I remember lying on a fluro green plastic banana lounge chair in the family house backyard at Atkinson’s Dam when I was 13 years of age. Equipped with books, a pen and paper I would settle into the humid Queensland heat on a Saturday afternoon, feeling beads of sweat build on my arms and chest.
I would watch my Mum busy herself around the house doing everything from washing, lifting heavy furniture and planting trees – her favourite pastime – wondering if I should help her. But like a lazy teenager, I didn’t.
I loved that house and yard and to this day miss it. I was upset when my parents left it. Even though I was living in the city, I wanted to visit it when I was an adult. To me, it was my primary family home.
I wanted to be a writer. I’m not entirely sure where this desire came from. I loved reading and in primary school competed with classmates to read the most books. Embarrasingly, I sometimes just sped read them so I could keep up with the nerds.
My writing was a trying as my sun-tanning – patchy and inconsistent. I ended up falling asleep and woke up red with sunburn and only a few lines of text with not a lot of direction or substance. My interest in suntanning was more about wanting to be like my bestie who had dark olive skin.
It was never going to happen – she was part Indian – my ancestry is Dutch. I did not get a glorious exotic tan – I got freckles – lots of them.
I loved growing up in the country! My brother, sister and me spent our free time, riding bmx’s and motorbikes around our property and others. We swam in dams, creeks and lakes.
We ate fresh peas from the pod on a farm, had slumber parties, slide down grass dam walls on cardboard – it was about as much fun as a kid can have.
I wonder if there is another place on earth where I will arrive and think – ‘This is it, this is the PERFECT place, I will stay and live here forever’
Does a perfect place exist? Am I being romantically naive? I am curious to keep travelling and exploring to see if I find a place which gives me an overwhelming sense of home.