Everyone deserves a bit of space

24 March 2016
While we were away travelling around the countryside, I don't know how many times I heard the phrases "you've really inspired me" and "you've changed my life", but it was a lot.  I feel grateful that people connect with my writing and decide to live more simply because that will eventually change them in many profound ways. I listened carefully to those stories. I heard about moving from two incomes to one, leaving a secure but unhappy corporate life for a simpler one, couples knuckling down to pay off debt, 20-somethings learning how to cook from scratch and bake, women and men being brave enough to go against what friends were doing and reject consumerism, people being made capable and productive by learning traditional skills, and being surprised that there is an alternative to mainstream life that many didn't know about. I was inspired by all of it. I've come back with renewed commitment, eager to settle into my home and live a life that I know is good for me and will see me through my days.

I thought a lot about those stories while I drove long country miles and they helped me put my own life into perspective. Sometimes it takes distance to see something so familiar up close. I realised that listening to those stories confirmed my own decision to simplify and gave me a renewed and stronger commitment. Now that I'm back here I've been reassessing the lay of the land, making sure that what I do is right for us, checking that not a moment is lost and planning for the right balance of productivity and slowness in my home.

The quietness here belies my plans. I have a deep freezer to rebuild and have started that already, there is a kitchen garden to plan and plant, passionfruits, chillies, rosellas and raspberries to pick and process and there are many sewing and knitting projects waiting. I have countless hours of grandmothering to enjoy. And in the years ahead I will live a life that will slow and then stop, so I have a death to prepare for. I won't write about all those things in books but I'll write about them here, because writing helps me grasp the superficial issues while understanding and coming to terms with the deeper and more difficult parts too.

Jamie's little cat Ekk, relaxing on my computer.  

I've been watching the ABC series Jack Irish. I had to catchup when I returned home and yesterday I saw the final episode. This wild, violent and chaotic series ended in a quiet natural setting with the main characters speculating about the fate of a racehorse. The last words they spoke could have been aimed at all of us - we people who choose to live outside the mainstream bubble.

"Everyone deserves a bit of space, something to chomp on and a bit of quiet time to do what they bloody feel like. There's not much more to it than that, eh."


  1. Hi Rhonda,

    I don't leave home often, but always come back with a renewed commitment to the way I live my life, and often a new perspective on some things. Travel seems to allow you to step back from your own life and look at it afresh.

    I love the photo of Jamie's little cat, and of the cotton - a lovely basket of potential!


    PS enjoying your new book, I have 'saved' most of it to savour slowly over the long weekend.

  2. Glad to see you home safe and sound Rhonda. It's wonderful how many people you inspire especially me. Your book is on my bedside table waiting to be read. I've have another book to finish first though.
    Have a lovely Thursday....

  3. I love this post Rhonda!

    You have worded it beautifully...

    I just realised that I have missed the last episode of Jack Irish, cant have that, I had better find it online :)

    Happy Easter to you and yours,


  4. Rhonda I hope you'll post at the Forum about rebuilding your freezer, with winter coming in the southern hemisphere I think a lot of us need to do that.

    Doesn't your self cleaning oven do a good job!

  5. Those words just about sum it all up, don't they? Perfect.

  6. A wonderful post Rhonda, thank you.

    I'm only in my fifties but I'm especially looking forward to reading your words on preparing for death. I'm doing a lot of decluttering at the moment and one of the reasons is so that those left behind don't have to sort through all my old junk and memorabilia after I'm gone. I've done it myself in the past and it's agonising having decide what to keep and what to discard. It feels disrespectful to give away or throw away things that have been kept for decades by the person who's died. The fewer things I have the easier it will be for my loved ones when the time comes.

    I love that quote from Jack Irish. I'm so grateful that I've retired early and am living simply so that I can have a bit of space, something to chomp on and a bit of quiet time to do what I feel like.



  7. Agreed. Been on spring break this week and life has had a marvelous rhythm. While I have LOTS to do / complete / accomplish it is all on my time table... and I am deciding as I go what is worth the work and what I will let go in the future. Only five more weeks until summer break and I can "practice" retirement again! In the meantime, I have kefir on the counter processing; pansies to plant in my "stumps" I've gathered for them; bean sprouts doing what they do; and potatoes and beets to plant. This afternoon, I sat on the porch, barefoot, watching the birds, while I had my afternoon tea. Aren't our lives wonderful?

  8. what a great post! isn't it always the way when you go away, to come back full of ideas & inspiration? i have, from Tasmania but what i've realized i can't grow half their plants because of the hot, dry climate here! bugga! the beauty of it has inspired me to seek out similar plantings
    love Jamie's little kitten, so beautiful!
    have a great weekend
    thanx for sharing

    selina from kilkivan

  9. Thank you, I look forward to your updates. Hope your husband is feeling better. Have a happy and safe Easter. Guida

  10. Have a wonderful long weekend and a well-deserved relax :) Rather amusingly, it is your influence that has meant I won't attend your Brisbane events to get my book signed! Deciding that a during-toddler-naptime trip into the city is a tad troublesome, Eves and I will celebrate your CBD visit by having a very slow and simple day at home. See, I have learnt something ;)

    Ayesha xox

  11. Yes, they do. This is one of the reasons why my husband and I stay in our home. While it is not large, it is bigger than we absolutely need. Yet, the extra rooms allow us both to have our own space, which we both need. So here we stay.

  12. You have captured that coming home feeling to perfection. I don't go away much these days but when I do I always enjoy it but am mighty glad to arrive home, it is like relaxing in your comfiest chair. Enjoy your home and all it has to centre you.

  13. So beautifully written....so beautifully lived. Love this post - thank you for the inspiration and welcome home!

  14. Dear Rhonda- Iam so pleased you had a wonderful time away promoting your book and meeting new people ( and the old friends) who have encouraged you as you continue to walk your life here on this earth and inspire the rest of us to be happy at home. I was interested in your comment about preparing for death.. Since our son died I have done just that. I got a notebook and wrote in it how I wanted my funeral to be when the time comes. I said to my daughter I needed to be in "charge of that" and she laughed and said " we would expect nothing else from you Mum" :-) So now she has the notebook and it is done and dusted and I feel a sense of peace over it. I am 56 and no longer work outside the home. I have struggled in the loneliness of it as my husband still works. I was blessed that he supported me in the decision to give up paid employment after Daniel died as our income nearly halved but I have become more creative and can never go back to my life the way it was before. We have also invested in a tunnel house and I have tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum and sweet potato growing in there and I plan to keep them growing over Winter. There is always something to learn as we walk on the path of a simple, peaceful,frugal life away from the mainstream. We are like the salmon-- we go against the current . God bless you x x

    1. I have never had a child die but Hanno has - a son and a daughter, so I have watched from the sidelines. I'm pleased you're taking control of what will happen to you when you die. Many would think it morbid but I believe it's healthy and positive. I've been strengthened by seeing the continual changes the seasons bring. It helps you think about life and the progression of it, and then you get to eat what you grow. xx

    2. Sending a hug to both Hanno and you Rhonda Jean. Child loss stays with you for life. I cannot imagine losing 2 children :-(

  15. Really glad I found your blog. Going back to basics and learning some of the things that we've forgotten how to do is really important. I am working on a blog myself that teaches how to go off-grid and live sustainably with a very small budget, and I think that a lot of what you share on your blog will be important for my readers to know.

    I think you're right that finding a balance of working and living is missing these days, and living is what makes working worth it. If you can find something you love to do work-wise, you've got it made.



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