You’ve probably never heard of my small island home of Tasmania. It is situated at the tail-end of Australia and is sometimes left off maps, although I can assure you, it really does exist.
To me, Tasmania is an almost magical place, an idyllic isle. It is where I was born, and where I plan to grow old. My love affair with this place has so far never left me. I come from the North West, living my life on a small hobby farm on the side of a valley, surrounded by trees, mountains and rolling hills.
We have no immediate neighbours, save the tall spindly spines of the plantation trees that up until recently surrounded our home. Occasionally, native wildlife such as possums and wallabies wander through our yard late at night. I can often go days without seeing anyone, if I choose.
This is probably why I only spent two years living in the city of Hobart, which although vibrant and liveable, was not quite to my selective tastes of green valleys and blue mountains. For me, living among nature, where blue wrens preen themselves upon the windowsills and mobs of black cockatoos fly overhead screeching and searching for water, makes me feel like I’m home.
Up the back of our property, parallel to the endless rows of plantation trees, is a steep hill with a flat plain; the ‘plateau’, as we call it. It’s high enough for native plants to grow up, and it has an arid alpine soil, where tiny pink flowers bloom but then wilt as soon as they are picked.
When standing on the plateau gazing down and across the valley, you can see our property in one glance. Our white house with its green roof stands in the far corner. The road sweeps round behind and then winds down, deep into the valley. Green paddocks are dotted with the white shapes of grazing sheep. They wander, nibbling on grass, weeds and occasionally blackberries or even thistles.
The tall gum trees of the windbreak shield the front paddock from view. In the winter, after heavy rains, the water pours down from the hill and creates a temporary lake. This pool of murky water then becomes a home for pairs of wild ducks. The shallow lake, with water flowing onto and down the road, has been filled since the first rains of May. It is still home to ducks who fly away if you get too near.
I’m preparing to leave my island for the longest time yet, three months studying overseas and two months travelling through Scandinavia.
I’m most excited about my trip to northern Norway, as I plan to head to Tromso by ferry, to experience the dark polar nights, temperatures below freezing and snow creating a magical white landscape. The evenings will be spent optimistically gazing skywards with the hope of glimpsing the mystical lady Aurora. It will be a landscape in such complete contrast with my own home.
The anticipation for my travels is almost overwhelming and at the same time incredibly daunting as I’m leaving my comfort zone, my safety net. I am however reassured by the knowledge that Tasmania, my familiar mountains, houses and bumps in the road will still be here, waiting for my return.
Featured Image © Jeannie Harris