I think sometimes I take growing up in the country for granted. Wide sweeping plains, never ending horizons, big open spaces and the natural beauty of this Australian land. To be honest I think to a degree that is what I wanted to escape when I left. I was searching for something different, a landscape unfamiliar to me.
When I moved to Brisbane I fell in love with the city quickly. Convenience, choice, opportunity – these were things that I am sure people who grew up in the city take for granted, but for me it was exciting.
For the first few years particularly and even now, I jumped at the opportunity to do something that I wouldn’t have been able to in my small town. Concerts, festivals, big sporting events, even just going to the movies, if it was something I was interested in I was there. Growing up in the country I think taught me to grab hold of any opportunity because you don’t know when the chance will present itself again.
I spent a long time exploring a world outside dirt roads, long drives, and big hats. But if I hadn’t I don’t think I would have got to a place where I can appreciate that I was lucky to grow up in the country. To have cattle and kangaroos find there way into our backyard, to understand the impact of drought on our farmers, to truly know what Dorothea Mackellar meant when she wrote “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains”.
I have lived in Brisbane for 8 years now, and that doesn’t looks like changing. It is now the place I call home. But as the years go by I have become to notice that I feel the pull more to get outside the city, to spend the day or even a weekend somewhere that feels far away.
I get excited when I see the road up ahead open out and I can stare out towards the horizon, where you can’t tell where the land ends and the sky begins. I have become to feel as though it is not a location on a map that is home, it is a connection with the landscape.
I am a country girl at heart, and while I have been living in the city I think I started to forget that. I don’t want to take anything in my life for granted, I have been truly privileged to grow up in rural Australia and to experience a part of this country that many of my city friends have not.
If I hadn’t been born in the country, I don’t think I would have gained my curiosity for the world and my connection to nature and even my identity as an Australian.
This has all lead me to think about how Australia is seen around the world. What is easily shown of us is our pride in our nation. This connection to the vast and rugged landscape. It is unique, it is untouched and I grew up in the middle of it.
That’s actually pretty special.
We all search for something different, for the unfamiliar, for the change to our routine, but I think trying to remember to take nothing for granted is a challenge worthy of taking up.
I took the photos in this post on my last trip home to country New South Wales in November 2015.