Moving to Australia
Last August the family and I ventured over the Tasman Sea for three weeks of cruising around Australia - Byron Bay to Noosa. We didn’t plan an itinerary, had no agenda and just made ourselves available for people. The quality and depth of the friendships we developed in a short amount of time was something we hadn’t experienced before. Even with people we‘d been around for years. Not having a schedule and being away from all material possessions felt liberating - it left room for the important stuff. If it wasn’t for little Aubrey I could’ve seen us living in a van for an extended period of time. Australia was truly amazing! Consistent surf, white sand beaches, perfect bluebird days - you get the picture - all the Aussie cliches are true.
I vividly remember the feeling I had walking over the threshold into our New Zealand home. Instead of a sense of belonging and peace, it was like a heaviness settled upon us. The unfinished renovations immediately began to nag and a few weeks in the lack of community and like-minded people surrounding us really became apparent. Don’t get me wrong - New Zealand is amazing, but we felt a bit ruined for it. Like we had left the promised land to return back to Egypt. Anyways, just before New Years, we booked one-way tickets to Australia for May 2018. We gave ourselves a five-month runway to finish renovations, declutter our stuff and put remaining valuables in storage. We told our friends, family and online community we’d only be gone for six months. You know, just see how we go. Deep inside I think Dan and I both knew we most likely wouldn’t be back. I don’t think even now we are fully admitting this to ourselves. I know just thinking about it gives Dan a knot in his stomach.
Sitting here writing this, it's been a little over three months since leaving home, one of which was spent in Bali (I will write a separate blog post on this soon). On the 7th of July, we took a six-month lease on a two bedroom apartment in Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. After not having our own place for just over two months we were both looking forward to a bit of stability. Despite being a lot smaller, our New Zealand home is rented out for the same price. It was unfurnished when we took the lease and we haven't really bothered to pack it full of furniture. Just the essentials - we like it this way! We still don’t have a dining table or a proper lounge set up, and our mattresses are laying on the floor. I think my favourite part of the house is the sunny kitchen. I spend a tonne of time in there. It’s 150m to the beach, and if Dan sticks his head off the side of the balcony he can catch a glimpse of the surf. This definitely isn’t a good thing for his productivity as he’s constantly ducking out for a “quick” surf.
Due to the warmer weather, there seems to be a lot more tropical fruit in comparison to New Zealand. It's currently winter (August) and it feels about as warm as New Zealand in December. It’s not quite Hawaii, but watermelons, pineapple, mangoes, papaya, custard apples, dragon fruit and passionfruit all grow well and are therefore pretty affordable. I can’t wait for mango season at the end of the year! My mouth starts watering just thinking about it. I do miss the New Zealand apples, pears, kiwi fruit, feijoas and stone fruit though. For our fresh produce, we've been going to the Currumbin and Burleigh markets. The prices seem to be comparable to the supermarket except it's either spray free or organic. Plus it’s a good feeling supporting friendly local businesses who directly benefit from your purchases. If you go late they offload all their over ripe fruit and vege to you! Dan was chatting to one of the growers at the market who previously sold directly to Coles Supermarket. They paid them 40 cents per kilo of bananas and then, in turn, sold them for $3.00 per kilo. Thank goodness for the markets because in contrast to New Zealand the organic stores are ridiculously overpriced! We only really buy a couple of things on special there each week. Another thing which made the move much easier is Woolworths (we call it Countdown back in NZ). It’s pretty much identical and stocks a lot of the brands we know and love, including the Macro brand. The last few weeks we have been trying to reduce the amount of packaged food we buy so that means building up our jar collection and shopping more at bulk stores.
One of the first things we noticed moving here is the poor tap-water quality. Water on the Gold Coast contains high amounts of chlorine and fluoride and you can really taste it. One time I left tap water in a sealed jar and upon opening, it tasted and smelt like I was drinking pool water. I felt constantly dehydrated and loathed the thought of sculling a glass of water that didn't scrap the back of my throat. Showering made my skin feel dry and after washing my clothes, they felt crispy and hard. I hate to admit it but initially, I resorted to purchasing bottled water from the supermarket - bad for the environment and bad for your wallet. I considered purchasing refillable spring water bottles but it worked out at about 70 cents per litre and just didn’t seem sustainable. I’ve also heard they heavily filter the water which removes most of the life-giving minerals anyway. Water that contains the right properties, including a balanced range of minerals, is readily received and absorbed into the body for cellular hydration. Having more minerals also means it's alkalising. Water should hydrate you right!? I have done a lot of research and hands down the best solution is a Zazen Alkaline water system. My chiropractor recommends them and so do most health food stores and health practitioners in Australia. The Zazen Alkaline water system has more electrolytes than sports drinks. It also costs us about 5c per litre! Click here to get 10% off your Zazen water filter.
Upon moving here we were lucky enough to collaborate with Honda on their 2018 CR-V. It’s amazing! Heaps of space for family beach days down country and is still super economical for cruising around town. One of the reasons we were originally attracted to it was because it is one of the few cars that’s PETA approved in that it doesn’t contain any leather.
This month I made a video about homeschooling. In the video I talked about how we don't really know what we will be doing in six months time and therefore it suits us to be able homeschool. Rather than wait till Beth is five years old I have already started the process proces. I've signed up to Whole Beings, a holistic online membership providing monthly content for you to go through with your children at home, at your own pace. I have also started attending a number of homes school meet-ups, including one done by Whole Beings. Beth's been loving it and it's also been a great way for me to connect with other mums.
Well that's all that's been happening at my end! Make sure you keep up with what we are doing on my YouTube channel and instagram accounts @sarahlemkus @danlemkus
Will do my best to update you all again soon.