Regional Living Expo

Going rural has always been on my wish list, having grown up in the country and having a job that is easily transferable to anywhere, I have long thought that we should make the move to country Victoria.  Mr Good is not so sure.  He was born and raised in the city, his family is here and his job is one which really only exists in a metropolitan area – or perhaps a larger regional city.  It’s been an ongoing ten year debate about whether, at some point in the future, it might be feasible to move the family out of the city.  On the plus side we would both like a little piece of land, room for the kids to run wild, a bigger, more organised vegie patch (in full sun given that we wouldn’t have the fences and building to contend with so much), some fruit trees and so on.  Being able to afford a slightly larger house without an insanely big mortgage is also a big draw card.  And for me the sense of community is very appealing.

Here is where we differ though.  I think a move to the country should be a complete shift.  New jobs in the town, girls going to a local school and focusing our everyday lives within the local community.  Mr Good is really only considering a move to a town still close enough to the city to commute to work in his current position.  This worries me.  The commute is already significantly eating into our family time.  Mr Good leaves early and isn’t home until just before (or sometimes just after) the girls go to bed.  Miss Three is up early and spends an hour or so with Mr Good then – talking and singing his ear off .  At the other end of the day, he usually arrives home sometime during or after bath time, so gets a quick cuddle with one and does the bed time routine with the other.

Considering we are on slightly different pages on this one, I thought it would be worthwhile checking out the Regional Living Expo which took place this weekend.  Mr Good was a little reluctant and not so open-minded as I would have liked, but it was a very interesting afternoon and we came away with lots to think about.  Representatives from every local council manned booths ‘selling’ the best qualities of each area.  There was a lovely, vibrant atmosphere and I could have been swayed but many of the locations.  The woman from Clunes was particularly persuasive, and if you’re interested they’re having a book festival this coming weekend.  The cultural performances were also wonderful and helped illustrate just how diverse and active country towns can be.  We enjoyed a Ghanaian drum group from Gippsland and the steel drum band Pans on Fire from Marysville.  Did you know Marysville is home to FOUR steel drum bands and will host an international steel drum festival next April?  Now that’s what I call community passion.

 

While Mr Good and I do have slightly different ideas about the tree/sea change idea we did come away from this expo with a little bit of insight and a few ideas about what might be possible for our future.  We both liked the idea of Geelong/Ballerine Peninsular from both a live style and employment perspective.  Ballarat also had some potential employment opportunities for Mr Good, but he wasn’t so keen to move to such a cold place.  Ballarat is also much closer to my family so it appealed to me.  If we were to go down the move and commute route then Bacchus Marsh seemed to fit our criteria, and according to the people at the v-line stand the commute would actually be about the same time-wise, simply because the train doesn’t stop until it reaches the city.  To me, none of these places are really ‘the country’, but I think I might need to accept the fact that an IT professional is never going to find a fulfilling career in a small country town.

All of this is still a pipe dream and not something we will look seriously into for at least another 6-12 months, but I was heartened  by the fact that Mr Good was willing to consider it all a bit more seriously and that there were some things we could agree on.

What about you, is it country or city living you dream of (or even better actually live)?  What do you love about where you live?

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9 Responses to Regional Living Expo

  1. rcra says:

    I am on the edge of a similar situation but I haven’t actually talked about it with him in solid “let’s actually considere this” terms. Congratulations on what seems like a really good afternoon – you look like you’re making good progress, all things considered. I hope you get to make a choice and make you both happy 😀

  2. Liz says:

    I grew up between Gisbourne & Bacchus Marsh (my parents still live there) – we were rural enough for it to be 15km to the closest shop but a very easy commute to Melbourne for dad. I think in many ways we had the best of both worlds. I went to a really small primary school with a strong community but at the same time Melbourne and all it had to offer was very easily accessible – which to me as a teenager was really important. The highlight of my teenage life was going into the city on Sunday afternoon for the Astor’s double feature. I would quite like to move somewhere similar, if nothing else for the extra growing space. Having said that though I actually really like living in Melbourne – if nothing else the bushfire risk is minimal.

    • Barbara Good says:

      I get this, especially the bushfire risk part. I grew up in a country town FAR from the city, granted it wasn’t a tiny town, but it didn’t and still doesn’t offer a teenager much in the way of entertainment. It also meant that to go to uni I had to move far from home at 18, that was difficult for some of my friends and a few dropped out because they had trouble living so far away from family.

  3. Nina says:

    Just something to think about (not trying to put you off, though!), commuting comes with the price of maybe feeling a disconnect with the community you choose to live in.

    In my job, I deal with a lot of people in an ‘elite’ profession who choose to commute to a rural area rather than relocate and it often ends in heartache. Though that’s the reverse of what you are suggesting – they commute back to their families in the city rather than the other way around so it may not be such a problem for you and yours.

    I grew up in a rural area, lived in the city for many years and I’m now back, in a country town. I love it! I’m not on ‘property’ though, just a normal ‘1/4 acre block’ but it feels rural and the region has a great spirit.

    • Barbara Good says:

      That’s a really interesting point about the disconnect between where you live and where you work if there’s a big commute Nina, certainly something to think about. If it was me doing the big commute I think this would be a real issue – part of my longing for a country life is about connection with a local community that I just haven’t found in the city. But for Mr Good, this is less of a priority, as long as he’s around on the weekend to take the girls swimming (he’s really into that), he’d be happy I think.
      And the dream of a bit of land might still be financially out of reach for a while so we might end up on a 1/4 acre block, but that would still be far more land than we now have.

  4. wendyblume says:

    Totally agree that commuting defeats the purpose of moving. I shifted to the outer suburbs of sydney last year and hubby commutes almost 3 hours a day (just to the other side of the city). It’s horrible, but hopefully only for a year or two more. He never sees the children during the week. And he’s not involved in our local community at all – unlike me who is now totally entrenched in school & sport. And it’s the feeling of belonging somewhere that is really satisfying – I don’t think your husband will get content when so much of his life is elsewhere.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Oh my goodness, 3 hours a day, that is a loooong commute. Hope it’s not for too long for all of you. Your husband must really miss the kids during the week. I find when Miss Three is really wanting her dad (she is something of a daddy’s girl) that a phone call goes a long way to ease her distress. It’s usually towards the end of the day, so Mr Good is often just leaving work on his way to the station so it doesn’t disturb his work too much either.

  5. Andrea says:

    Both my husband and i were born in Melbourne but as children spent many wonderful times in the country visiting family and as my dad was from the country (Nhill, he moved to Melb for a apprenticeship) most weekends were spent going for drives or camping overnight under the stars and cooking on a open fire.
    The seeds was set but it took quite a few years until the opportunity to buy an old cottage “In the Country” appeared, so weekends travelling from Melb to our country dream commenced with our blended family of 5 children(aged 3,8,9,10,11). We all had great fun (i tend to just remember the good times not all the fighting) living in a caravan while we “did up” the cottage, there was a creek to play in, Cows to feed and baby calves to watch, rabbits to catch and of course at the end of the day sitting around the camp fire talking and toasting marshmellows.
    We made the big move when the older children finished school and Laura(year8) moved with us , we loved it but not so for Laura she was used to a quick bus ride to school, the hustle bustle of city life, tram rides into watch the footy,walking around the corner to her friends ………………………
    Luckily she made some new friends, joined the local netball team and started to enjoy country life.
    As soon as she finished year 12 off to Melbourne to live with her sister and shes now in 2nd year of Uni.
    So what we love most about living our dream……………………..
    waking up in the morning listening to the birds and not the hum of traffic.
    the wide open space, the views of gumtrees and the nearby hills from the windows,
    morning walks down quiet tree lined roads, the fresh country air,
    the beautiful night skies full of stars. watching the native wildlife. horseriding.
    sitting outside watching the sunset or sitting in the hot-tub watching the sun set.
    spending time in our garden , growing my veggies, looking after our chooks.
    having bonfires. taking our dogs rabbiting. Collecting wood for our fire.
    We have also made lots of great friends, both country folk and others like our selves who have made the move from the big smoke.
    The only negitives is the wear and tear on vehicles and cost of petrol .
    And the bonus is were only 1 and 1/2 hrs from Melbourne if we need a “City fix” or visit our families.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Wow, that is a list impressive enough for me to want to pack the family up now and head bush. The thing that got me the most was the stars, I miss seeing a big sky full of stars. And of course any way to get chooks into my life is appealing.
      I don’t know how you managed with five kids so close in age Andrea, you must truly have been wonder woman! I can imagine the fighting – if my siblings and I very close in age are anything to go by. But I bet is was loads of fun camping like that, and I bet your kids now have really fond memories of that time. I can understand you’re youngest wanting to head to the city though when she finished school. I was exactly the same, I needed more than my home town could offer and at the time I never thought I would want to live rural again, funny how things change as you get older.
      Having said all that, I do like where in the city we live – much more so than when we lived in the Eastern suburbs and everything was pretentious and ostentatious. I remember sitting in a cafe listening to a conversation between two women about which orthodontist was most prestigious to send their girls (both with seemingly perfect teeth) to. Apparently it mattered that one had rooms on Collin St! The north is just so much more laid back and real.

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