Last night was my last in a house I used to call home. The contract for the sale of our house just went unconditional so that means that it’s time for me to move out and start this new life I have chosen. It’s been an emotional journey this past two weeks since we accepted the new owner’s offer. There’s were some issues with the building inspection that we had to rectify and, naturally, the emotional upheaval of realising that a 16 year relationship is ending. But now it’s all final I am faced with the mixed emotions of sadness over the broken dreams, fondness over the happy memories we created here and excitement about what the future holds.
We lived a good life together. We were blessed in both our homes to have food on the table every night and plenty of space in which to cook it. I guess food is a good marker to work out how life is going. When it’s gone well and I’ve been happy, the kitchen has been a messy place filled with the smells of jams, stews, cakes and roasts. During those times, there’s been more fruit juices and tomato sauces splattered on the cupboards than I care to admit. And it’s those memories that I hold dear. From today my kitchen will be a small hiking stove, shared campground and hostel kitchens, and the kitchens of those I stay with who let me cook them a meal in exchange for a safe place to sleep and some good company.
We had two lounge rooms in our house these past five years. Both were dominated by televisions but this one allowed us to look outside through big glass doors on two sides. I will not miss the televisions. I grew up without them and much prefer staring at the stars or a campfire. But I will very much miss the easy conversations I shared with my partner all these years. From today my lounge room will be the world outside my tent and conversations might be more sparse as I start a single life for the first time since I was 18 years old. But campgrounds are sociable places so I’m sure I’ll meet a wide range of new people whose stories will entertain.
When we built the house, I was most excited by this huge outdoor entertaining area. We entertained a little but discovered that we are the type of people who mostly keep to ourselves. For the first three years we lived in this house, this area was dedicated to the vegetable gardens. They used to exist int he garden just left of the picture above and were bountiful. The veranda was always covered with dirt from my harvests, seeds that I intended to sow and the few tools I used for my hobby. I no longer have my own land on which to grow food but I will be free to explore wide open roads and taste new foods that will feed my soul with new opportunities, ideas and dreams. One day I might have a vegetable garden again. But right now, I will enjoy the fruits of others’ labours.
We built our house on a vacant block of muddy clay. There were some big gum trees. There was no grass and no shape to the slope. Over the past five years I’ve brought in about fifty cubic meters of topsoil and more mulch. I built retaining walls and laid turf. It was a huge job and cost more than I care to disclose. But the results speak for themselves. The garden has been an amazing source of satisfaction for me. It allowed me to grieve the biological children I will never have and connect more closely with the son I raised. It allowed me to get outdoors and find my spirit again after years of feeling lost. And it provided food for our table. Most of the fruit trees were too young for me to enjoy and a new couple will literally taste the fruits of my labours. The world is now my garden and I will merely have to pass through to enjoy what Mother Nature has created.
It seems so surreal to know that my home is now tent. A part of me is scared about whether I have what it takes to live a nomad’s life. An even bigger part of me is too filled with sadness to recognise the reality of my decisions. But life is change and nothing is every permanent. Today the life I have daydreamed about while sitting at my desk at work is my reality. There has been a heavy price to pay but I won’t discuss here. This blog is my space to share the adventures that this new life is going to bring.