Two childhood dreams
As a child I had two dreams (which are still with me to this day) which have not been fully realised.
- I had a notion that I could live in a tiny home in a wooded area with a stream flowing past and I could fully live off the provision of the land.
- I wanted to be a missionary. I wanted to travel to other places in the world and help people.
As for the first dream of living fully off of the land, I have done nothing to make it happen. It always seemed to be a childhood fancy or my imagination gone wild. Why would I need to live in the middle of nowhere? And why live off the land when we have so many provisions to carry water anywhere and provide electricity, etc…..?
With my second dream I may have made more progress. I have taken trips to Israel and British Columbia and helped others through building and social projects. I have, in fact, moved from my birthplace of the United States to Australia and found myself employed in the profession of Travel — so my wanderlust genes have been allowed to express themselves to some extent. However, I do not feel I have reached anywhere near the full capacity of what my heart directs me to do: help others.
Two dreams – Inextricably linked
Now I find these two dreams inextricably linked. Living off the land, or living self-sustainable as it is now called, was forgotten in the dusty corners of my mind. It never occurred to me that it was something I needed to do. However, I now realise the mission of living my life to help others can only be accomplished by giving life to my first dormant dream.
My current situation
Let me explain by telling you about my current life… I am a single mum of two fabulous boys (of course every mother thinks this about her kids). I live in the suburbs of Sydney, one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in (5th according to this 2014 article) . I commute 2 hours a day to get into Sydney to work at a moderate paying job which keeps me pretty happy. I leave home at 8am and get home around 7pm — that’s most of my life! Why do I do this? Basically most of my efforts pay to put a roof over mine and my kids’ heads. We rent a home on a weekly basis so as long as I work, we have a roof. If I stop working, we have no roof! And in the end, we have little resources to do more than just provide a roof for ourselves!
So, in my mind and heart, when I evaluate my life… I feel I am trading all of my life, my energy, my time, whatever abilities and gifts I have — all of this — I am simply trading for a roof. I am giving my all to provide a shelter for my family.
But, what if I could reverse this? What if I could put myself in a position where the home, however small and modest it may be… or however distant or unconventional it was…. what if it was there to provide for me and not I for it? What if I were free to spend time with my children before they fly the coop? And what if I could then devote myself to my community, to helping others and giving freely of myself?
How are these two dreams linked?
That brings me back to the intertwining of these two dreams. When I looked at my budget I could see my biggest expense, by far, was rent. I wondered:
- How far would I need to go outside of Sydney to actually afford a piece of land — to buy it and own it and be done with it?
- Then how cheaply could I fashion some sort of home that would give us basic shelter?
- What else would I need to convert this piece of earth to a self-sufficient home for my family?
I need rainwater tanks, solar panels and a grey-water system to treat and re-use the water for our gardens. With a veggie patch and fruit and nut trees, some chickens for eggs and a couple of goats for milk, we could be well on our way to not having bills to pay and a much lower need for money.
So… if I could realise this first dream of a self-sustainable home, I could then focus on my children and my new community and start finding the path of helping others that God would have me tread in this life.
Gosh, what an idea!
How much is a piece of land?
How far out of Sydney must one go to purchase an affordable piece of land? Well, for me it turns out about a 4.5 hour drive from my current suburb. I saved every cent I could and paid $14,000 outright for a piece of land. I now am the proudest owner of a 1/2 acre field of weeds. And these aren’t just any weeds… they’re my weeds! And they’re a sign that life can grow on my new plot of land.
Please be assured I researched the area and community and consulted with my kids for what “must-haves” we must have. We were able to tick all the boxes. We can even see the neighbourhood swimming pool from our plot of land! Who thought we’d get a swimming pool too?
A humble abode
For a basic shelter I did a lot of research. I have seen amazing “earth ships” but find that the cost of building one is more than I can provide at the moment and the option of building my own is not something I have the time and resources for. I need a shelter that can be put up almost immediately. So, enter a 12×3 metre manufactured portable home. I know, I know, that’s super small. But we can have a bedroom at either side and a bathroom and kitchen and small living area to share. My goal is to add onto this a substantial outside living area which will cater to our outdoor lifestyle of living off of the land. I would like to create an outdoor kitchen area for cooking and preserving our garden’s bumper crops. Our laundry will be here under cover with plenty of space to hang washing when its raining. We’ll also have tables and chairs for a larger lounging area which our Portable Home won’t quite accommodate.
The other bonus of this outdoor living area is that the roof will provide a much larger area for rainwater catchment as well as a great place to put our solar panels and hot water heater. I want to utilise the water the sky provides to use for our necessity and once it has cleaned our bodies and dishes, it can flow out to the gardens and grow an abundance.
All in all, I have a great plan to get this 1/2 acre of land providing for most of our needs.
Why am I telling you this?
By making the sacrifice to distance myself from my current community and live in a very minimal home, doing as much of the work myself as possible, I can reduce the total cost and time frame needed for this project. Even so, all the necessary bits and pieces still add up to more than a single mum is capable of — whether in the planning it takes, in researching materials and tradesman, or in the actual cost of attaining these things. Plus there is the wealth of knowledge required that can be found from others who have done this before.
I am sharing my Journey with my friends, family, community, and the world at large because I invite you to help in any way you can. If it’s just a word of encouragement or a great piece of advice… or if you can donate resources or time… or if you have a few dollars to share… I am most appreciative and thank you already.
My mission with this project is what I have already mentioned above, but it is more than that as well. I find many of us are caught up in a similar cycle of life where we work hard to provide for ourselves and our family and we feel like we’re giving all of our life energy in the process. I want to be an example that we can all live more simply and find a place in life where our home and our lifestyle provides for us to be who we’re meant to be and allows us to follow the path in life we feel called to in our hearts.
If you wish to contact me, you can email me on Amy@AustraliansOutbound.com or use the form below…