Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
It was nice living in our new house on the hill, beside the forest. It was a normal suburban life. We lived there for about four years and then suddenly we moved. My parents bought 128 acres of hilly, mostly forested land adjacent to a national park on one side, my uncle’s dairy farm on another side and very near my grandparent’s farm. It didn’t have a house or any infrastructure at all, no access road, no electricity, no water supply, no sewerage, nothing but lovely forest, steep gullies, waterfalls and some patches of native grass. They couldn’t afford to buy the land but the offer to live close to relatives was too attractive so they took on an enormous debt and dived into the unknown and what was to become a grand adventure.
They sold our house and bought a small secondhand caravan. For the next year we lived in the yard of my grandparent’s house. I don’t know why we didn’t live in the house considering that it has 3 bedrooms and only my grandparents lived there, and it had heating, electricity, a bathroom and running water but instead we lived in the caravan in the yard.
Our caravan had a table with two seats that converted into a bed for my parents at one end, a small galley kitchen with a tiny sink with cold tap and my parents used a small gas stove on the bench, and two small beds at the other end for me (four years old) and my brother (eight years old), with under and above bed storage cabinets. It must have been very intense for my parents to live in such confined spaces with two children, especially for my father who worked shift-work. I don’t recall what arrangement we had for bathing but there was an old outside ‘dunny’ (a toilet seat over a bucket) in the yard that we used.