are all for recycling, either with belongings lent from empty-nesters who no longer need the clutter, or from Opportunity Shops (second-hand stores known as “Op Shops” – it is socially acceptable to shop at Op Shops here), where the proceeds of our purchases go to charity. And when we are ready to move on, everything will be returned to the owners, donated, or given away to other needy people to keep the spirit of recycling alive. The old me – the one who used to live in a decked-out beach-side loft with all the fixings, would surely pale at the thought of how I live now. And I love it.
The house is in less-than-spectacular shape, but this tiny community of about a dozen houses which is over 80 years old is charming, and any work we put into the place comes off of our already low rent.
Why leave Kingbilli, you may ask? Well, as much as we love the place, there are a few drawbacks, including a restrictive internet connection, and working hours that (although are not onerous or overly demanding by any stretch) are cramping our style as travelers and Professional Hobos. Our first and foremost commitment is always to our caretaking arrangement, and as such between our Kingbilli duties and other obligations, we have been unable to get away to explore any of the surrounding areas for more than a day or so at a time. This has consequently meant exploring within only a small radius of where we live, even though there is so much more to see.
Again, I cannot stress enough that this is not a function of the Kingbilli work-trade arrangement, as in fact we believe that we struck the caretaking-jackpot, and it has been difficult to say goodbye. But after seven months here, it is simply time to move on. The Hobos in us are restless, if even for a small change of scenery.
Stay tuned for a future post on my definition of traveling and an exploration of whether or not we are still travelers, given this new turn of events.