Home Sweet Hermitage
Where we live is a crucial part of identity and how we perceive our environment. This became a potent reality for me while on the road for my first month in Australia. There were more than a few nights where, upon waking, I had no idea where I’d be ending my day. This was as liberating as it was intimidating. I could go anywhere, and in many cases I took advantage of this freedom. What I didn’t expect was that a significant portion of time and mental space would be invested in ensuring I would have a place to lay my head at the end of the day. Whether a hostel, campsite, or tree, I needed to know there would be a safe place. In another very real way, it gave me a new appreciation for all the people who don’t have the luxury of choosing to have a bed: the mentally ill, the refugees, the travelers, the immigrants. I merely experienced a few hours of this, and although at times I was exhilarated, other times I found it exhausting and exasperating (can you tell I’ve been reading my thesaurus?) spending time I could be travelling, searching for a place to settle, only if for a night.
Rooms in Australia aren’t cheap. In fact, I’ve found they’re about twice the price for half the space I’d get back in Ontario (including in Toronto’s overpriced market). And for all who know me, paying twice the price to live in a noisy city simply because I’m in close proximity to coffee shops and banks, is rarely worth it.
But, in the interest of being a little bit settled I braced myself for the challenge of finding a place to live. Of course, certain personality traits of mine, mainly a dislike of densely packed urban environments, my disorganization and (un)timeliness, don't do well for interviews with new potential housemates. So, needless to say, I passed on finding a home and resigned myself to hostels for the time being…and then, surprisingly, thanks to my new employer, I was connected to the beauty cottage seen above.
he benefits of such a small home are numerous. Not only does it take an hour to clean top to bottom, but everything is available within arms reach, including kitchen and bathroom. Once all the windows are open, it almost feels as if you're outside. On top of it all, the fireplace is better than TV for a pyro such as myself. Oh, and there is a TV too, if the nature outside ever gets boring...though it hasn't happened yet.
I was apprehensive about how far it was from everything, I’ve adjusted to the fact that I must walk 30 minutes to coffee, or drive to access the city. It's remoteness is ideal in one sense, and a challenge in another. When I get frustrated by the isolation, I think back to Henry David Thoreau and his book Walden.
And here we have...
The (mis)adventures of a journeyman arborist trying to put skills to good use.