A Leap into the Great Unknown

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Imagine tossing out pretty much everything stable in your life and taking a leap into the great unknown, without actually planning ahead (yes, some people do that) – for Greg and myself, moving out of the city and into literally the wilderness was more exciting than scary, and certainly promised great adventure… we got that and more.

How did we ended up living wild? It happened almost quietly. We lived in suburbia in Darwin (Australian Northern Territory) and had all the usual trappings, a mortgage, a car – I had a motorbike – jobs. I’ve been a writer all my life, but only in the background, and I was a long way from being published. I had no time to write, which was one of the things stacking up against me at the time.

The job I was doing was taking its toll because I hadn’t learnt how to leave it at work. It consumed me, and felt like I was there 24/7. While the people were fine to work with, the pay was poor and the hours long and awkward, being mainly split shifts, which meant starting early, having a big gap in the day, and ending late. On top of that, I needed to be fit and healthy, so I’d rise at 4:00 am, six days out of seven, and do aerobics and weights until 7:00 am, then get ready for work. I looked good, I felt good, but I wasn’t getting what I wanted out of life, and mentally, I was losing will and motivation.

*

Staff turnover was high, but I didn’t see that as a warning sign. Mostly we were dealing with a client base heavy in emotional stress which we tended to absorb, like it or not, and there was very little given in the way of emotional support. People burned out quickly and the average “shelf-life” was only three months. I was an old-timer, then, having survived two stints at eighteen months a piece, but now I had the shakes in my hands so bad I couldn’t carry a cup of coffee. I actually thought I had a brain tumor. I knew I had to step away.

Two positive things happened at once, Greg got a pay rise and we cleared one of our loans, and on that basis, I discussed with him quitting my job. Somehow that conversation expanded into taking it further than that and doing something we had always wanted to, getting a block of land and moving bush (as the expression in Australia goes). If we could find a place within a couple of hundred miles of Darwin, Greg could hang onto his job and commute, while I sat out there in the wilderness, writing to my hearts content. It sounded wonderful!

We launched the plan then and there, found some gorgeous acreage – except there was no house on it, and no power either. Water? Well, there were two creeks than ran dry for fully six months every year, so it was sort of there… and boy, couldn’t we have an adventure, huh? We could get a water tank and a pump and a generator and live in a caravan and a tent, and it’d be just like camping.

We leapt in with both feet and no hesitation. I quit my job, we sold the house, put some money into what we figured we needed – including a small secondhand backhoe that neither of us knew how to drive, but Greg thought might be necessary, and we moved onto the block on my twenty-seventh birthday.

I’ve written about that first day, when I was stuck there with my motorbike, an open trailer packed with our stuff that Greg had dropped off, waiting for him to go and come back with the caravan – waiting there until the dingoes came by and the sun went down and I had nowhere to retreat to, (see Doing The Pioneering Thing).

Did all this appeal? Heck yes, I’m a writer. I write science fiction, all about pioneering on new planets – there couldn’t be a better way to get some hands-on experience than to actually move out into the bush and pioneer with the technology of today. It was sci-fi to me, I loved it.

As it turns out, I don’t cover it enough in my writing. The communities in my fiction are better established than we were. The closest I got to it was writing about Mij in book two, The King’s Sacrifice, with Mij and her mom living off the land and off the grid – no power, no water, etc.

Did I ever regret living wild? No, not once, even with all the hard labor that came with it – almost five years’ worth – the worst being doing the laundry by hand. Not having a fridge was tough going, too. Being alone every day in nature, being to one responsible to keep the basics going – water, electricity, sewage disposal, wood collection for cooking fires – and watching my back (because as beautiful as it can be, nature is not merciful if you get hurt and you’re alone out there) kept me on my toes and very safety conscious. Greg left before sun up and didn’t return until after dark, and I dealt with everything in between alone, including would-be thieves and hoons out on shooting sprees.

Yesterday, however, in The first to move in under the bed was a seven foot python, I promised you a story, so here it is. Bats. That’s what turned up next to hide under the bed.

I heard it in the night. Flap-flap, flap-flap-flap. I found the emergency torch and looked around the tin tent, and saw a small bat flitting around basically over the place. It did all sorts of somersaults and ended up disappearing under the bed. I ended up following it, hanging upside down myself, to find it hanging from the bedsprings. It made me smile.

Thankful that the snake had been removed a week or so before, I switched off the light and went back to sleep. Cute, right? No, not right. One is fine, but the next night four showed up. Flap-flap, flap-flap-flap, flap-flap-flap.

Oh dear. Suddenly realizing that bats live in colonies and some colonies are HUGE, we knew we had to stop any more coming to the “new cave”. That meant blocking the entryway – completely – and we managed it with tarps.

Nature’s pretty bloody quick, you know that? There wasn’t a time when something didn’t take quick advantage of something we had done, and move in on us. We put in a small dam, basically a small ditch (think swimming pool size) to take advantage of a natural catchment area for an extra water supply. The creeks were running at the time, and not far away – so there was plenty of water, but what happened? Less than a week and we had twenty thousand frogs living in the dam. That’s what nature is like.

What else happened under the bed and to that tin tent? Well, I haven’t gotten to the lightning strike and the flood, yet…

Cheers everyone!

Allyson

21 thoughts on “A Leap into the Great Unknown

  1. Yuna

    Owch, i couldn’t imagine how could i leave my stable life for something like yours Allyson. i even still in the stage that afraid of loosing my stable job (to tell the truth, kekekeke).
    i think your life story as interesting as the book first you wrote because i experienced of spending nights and days in wilderness when i was in collage, but your, i ensure, will be much more adventurous and challenging than my little experience since you completely left behind all the “stable” life :D.
    So, this time the bats already introduced themselves :D? and those frogs?? hemm, how dare them. LOL.

    *waiting your next story*

    Reply
    1. A.D. Everard Post author

      Hi Yuna! Thank you – yes, it was always interesting and mostly fun. But you, too, are an adventurer. You go to interesting places all over the world that would make me very nervous. Give me bats and snakes and frogs any day. 😀

      I told wilderness stories all that week as a break from just writing about writing! I have found some photos of that time and will soon have them on the computer to put in my blog (I’m going through them today – hopefully I can find one of the ones of me holding a snake). Yah!

      More soon, then.

      Cheers! 😀

      Reply
      1. Yuna

        Selamat Pagi Allyson,

        Ow, i’m looking forward to your “wild” photographs 😀 even though i really afraid of those reptiles 😀

        Selamat hari Minggu (Happy Sunday) 😀

        Haven’t been on blogging life so long -_-“!

        Reply
        1. A.D. Everard Post author

          Well, then you’ve timed coming back in perfectly – I’m putting up some of those photos today (not all at once, though, or people might fall asleep). 😀

        2. Yuna

          i saw those photos, how could i fall asleep if i was to afraid to see it? kekekekke, i collected all my brave to see all the pictures Allyson 😀 😀

        3. Yuna

          Ow, Thank you for appreciating Allyson. i love your blog even more. honestly, i log in into my blog on this busy month just to see 2 blogs update; Bloodstone Sci Fi and another lovely blog.

          i read both to keep me sane since i don’t watch television lately 😀 😀 😀

        4. A.D. Everard Post author

          That brings a big grin to my face, Yuna. 😀

          For whatever reason you stopped watching television, it might be good for you – I gave up watching television when I moved out into the wilderness. I never went back to watching it (I got tired of the doom-and-gloom make-believe on the news).

          I hope all is well with you?

        5. Yuna

          Nice to see the big grin 😀

          yes, i don’t find anything good on television nowadays..same here Allyson, almost all of the news give me anxious and exhausted feeling.

          everything is getting better (iat least i think it that way 😀 ).
          thank you for asking, it makes me much better now.

          Have a great wild day 😀

        6. A.D. Everard Post author

          Yuna – I seriously think the world would be a better place if people gave up their daily dose of human misery and stopped hating everything. There is so much good in the world, but all we see on the news is bad, and almost everyone watches it day after day after day, then they fear everything. People don’t get a sense of balance because they don’t look around their own neighbourhood – they trust the television and that’s it. Everyone should walk away from it for a little while. Three months with no news, and the world becomes a sweeter place, you can see the good in people because it is directly observed (not assessed from afar), and health improves, too, because tension goes.

          Good on you for taking a break from it. I’ve never gone back to it. I follow the things I am interested in via the Net (including serious stuff, finding source information that I trust). The news is there to sell a story. That means they exaggerate. Sometimes they are outright wrong. They put on a show to make the scary scarier and the bad worse. I simply don’t trust them now.

          I will have a wild day. You, too. Oh, and why not throw out that rotten 1984 book – it won’t help you feel any better! (Just a suggestion). 🙂

        7. Yuna

          All i can say is so true, agree about it, especial the exaggerating news -,-

          hahahahhaha, i just put it on “hold reading” on my blog and now i’m reading “The Hunger Games”.
          i keep on trying finish 1984 book because i got that book from my friend, so i can’t throw it without finishing :D. it looks like a promise (but, i don’t have a due time to finish it, kekekekekeke, i’ll just continue reading it slowly)

          😀

        8. A.D. Everard Post author

          Yuna, I admire your perseverance with that terrible book, 1984, but if you read it slowly, it will be with you for a very long time – maybe forever.

          Might I suggest you ask your friend what he or she thought of it? Then you can discuss it and maybe you can put it aside because you agree (or disagree) about it. Or – a trick – read the first sentence from every paragraph, which will give you a feel for what’s happening and allow you to speed-read through it much, much faster. It will be a big relief for you when you no longer have to go back to it.

          Don’t forget, I have a book for you to read, too. 😛

        9. Yuna

          Thank you for the suggestion Allyson,

          i’ll consider about it 😀
          looks like reading it quickly is a brilliant idea for me since i really couldn’t put it aside 😀 😀 😀

          *drooling for what is waiting for me, aheeeyyyy, #dancinghappily \^0^/

        10. Yuna

          Really?
          Yippie, i’ll go check it *i think my phone no sync with any of my email anymore because i never got the notification*

          i’m deeply moved by your free giveway for me, thank you so much Allyson 😀 😀
          i really love it 🙂

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