There’s something about early morning stillness
It’s a quiet, still and slightly foggy morning in Lamington national park, and I’m quietly enjoying the morning hours with a cup of herbal tea from the window seat of our cabin overlooking the rainforest. What a magical time of day, in such a spectacular location. And then my son wakes up and says ‘Mum Read’ – bringing me a picture book. As much it feels like my ‘me time’ has been interrupted, I’m trying to enjoy the moment of just being with my son as he wants to sit and read books together.
Its been an interesting week. I’m enjoying some time away from my job and from the hectic pace that is the city of Bangkok. Being in Australia, and in a pretty remote place feels like bliss – the nearest town is about an hour drive away, and the wifi is spotty (I’m trying to see this as a blessing and not curse!). Its been really refreshing to have time amongst the spectacular trees, in such a beautiful, peaceful setting. This week saw a lot of people in the oil industry lose their jobs, and one friend of mine was forced to choose between the location where she wanted to live, and her job – she chose the location. Another new friend has recently moved to the closest town to Lamington National Park, Canungra, for several personal reasons – despite not having a job here. I’m seeing more and more people speak with their feet and choose lifestyle and their dream location over jobs and careers.
As I spend my days hiking through the forest, I’m reflecting on what it is that makes a location ideal, and what criterion I would look for if I were to live in any location. Its an interesting question – if I could live anywhere in the world, where would I choose? What is that is important to me in a location? I’ve spent the past ten years living in a place determined by my job – what if I had complete freedom to choose what that location was? Having traveled a lot, seen a lot of amazing places – it’s a tough question – but it does help me to reflect on what feels like home.
One of the first things I think of when I think of my dream place to live, is somewhere that is surrounded by natural beauty. Somewhere that I can get up in the morning and look out upon green trees, beautiful skies and nature around me. Where I can go for a walk and watch the seasons change and the day unfold around me. A place that has fresh air, and where I can see sunrises and sunsets, where I can feel chilly mornings or balmy evenings, watch the fresh dew on the plants and see wildlife in the surroundings. I love the peaceful and re-energizing feeling from seeing natural beauty around me.
The second thing I’ve realized is really important to me is wonderful fresh produce. Somewhere I can grow my own or buy seasonal products that capture the essence of the season, grown with care by local farmers. I realized recently how much better a simple meal can taste when its made with fresh, high quality ingredients. I roasted a chicken along with roast potatoes and butternut pumpkin, and added only a little butter and garlic to the dish and served with corn on the corn– and it was delicious – the flavor of the chicken and the vegetables really shining through. I want to live somewhere that fresh, local and seasonal produce, grown in a natural setting without pesticides is readily available. I want to get to know where my food comes from, to meet the people who grow them.
The third thing that I put in my criteria of dream places to live is community and a vibrant place to connect with them. Over the past ten years of living abroad and moving around, I’ve gotten much better at being alone and spending time at home, and feeling energized by spending time just with my immediate family and a small group of friends. But being an extrovert, I’m energized by spending time with people, and I also love to discover local places. One of my favourite things to do in any place I’m spending time is to explore the small places, creating artisan offerings – whether its local cafes, creative arty stores or markets offering fresh produce and local food. I enjoyed coffee with a friend at a small little café outside the National Park last week, and as I drove down the treacherous mountain road out of the National Park I felt tired and a little depleted after a busy few days of travel. But I came away from that coffee afternoon feeling energized and rejuvenated – for me, there’s something about connecting with like-minded people that lifts me up and reminds me that a sense of community is an important factor for me in choosing my lifestyle.
So apart from exotic locations, trendy ‘happening’ spots or places famous for their scenery – I’ve realized what is important to me is a sense of community, great local food and unique natural beauty. What criteria are important to you in a dream location?