G’day Party People! (I’ve just come off a 3-day sailing cruise, where I was greeted with this call every morning).
Our rural penance is over! For three months, we lived in a thoroughbred pre-training lodge, working from 4.30-10.30am, then again from 2-4pm. In the morning, we would prepare the horses to be pooled, treadmilled, or ridden, then hose them down and walk them before putting them back in their stall. We would then clean, sweep, and tidy until 10.30. The afternoon was dedicated to scooping poop and making feed. We worked with a mixed crowd, young people and old-timers alike, and learnt so much from everyone around us! It turns out thoroughbreds are quite psychotic, so despite years of experience with horses, I was grateful to have the knowledge of thoroughbred experts at my disposal. Best advice? Just ignore their behaviour, distract them, and walk on. One learns a lot of emotional control and rationalising, staying calm despite fear of imminent death.
The work was physically intense, with a lot of cardio, lifting, bending, pulling and tugging etc. The physicality of the job suited me just fine: for years I’ve understood that my body was designed to be used in a more primal, raw way, closer to our hunter-gatherer roots than our office dwelling present. For the first month, it was immensely rewarding to be constantly physically exhausted, and I could feel my body getting stronger and more defined. I’ve shed the kilos and gained muscle mass. People ask me where I’ve disappeared to, and I’ve even been called scrawny! My body has come to what feels like its natural state, and I’m happy and comfortable in how it moves. This was achieved in conjunction with a focus on natural and healthy eating – concentrating on whole foods, cutting out artificial sugars and decreasing meat and dairy (which happen to be the most expensive things to buy). Holly is my torch in the dark here, I’ve learnt so much from her about balanced eating, exercising, etc. Now I just need to maintain this as I transition into a less physical lifestyle.
There were many joys to be experienced living in the countryside. We had a porch, and would regularly sit and gaze out over the rolling hills and paddocks that stretched as far as the eye could see. (This would usually be accompanied by a glass of wine and aperitivo). The sunsets were the most intense and beautiful I have ever seen, and the peace and quiet were indeed a blessing. On our weekends off we would take trips to the coast, or to natural parks around Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast. It really is a stunning region!
We stayed very connected to the family who took us in initially (see September archive ‘From the Land Down Under), spending Christmas with them. It was lovely to be included in this close family unit over the holiday period. They truly opened their hearts to us! And their kitchens. Now that we’ve moved, we intend to stay as connected as possible with them.
Despite all the beauty, there were a few pitfalls to living on a farm. There was no wifi, and no urban entertainment or comforts within easy reach (cinemas, theatres, shops, museums). So we’re super excited to be living in a city! (albeit a small one, by Australian standards). We moved in on the evening of Thursday the 17th January, had a party on Friday, left on Sunday for the Whitsundays, returned on Tuesday, and left again on Friday to go to Sydney! We just got back yesterday, and are looking forward to taking the time to settle into our new routines. Brisbane has lots of free outdoors classes I intend to join, such as boxing, pilates, dance, and tai chi, amongst other things. We now live next to a bus stop, a 10-minute walk from the grocery store, across the road from the river and the boardwalk, and there are five dance studios in my vicinity!
I have a long list of things to achieve and improve on now that I’m more settled, including focusing on the blog and my writing, drawing, my work towards zero-waste living and DIY, toxin-free, home products, picking up dancing again… and I’m sure more will come up!
Thanks for tagging along!