THE UPS & DOWNS OF ISLAND LIFE

 

Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows, everything that's wonderful...

Sounds like what you'd imagine living on an island to be like, right?  WRONG. Well, actually you'll be glad to know it IS mostly this BUT amongst the sunshine, cool breezes and nature overload are challenges which can only be experienced once you're there, knee deep in the adventure.

At the beginning of August, we moved into an eco-cabin on South Stradbroke Island, a place accessible by boat only, with no shops, limited internet and Golden Wallabies aplenty. You can read more about our move here. We were privy to these facts before we moved and were up for the challenge but as many of you adventurers would know, once you're knee deep in any life-changing adventure, the challenges can come thick and fast and have your ideals setting sail for the horizon.

Enter Dory, our trusty sea vessel (dinghy) responsible for taking us from mainland to island and back again. She's a faithful steed but not the most seaworthy at times. A lesson we learned the first day we set sail. An excited urban family setting out on their maiden voyage on the open water (The Broadwater). "Wow, look at us", we said. HA! Five seconds later, the engine wouldn't start and was blowing enough smoke to give a chimney a run for its money. There we were, in the boat with cheesey grins, nek minnit, out of the boat and cue sad sacks. First ideal smashed. Two hours later saw us back on the boat, on the water headed to the local shopping centre for supplies. Crisis averted via Mark's intuition, a call to the boat's owner and some nifty engine tinkering. We've had a few other moments similar since then, like last week when the accelerator wasn't working so had to trip across The Broadwater, engine cover off, manually tweaking the accelerator with fingers crossed. Yep, we are pros.

I think these times come and show us what we're made of. In both instances, it took every ounce of me not to meddle in what Mark was doing, to stay calm and entertain Leni for the time it took to get everything back on track. If there's anything island life and time teaches you, it's how to slow down, how to not stress, how to breathe deeply and just take it all in; the good and the bad. Luckily on these occasions, we weren't on a time frame and could relax (at least Leni & I could, Mark did all the hard work) until we were all systems go again. Speaking of slowing down, we've been forced to think ahead a little more (more than usual for us spontaneous types) and follow the weather systems. It means some days aren't suitable to get out on the boat so it's exploring in and around the island in the rain or having a "cozy cabin day".  Some days the weather is our master. It truly feels good and somewhat worshipful to respect the amazing nature around us in such a big way. We're learning so much about the tide, wind speed and direction and how to navigate the waters we cross almost daily.

It's an unusual thing in this day and age to prioritise slowing down. It seems as a society, we admire busyness and are willing to speed up until breaking point and say yes to more and more. But, can you blame us? Mark and I have found as we've endeavoured to slow down, the silence and space is confronting. Really confronting. And we consider ourselves pretty conscious, aware people (most days...). We have moments of boredom when we are surrounded by nature in all her glory. We feel tense when we are supposed to be relaxed. We feel anxious when we have nowhere to be. How can that be when we're on this island paradise with not a worry in the world?

It's at this moment we faced with ourselves. Our true selves. The selves that are too often pushed to one side because of noise.

Our thoughts yell louder than ever, racing and rushing to be heard. Afraid of the silence. When we give ourselves the opportunity to sit and be silent, it's tough. We're not used to it. We feel like we're wasting time or not achieving anything.

This is the point.

We don't have to achieve 24/7. Yes, we were born to create and be productive but not at the expense of rest. True rest. Away from devices, away from distraction, and sometimes away from people. Not to the point of isolation but of rejuvenation where we can be fresh and free and the new ideas can flow easily. Not ideas birthed out of looking at someone's else's Instagram posts but ideas belonging to you. Derek Sivers writes in his recent blog post entitled Disconnect, "You get no competitive edge by consuming the same stuff everyone else is consuming." Amen Derek. Easier said than done but worth a try right?

The last and hardest challenge for us has been missing our beloved friends (who were family to us) from Melbourne. Hi party people reading! They were our rock solids for 5 years; our people, our gang, our riches. Journeying life with a close knit community of people who understand you and love you even though they really know you, is priceless. Add to this, a 4 year old who is also missing her friends, and it's a recipe for lots of tears and real conversations about emotions and heartache. Of course, they're all just a FaceTime or phone call away but it's not the same when you're used to meeting up at your fave wine bar on Lygon for a night long catch up. But, as we say a lot in our household, "They are our friends forever, nothing can ever change that" and this seems to help in those sad times.

So, living on an island is a dream, for the most part. It's everything we hoped it would be and more because of all the experiences we are having. It's a life that's inconvenient and full of surprises and one we are glad we turned from a CANNOT into a WHY NOT. We would recommend it to anyone who is up for adventure.

Are you contemplating something adventurous in your life?  Let us know what you're up to, we'd love to hear all about it!

Until the next episode of "When Boats Break Down"...

To love and adventure,

Stace

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