The thread of my belongings.
Way back in 2001, I bought a terrace in Newtown with my father. I got a mortgage on a quarter and he bought 3 quarters; scary days and meeting mortgage payments was occasionally awkward – some things don’t change. My parents split up when I was 6 or thereabouts and I grew up with mum, though seeing dad regularly; I have a sister a few years younger too. Buying a house with dad meant living him for the first time in 30 odd years – a good move. He died at the start of 2005 and I remain ever thankful for those few years I got to share an abode with him.
With that said, he could be a cantankerous bastard at times, in the nicest possible way, or as someone said in describing me in memory of him: “rambunctious” – the occasion was a dinner and I’d had a little to drink :-) The one downside of the arrangement is that it limited my ability to move elsewhere. In order to meet my mortgage payments I needed to be able to rent out my bit for a sum that would cover my monthly payment. This meant I had to find someone who could share comfortably with the old man…a not so easy task at times, though I s’pose if I’d been really keen to move I could have found someone. I lacked the courage to push in those days I think.
Anyway, I had a lovely 5 years living with my dad.
I now have my own place, with another mortgage twice the size of the old one. Yet, I’m better off. Both my sister and I sold the old place and each bought flats about a 10 minute walk apart, and indeed, about a 10-15 minute walk from the old house. This suits us rather well. Plus it means for me, that should I move elsewhere, the rent I get from my place, will comfortably cover the mortgage/strata/etc. I may even emerge slightly ahead.
There’s a freedom in that. I feel free and that sense of being trapped in one spot has gone. There are good reasons to remain where I am: I love it so, it is what I call home, my friends & family are nearby, I am in a good spot. Yet, at the same time, I have the freedom to go when I need to. I can now move interstate, or overseas.
I have spent my entire life wanting to live somewhere other than Sydney. I lived briefly in Wollongong. I tried for years to move to Adelaide…though ultimately I think I lacked the courage to follow through. A few years ago I went for a job in the UK office, it was after dad had died and my fortitude had changed. I figured, buggrit, I can do this anyway, mortgage or not, I can move and fudge my way through. The death of dad seemed to have revealed a hidden well of courage in me that I had never noticed. So I went hard for the London job and missed out…by 1. Regardless, it was so worth doing.
A year or two back, after the sale of the house and before I bought the flat, I was single and suffering depression. My boss, who is also a friend, suggested I quit and do one of the big trips I’ve always wanted to do – spend 6 months backpacking through South America. Instead, I spent 6 months seeing a pyschologist, and bought a flat ( a wonderful warehouse conversion) once I snapped out of the depression.
Ironically I am now in a far stronger position to do that South American trip :-)
I suspect that at some point in the near future, probably this year or maybe next, I will move out of Sydney. I love my job and it is such that I can do it anywhere…I work from home. I like the broad focus I deal with, from small school libraries, through to national consortia, whether it be NZ or Oz. I occasionally back up the international offices too: Europe, Asia and Ibero. I’ve been doing this job for 6 and a half years now and I still really enjoy it. But at some point I will need to move on and for now, there seems to be two options: Canberra or Wellington. Wellington is my second favourite place in the world, the first being Edinburgh, Scotland.
Playing into this was my recent trip to NZ. I wanted to see if I still liked it, and Wellington, as much as I thought I did. The tramp was really good for me, as I documented yesterday…I felt at home in the bush of NZ. At home and welcome. I spent nearly a week in Wellington at the end of trip, walking lots of places, meeting and hanging with a different bunch of folk almost every day, discovering some new bars and hangs. In all, it was an affirming time. I have occasionally talked of moving there over the years and I think now I’m in the best sort of spot to do it.
Moving is a big step and as I say, I love where I am right now. However I can’t let it hold me back, it can’t ever become a prison. I seem to have a need to keep pushing myself…out of my comfort zone, to try new things. New things always seem to hurt, though the hurting keeps paying off…that sounds sorta wrong. Yet, in those times when I don’t push myself, I feel a little like I’m just marking time…waiting for the next thing.