Tag Archives: wildlife

Stepping off a Cliff into the Wilderness (and out of Guilt). TRUE LIFE.

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No, not literally off a cliff, never fear, it just kind of felt like that – I’ve been writing about life in the wilderness of the Northern Territory, Australia, when we moved out onto 250 acres of subtropical forestland, without amenities, without a house, and completely off-grid (Yes, there is a reference to writing sci-fi in this post – hang in there). 😀

It was just the two of us, and neither of us had lived in the country before. By that, I mean in any rural environment – farmland, small towns, meadows and fields – nothing like that. We went straight from suburbia into Wild Lands, which was kind of like stepping off a cliff.

The silence was the first thing that really hit. By silence, I mean human silence. Prior to moving out there, we had pretty regular habits enjoyed by most people in civilization-hubs around the world. We both worked full-time, we’d come home and watch television. We’d listen to the radio. We’d get depressed over the news. We even adopted guilt! All the things we were supposed to do.

Out there, we were suddenly cut off from the constant drone of entertainment and political messages (which I didn’t even recognize as existing) – No radio, no TV, no telephone, no voices – suddenly it was just us and the bushland (forestland) full of wildlife and their potential to be dangerous, inconvenient, deadly and interesting. Mostly they were interesting.

While Greg commuted every working day into the city, I did not. I remained isolated, just me and the wild. I ventured off the block maybe once every three months, sometimes closer to six. Interestingly, guilt disappeared and self-confidence grew. Taking on responsibility for such things as the water in your taps (by that, I mean putting it there after putting in the taps and pipes in yourself, first) is hugely empowering.

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No Contact with the Outside World. Not even a phone – TRUE LIFE.

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Although we settled into the wilderness, Greg still had to go to work and so he commuted daily into Darwin on his motorbike – the distance wasn’t great, roughly 100 kilometers each way, which is about 62 miles – starting off with ten kilometers (6.2 miles) of very rough and hilly dirt road until he reached the highway.

He left every morning very early before the sun rose and did not get home until after dark. That left me alone to deal with the basics – collecting water, storing power (when we had batteries), dealing with the wildlife – or dodging it – and digging toilets. The hardest job was washing the laundry because it was done by hand.

While the caravan gave us a kitchen and a gas stove (plus an office each, one at each end), we did not have anything else. We had no fridge and no freezer. We had no washing machine. We started off with a small generator that powered our computers and TV, although we could only watch videos – there was zero reception.

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Moving out into the Wilderness – TRUE LIFE.

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It was a decision we seemingly took very lightly – It had been a dream for many years, so when my husband got a substantial pay rise, and I was fed up with my job, I put forward the idea that I quit and actually get some writing done.

“Why don’t we go the whole hog,” Greg answered, easy as you please. “Sell the house and get a block in the wilderness, then you can man it and write there.”

What’s to think about? I said yes straight off and went to work that day with the whole thing at the back of my mind, an exciting adventure waiting to be. I made no mention of it at work, but when the Boss called out that very morning that her husband, in Real Estate, wanted to sell something so that they could go on holiday, such a happy coincidence could not be overlooked.

“Actually, we want big acreage in the countryside,” I said. “House optional.”

“You’re kidding!” she replied, and when assured I was not, made the call.

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