I've already shared with you that on the 14th February 2020, we secured the land for our glamping eco-retreat, but what I probably haven't mentioned is that owning this type of land had been my dream since I was eighteen.
It began four decades ago
I grew up in Brisbane on the east cost of Australia in a place called The Gap. People used to say that we lived "out in the sticks." It was a developing suburb, surrounded by hills and we'd often see kangaroos up the top of the street, lizards basking on the road and bats hanging from our banana trees. I bought a horse when I was seventeen and agisted him only a block away and would ride all over the hills and bush at the top of our street.
When I received my drivers license, one of my first drives was up to a nearby mountain area called Mt Nebo, which was only half an hour away. I can clearly remember stopping at a lookout and looking over a view pretty similar to this top pic, which is taken from Mt. Nebo. In the distance, lay a small hill on the flats below and on the top of that hill was a blue house.
I thought to myself, one day I want to live somewhere like that in a house with a view over a plain. I'd often drive up there and take in the stunning vista. It just felt calming and peaceful.
Then life goes on and you forget about things like that because they're impossible or improbable. I came to Perth in '85, and this city is a very flat place, only small hills to the East as we're on an ancient seabed plain.
But for the last ten years, or maybe even more, I've been checking occasionally on real estate sites, looking at places in the country because there was just this little dream that wouldn't die. We didn't have any money and the kids were so young, so I knew it was just a fantasy, a hobby of my heart. And nothing more.
Over the years, we would choose vacations in the country, staying in little houses in the bush, even when we went interstate. Both my husband and I preferred that type of stay than a beach vista. We loved waking up to kangaroos grazing, birds chirping and bush walks, and so did the kids. A log fire instead of rolling waves.
After a business failed in 2000 (not my fault, just an industry invaded by piracy) and I stepped back to take care of my babies, I started dreaming again.
Three years ago, we really started to get back on our feet and began thinking about investing in property. The property market in Australia was at a low and still is, and we looked at many apartments for a year. But I kept checking these country areas just south of Perth because we could get five acres with a simple house for about what we would spend on two apartments.
Last Mother's Day in May, I said to my family that all I wanted as a gift was to go down and look at some of the country places I'd seen on the real estate site. I didn't know exactly what the country there was like. That was when I posted the first pictures here in the Gang of Lake Clifton and the thrombolites.
We looked at so many places down there, and I can't tell you how many late nights I spent just checking the real estate app for new properties which rarely appeared. In July, we spent a few nights at an AirBnB house we thought we might buy but they wanted too much for it and we just weren't sure. It was five acres.
One day, we drove to Waroona to take a look at a house up on the scarp. Funnily enough, that house is in the next street from the entrance to our block and we drive past it every time we go down. As we drove up the hill to look at this house, I was struck by how much the land looked like the drive up to Mt. Nebo. Rolling, green, gentle hills, gum-tree woods, rich soil, few houses. The house wasn't right for us but the view was beautiful. We did both comment how gorgeous Waroona was and with a swimmable, boating and fishing dam only five minutes drive it was worth considering even though it was about thirty minutes from the ocean and Lake Clifton where we'd decided it would be the best place to buy.
We kept looking in Lake Clifton area until that fateful day when a real estate agent, who'd begun to help me with the search, took us for a drive to see a few properties and then said, I'm taking you to a 'wild card.'
Now, I'd already bookmarked the land because I thought it looked pretty and for the same price as five acres in Lake Clifton, we could have 100 with a view. But, my husband was so against developing land. I'd come up with the idea of adding a tent to book out to add to a property we'd buy, so that gave us some flexibility with buying a less cozy, ready to go house and maybe more land. We could renovate the house and still book out the tent.
As I said yesterday though, I fell in love at first sight with the block. Husband did too, but he's so much more practical than me. That's a good partnership because a dreamer always needs someone to hold their feet or they'll just simply float away.
He just kept saying, it won't work. It will cost too much. It will take too long. We don't know anything about developing.
Well, I've learned a lot in the last four months about developing a block to be completely off-grid. I found patient, skilled folk to help me and give me advice. Every one of them saw the vision and is excited.
My poor husband eventually couldn't deny that it was doable. I've got so many spreadsheets and plans, even pricing from bathtubs to fire extinguishers and wine glasses for each tent. It's costing nearly double to what we expected to invest in a "little, country place." But it's going to be unique and amazing and the adventure is at least free.
So, after forty-two years of dreaming, I finally caught my dream.
There's a long way to go, but each step of the way with this, little coincidences have happened that were so incredible I had to take them as a sign that we were on the right path.
This journey began with the view shown in the pic on the top taken from Mt. Nebo, Queensland, on the other side of Australia and has finally been realized in the next picture, taken from our new land in Waroona, Western Australia. A distance of 4,438 kilometers or 2,757 miles and some forty-two years.
The moral of the story...
listen to your heart and be patient. Sometimes dreams, even impossible ones, are still out there waiting for you. Big or small, if the opportunity comes to possibly fulfill your dream, really examine it. If it's knocking on your door again, there's a reason. I felt the same way when I started writing again at the ripe old age of fifty and that turned out okay, when I didn't think it could or would.
Dream big. Dream small. Just always dream...