DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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24 November 2014

Back inside the bubble

I promised another post about my trip, so here it is. Before I go on though, I'd like to thank everyone who commented on the previous post and who welcomed me back to the blog. I sometimes think of giving up this blog. Blogging has changed a lot in the past couple of years but as long as I have such loving comments, I'll keep writing. Although we still live very simply and that will remain the focus here, my thoughts often wander to other things that not many people write about, such as ageing and dying. So along the way there will be a sprinkling of those posts and a few opinion pieces too.

= = = ♥︎ = = = 

Back inside the bubble. Hurrah!

First there is the solo drive down to the Blue Mountains. After weeks of anticipation and waiting, THE morning when I get up early, earlier than I usually do, make a thermos of tea, get into my car and drive into the dark-soon-to-be-light. The first part is manoeuvring through local and city traffic to reach country roads before there are too many people and cars around.  I made the trip from home to my first stretch of country road, near Ipswich, in under two hours. Okay, everything's good. Get the music cranked up and let's get this show on the road.  What follows is a lot of loud singing of songs you'd never believe I like, but I filled my lungs with sound and joy and happily drove mile after mile.

There are so many unused railway stations along the way. I think that's such a shame for two reasons: we should have less trucks on the roads and more trains transporting goods around.  And we should be allowing a family to live in these buildings.
Some signs our overseas friends may not have seen.

 I stopped at a few country graveyards that are usually beside an abandoned church.

There was a lot of food growing in plain sight of the highway. Here I noticed some wild fennel but there were also apple and pear trees, and blackberry brambles.

I stopped at a bakery for a cranberry and orange muffin and then sat in the quiet shade of a country lane with my cup of tea, away from the passing traffic (because I'm paranoid that I'll be captured by a serial killer and no one will ever see me again). Looking around I could see cows, a half full dam and over on the hill, a few alpacas. I felt good, a new adventure before me beginning to unfold. I was out of my familiar bubble and loving it.

And the excitement of being out in the world, alone, being able to go where I please without telling anyone where I'll be is almost overwhelming. There is bliss is leaving behind many of the responsibilities of the average day. Being where there is traffic and hussle and bustle, where exciting things can start at any moment, where opinions, values and beliefs change with the wind. It's exciting and sometimes enriching being out there and part of IT.

I spent a week with Tricia out in the world. We ate out, met people, stayed at home and talked, watched movies, knitted and sewed. It was an absolute joy. But as the days passed by, my thoughts returned to home and then after a day or two more, I wanted to be there. There was nothing wrong being where I was, I just wanted to be in my chosen place, doing my work in silence, surrounded by trees.

Tricia's kitchen.

Tricia's beautiful wood stove.
 This is Tricia's backyard. Look at the elephant garlic growing as high as the shed roof.

 This is a little wool shop we visited in Katoomba - The Granny Square in Waratah Street.

There is such a wide chasm between being out in the world, where anything can happen, and my normal days, alone and quiet with Hanno, inside our bubble. Having chosen to live as we do and where we do, it's comforting to know that I can make these solo trips and still come home feeing the same way - that this is where I belong. Home has a way of letting you know where you're at your best. I surrender to that feeling and I'm staying put for a while.

52 comments:

  1. Love seeing your pictures. I would flip if a kangaroo hopped out in front of me. It's nice not being on a schedule. Your friends house is really cute.

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  2. What a great post, Rhonda! I am such a wuss as regards driving on the highway and think you are very brave to drive all that way by yourself. LOL! Next time I think we will need to put a secret camera in your car so we can all hear you belting out a song :-)

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  3. I like Tricia's kitchen decor - very pleasing.

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  4. It sounds like it was just the trip although not to short but not too long to get home to your place of happiness. These trips are very important to catch up with your sister while you are still happy to travel to get there and the memories are so precious. Tricia would no doubt love having you there in person to potter, chat, knit, sew and catch up which can be done by phone but not nearly as nice. Have a good week. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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  5. So Dorothy was right? "There's no place like home!" I agree with you Rhonda! I usually only travel for a long weekend. Any longer than that and I get too homesick! (That yarn shop looks yummy tho!)

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  6. Rhonda, check out Adele Horin - fabulous articles on ageing. http://adelehorin.com.au/

    Gosh i love Tricia's wood stove and her quaint kitchen, so me. We've all got kitchen envy.

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  7. Thanks for the lovely photos. It was fun to see road signs that I would never see otherwise.

    I love being home, too. I can only take so much of being out in the busy world...then I need my nice, quiet home. It is my favorite place to be.

    Darlene

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  8. Lovely post, as usual Rhonda. I totally understand your joy of getting out there, but then willing & happy to return to the place you want to be. I take solo road trips from here in the Barossa to visit my family in Victoria. Always leave home before sun up, always pack the thermos of tea & egg sandwiches. Love the freedom, listening to talking books borrowed from our local library. I can't drive as far in one day as I used to, so last time I took the tent & swag to overnight along the way. I did stay in the safety of a caravan park though. Such fun. Tricia's kitchen is adorable, her wood stove is very much like mine. Isn't it just wonderful to be home again in the place you want to be? :-)

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    1. Hi Sally. I can't do the driving I used to either. I stay half way now. Two years ago it was a 14 hour straight drive. The drive from the Barossa to Vic would be a good one, I'm sure. I find breaking the trip allows me to take my time and look around in the small towns I pass through. I enjoy that. I must remember the talking books next time. I always take my itunes list.

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    2. And I forgot to mention that I have the very same clock as Tricia's hanging above my wood stove. When I saw that photo I felt like I was in my own (much loved) kitchen.

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  9. Glad you are home where you want to be, Rhonda. And that you had a chance to visit your sister ---I love her kitchen! It is really charming. And please don't stop blogging! You must have a few years of it left.

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    1. Tricia's cottage is adorable. It was built in 1926 - she found a newspaper from that year in the foundations.

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  10. Lovely going away, but the best feeling coming back home. Soon as I turn a certain corner and see the mountains, I know this is home. You are blessed having a sister as Tricia. Love her stove, her home looks warming and cottage like.
    I am glad you explained how you feel as I often think it is only me who looks forward to a little away then after a couple of days I want to be back home!
    When I drive a long distance alone, I have little musings and ideas or talk to myself or sing along to CD.
    Glad you had a good time away and most glad you arrived home safe and sound too!
    Judy

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  11. I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours, Rhonda. I don't comment very often (and I remember the one where you said that comments are so important to bloggers =) ) I love the feeling of driving away from my family, for even an hour or two, and doing whatever I want without anyone needing me. I have young children. =)
    I love your blog. I've been following you for many years and I look forward to your posts. Thank you!!!

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  12. Hi Rhonda
    I feel bad that I didn't comment yesterday but I can't tell you how excited I was to see an update. I would be sad if you decided to end the blog but then I know I would also be satisfied with reading back on past posts. I often feel the same as you when I am somewhere even for a couple of hours on my own with no one expecting me anywhere and I can just do as I please, heaven. But again it was also heaven last night standing on my balcony watching and listening to the storm unfold around our little warm ( too warm!) house before sitting down to a made from scratch meal. Your contribution of blogging gives me as a 28 year old with slightly differnt values to most of my peers something to relate to and be excited by. Even though I probably have no concept of the effort it takes to keep going I can say it is appreciated very much!!
    Alyce ( Blackheath budgeter)

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    1. Alyce, you always make me smile when you type (Blackheath budgeter) next to your name as if I won't remember you. I remember you clearly, and fondly. What a lovely way to end the day by watching a storm unfold from your balcony. I would have loved that. xx

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  13. I just love the plate Tricia has on her wall of the Blue Wren and his family. We have such a family who call our back yard home, and I never tire of watching them. Many times I've seen them all gathered closely together in a row just like on that plate. He keeps his family close!

    And I can't wait to read some of your posts on ageing. I don't find it scary, just a bit frustrating because sometimes I forget that I'm not 27 anymore! I love this phase of my life, though, my Joyful Retirement!

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  14. Your last few posts made me wonder if you were thinking of giving up. And when I looked in on your site today to catch up and saw “I’ve had enough” – the title of your last post, well, I was holding my breath until I saw you weren’t ‘resigning’. I would be very disappointed if you did stop blogging. Yours is the first blog I ever read. Some years ago now, Down to Earth blog was mentioned in a magazine article, (I don’t think the magazine is published anymore and I can’t remember it’s name – I think it had tabbed sections) and I looked up your blog on the internet and have been a regular reader ever since.

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  15. I missed your blog when you were away & found myself checking it of a morning, just in case you had something to say, although I don't often leave a comment, I read all your posts -- I find encouragement & inspiration in your words. Without it I would not know about making laundry detergent, baking bread, bicarb & apple cider vinegar (instead of shampoo) Odgers & McClelland store, & so many other things. I found your blog the same way Sherri (above post) did & have read it ever since, I know one day you will stop blogging -- but I hope that is sometime away yet, so I say thanks for the time you take to share your life with us, Love Tricias kitchen, & that little wool shop looks like my kind of place.

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  16. We read your blog for your wisdom as much as for the general topic of simple living you know - please throw in any random topic you please! And....roadside fruit - We have a orchard of oranges and lemons not too far from us on a deserted block complete with tumbling down cottage that we pick on occasion. I am glad I am not the only one that loves wondering through old cemeteries too, as it helps us connect to the realities of our pioneer forbears and their hard work, simple lives and frugality that underpinned this country.

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  17. The most I have driven on my own is about 1.5 hours and that was enough, so well done you. Tricia's home seems much the style of yours so as sisters, you seem to have a similar approach to life? Love reading your blog, would really miss you if you stopped:)

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  18. Welcome back Rhonda! I for one one am guilty of not commenting often even though I look forward to reading your posts. I find your writing to be truly inspirational. If it wasn't for finding your blog a few years back I don't think I would have had the courage to live my 'simple' life and the road less travelled.
    I have driven the New England Hwy a couple of times when visiting my son and daughter in law in Brisbane and also find it to be a very scenic route. (Wouldn't want to do it too often though!)
    I'm glad you enjoyed your trip even with the few very hot days we had down here.
    Thanks for the photos of the Odgers and McClelland store. I have bought a few things online from them and would love to visit the store one day. But for now I am happy just to view your photos. Thankyou once again for your blog.

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  19. I loved this post!
    You never cease to surprise me with such good reading.
    Her kitchen, wow, that stove, and it seemed very welcoming.
    I loved the roadside shots too.
    The backyard, I'd love to just sit and enjoy that awhile.
    But still there is no place like home to me, too.

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  20. As Dorothy said,"There's no place like Home"!
    Hugs xxx

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  21. I just added a welcome home message after reading your comments above. I would miss your thoughtful words and ideas. Yours is the first blog I ever read after hearing you on Radio National, and you gave me the courage to comment after many months in the shadows.

    I love the pictures and I love that 'time out' too.
    kx

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  22. ♥ Every WORD in this post is precious. I'm so glad you left your "bubble" long enough to have the joy of exploring. Tricia's kitchen is SO inviting. Thanks for sharing those photos.

    And thanks for "returning". I contend that the most interesting blogs are those that are based on reality - not illusion. PLEASE continue to blog about the realities of your life. It just happens that aging is part of ALL of our lives :)

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  23. you wish for fewer trucks on the roads? just about everything you own is because of our trucks! and what would you suggest the drivers do? go on the dole?
    without trucks, this country stops.
    yes, i'm a very proud truckie's wife.

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    1. Hi Julie. While trucks are necessary for delivering goods within towns and cities, trains used to be our main form of long distance transport. I'd like to return to that.

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  24. I would be very disappointed if you stopped blogging. I am new to your blog, in fact yours is the first I have ever read and the one I look to every day. I have gone right back through your archives and am reading from the start. So much of what you have written and continue to write resonates with my new lifestyle. Two things I notice from today's post - so much sky!! How I long for sky, living in a very built up area. Secondly, Tricia's house reminds me of my aunts house - cosy, old-fashioned, homely and comforting!

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  25. Wow, I'm amazed at all the food growing along the roads. Very cool! BTW, Tricia's kitchen is wonderful! It seems so old world. Glad you had such a good time!

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  26. Tricia's house looks like a warm and cozy place to be. I love the road signs, though I'm feeling a bit ignorant, not knowing what the first animal is. It is wonderful to have a good adventure, and then come back home to your peaceful place. I feel the same way.

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  27. Tricia's kitchen is just lovely! What a nice trip you seemed to have and yes, while being away is wonderful, home is great too.
    Since I have a slight wombat obsession, along with Koalas, thank you for sharing that sign!!

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  28. I love the photos of the kitchen and the stove. So nice to be able to take an adventure and return safely home

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  29. So nice to hear about your little adventure, it does us good to go away and see and experience new and different things, but oh so nice to come back home.
    I have also held the view for many years that we need more rail transport and trucks just for local work, BUT we all know what huge influence the big petro companies have with the polititians and the Railways were never run in a bussiness like manner,I am sure a properly organised, modern sytem, with suitably trained staff, would be cost effective and less polluting.

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  30. Hi Ronda and welcome back :) Like everyone else that has posted, I enjoy your blog, it is the only one I read and look forward to it everyday. I started writing a travel blog in April and had a lot of hiccups due to poor internet connection in various parts of the country. I stopped writing and do miss it. Even though I know my family reads it, for me it was like writing in a void, or talking to myself because no one posted any comments. You would be sadly missed if you stopped writing, but it is understandable if you did because it is a huge commitment. You give so much to us, your readers, you are an inspiration and selfless, and thank you for the time you spend with us. I would love to meet you one day. Also, as we are approaching the 'other end' of life, and having recently lost both my parents to cancer, my husband and I have thought about aging and death and what it will mean to the one left behind given our lifestyle of living on the road. I would be very interested in your views.

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  31. Love the road signs! Had to laugh about the 'roo... Of course, I was amused by a moose sign in Vermont...

    The topography is so interesting... sort of like Florida and the Down East of N.C. combined... Fascinating to see! Thanks for sharing!

    As I raked leaves today, I thought about how comforting "home" is; I understand your contentment! When I read your "out in the world" statement, all I could think of was one of my favorite quotes from the movie "Witness": "Be careful out amongst them English..." LOL

    Enjoy nesting. It's good to have you home!

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  32. Oh Rhonda we are finding we break up our long drives now. Not because we can't handle the drive but because the kids can't! I've found I actually really like it. When we drive out west we now stop halfway, in Orange, for at least one night. I love checking out what's happening in the main street, having a cuppa with my relations who live there, and of course visiting Orange Regional Gallery! When we drive up the mid north coast it's only a five hour drive so we tend to drive through the night so there's less traffic and the kids sleep. I must say I also wish there were less trucks on the road. There's certainly a place for them but it's absolutely crazy we moved away from rail for long distance transport. In fact my Dad can still remember when they used to send logs down the river rather than via trucks/rail! Rail is another way I love to travel. It's lovely to sit passively and read or knit. Plus Countrylink always serves devonshire tea! Hurrah!

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  33. As everyone else are saying - what a beautiful kitchen! It must be a lovely house :-) What a trip you took and I love how you notices all the small things on your way. Please don't stop blogging - You are such a huge inspiration to so many :-)

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  34. Sounds like you had a lovely time away but I understand the pull of home and of belonging to a particular place. Thanks for sharing your photos - I carefully checked Tricia's blue and white crockery to see if my tea-pot was there! And the abandoned railway station was so poignant.
    Like many others, I have found your wise words over the years so informative and encouraging in my own search for a simpler lifestyle. Your blog is much appreciated - thank you.

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  35. Rhonda - you are indeed a wise woman to choose to look out and be very aware while you're stopped for unsavoury people. My cousin was travelling from Darwin to Adelaide, and overnighted in a roadside rest area with truckies. The next morning, he was cooking his breakfast as the last truckie left and a man on a motorcycle drove in. That man shot my cousin and dragged him into the bush. He would not have been found for weeks as he wasn't expected in Adelaide for another week or two, except the man who killed him handed himself in a couple of days later to Darwin Police.

    I too have been to Nundle and to Odgers & McLelland, and I love the store. I also love that they do online stuff!!! Glad you enjoyed your trip!

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    1. Sharynne, I'm so sorry to read about your cousin. It's so sad, a young life ended all too soon. What a terrible shock for the family. It's incredible how quickly life can change. I'm vigilant when I go out here and especially on the road alone. Take care, love. xx

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  36. Hi Rhonda,

    "Ah! There's no place like home for comfort." (Jane Austen)

    Rhonda, I loved seeing your photos and hearing about your adventures. Like you I love home - some have tried to suggest there is something wrong with me (like an anxiety disorder!!) because I just have no desire to leave home. I think it means I'm lucky to have found such contentment and peace within my own four walls :)

    I think it's good to talk about ageing, and other deep topics. I'm so grateful for every insight and pondering you share.

    Madeleine.x

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  37. It is so much fun to take trips I may never get to on my own! Thank you for taking this American along on your road trip!! I too am in love with your sisters kitchen, and appreciate that you stop at the occasional cemetery. You must do what you are comfortable with but as you might have figured out by now, when the time comes to hang up the blog you will be missed terribly! Thanks again for the drive!

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  38. Like Matty, I too thought the topography reminded me a bit of Florida. It was so neat to get a glimpse of your part of our world. Thank you for all you share on your blog. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on aging. ~Elaine

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  39. What a lovely post Rhonda. Thanks for taking me on your road trip :) I love my home, however humble it is. Even the word 'home' is comforting. Last night I was listening to the Michael Buble song 'Home' and it was just what I was feeling. I think we can really understand the meaning of home-sick when we only want to be there.

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  40. I loved travelling along with you through your posts Rhonda, and I especially love your last paragraph. It really hits the spot with me. I also wanted to thank you for your gorgeous message on my blog, it really means so much. I hope you have a gorgeous Wednesday. Love Kate xx

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  41. Rhonda,
    Welcome home! I have to admit that I've been trying to refrain myself from checking constantly for your return.
    Loved all the photos, especially the signs =) Your corner of the world looks truly beautiful. The old places are magnets for me too. In Trinidad you don't have to go far to see them, but they too are being cast aside for modern things. It is a great pity for they are so full of character. These very places, as well as traveling the old fashion way, just as you did, by train, would be huge tourist attractions and not only for foreigners.
    Your sister's home is so very inviting, worthy of a centerspread in a magazine! I can just imagine it decorated for Christmas.

    Vicki
    Trinidad & Tobago

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  42. Ah, you are so like me but I am no good at going away alone. I am fearful without my husband and strange mishaps befall me. No kangaroo crossing signs here for sure but deer crossing signs are prevalent and we have seen a good many on the roadsides lately. Just two days ago there were four standing along the country road we live on. I am glad you are back safe and sound!

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  43. Please do not stop blogging Rhonda, you are an inspiration to young mothers like me
    Nurdan

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  44. I love Tricia's kitchen.
    Please carry on writing, I don't often comment, but like many others I'm sure, I would miss you.
    Best is he's,
    Angela (south England) UK

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  45. Hi Rhonda...there is no place like home! Welcome back.
    Carol

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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