January 7th, 2016
It’s a new year. I’ve been unemployed for 6 days and I have pretty much everything I own in front of me in three bags at Auckland International Airport. All other remnants of my life in Australia have either been sold, given away or turfed in the Great Melbourne Furniture Swap (aka “Hard Rubbish Day”). I’ve paid a small fortune for the privilege of excess baggage, which I currently lug and basically wiped out my savings to clear and ship my two dogs, for whom I currently wait. The only things I have sorted back in my homeland are: 1) a pre-purchased pop top camper parked at my aunty and uncle’s house; and 2) a car, which is currently en route to pick me up. These combine to form my intended lifestyle for the foreseeable future.
* Point to note, if you find yourself with more than your baggage allowance coming from Australia to New Zealand, you’ll find shipping options are ridiculously overpriced unless you have a large amount. This is mostly due to the set price of freight inspection once it reaches our hallowed shores. The best way I found is pre-ordering excess baggage on an Air New Zealand flight for $55 per bag (up to 25kg- valid at time of writing)… unfortunately I was on a Qantas flight… hindsight is 20/20
How did I get here? And what was I thinking? Valid questions.
I had moved to Melbourne 4 years earlier to pursue a career in dog training and sheltering after previous experience at the SPCA in Wellington during my uni years. I’d decided to recapture the sense of fulfilment and purpose that it had given me before. This was a great move as far as education ad mentoring went. I did my training at the National Dog Trainers’ Federation and fell into a position working under a very experienced and reputable trainer, Trish Harris of 4 Paws K9 Training. I’d also had a go at running a martial arts school, started working for myself doing private dog training consultations and gained more experience in sheltering on a whole different scale at the Lost Dogs’ Home than I’d had before.
However, I’d known for a long while now that I really wanted out of cities and out of the cycle of working for the ability to pay off someone else’s mortgage and barely being able to get ahead. I have no real estate of my own, no desire to sell my life to a high paying job and its soul-sapping demands, no money to speak of, and no prospect of inheritance or a beneficent sponsor. The chances of procuring a lovely country home on a rural block, on which I could work towards a quiet, self-sustaining lifestyle were remote to say the least. And the problem of how to financially support myself once I got there always lingered in the back of my mind. There are clearly innumerable other options. Some are ethical. Others less so. Most require a long-term commitment to one location. Only one really took hold of me.
Tinyhouses are a thing which have been around for some time now. Recently, they have really been finding popularity in the USA. If you’d like to learn more about Tinyhouses, this video (We The Tiny House People- YouTube) is worth a look. I think the first time I heard about them was in a Facebook post from my Mum. Over the space of about two years, I got more and more interested in these people who were downsizing their lives in order to create a lifestyle of independence and abundance. By decreasing their possessions and taking responsibility for their own needs they were lessening their dependence on the very system that enslaves so many of us to our money and debt. Quite simply, a well-planned Tinyhouse decreases your expenses and means less need to chase money. Combined with at-home food production, it becomes a way to outgrow the need for mothering by the state.
While I explored a few possibilities in Melbourne and further afield in Australia, the pull of family, lifestyle and cheaper land prices made New Zealand seem a more attractive option. That… and a now-familiar intuitive feeling that this was my next step. I had also developed a couple of fairly ambitious plans to make my dreams reality and I was about to give them a try.