Why I moved to Byron - The Joy of Missing Out

Posted by James Bennett on

Last April, driving on a winding unmarked road, in the absence of any street lights, we arrived at Turntable Creek to join a 50th birthday celebration. At the end of the narrow driveaway stood our host's home, surrounded by the gum trees and thicket of forest on both sides, a glimmer of the stars and the moon.

Upon arrival, what had struck me the most was the vast silence, an absence of the buzzing voice of electricity. Jacqui and John welcomed us with serene smiles. As I stepped into their world, I couldn't help thinking this is not a retreat; this is a treatment of life. We quickly joined other guests around the fire; I noticed the anxiety I had wrestled with over the past few years was dissipating from my body. 

For the first time in a while, I woke-up to a chirping bird song and not an alarm. The morning revealed a rainforest entrance to the right of the house. A wallaby bounced off merrily, as I let out a sound of excitement. Suddenly my cup of morning coffee tradition went out of the window. Instead, I embraced an offering of a homemade warming herbal concoction called jamu; it was homegrown turmeric and ginger.

"Thank you for this; I would have never had the time to make this in Melbourne." I uttered in gratitude.

My eyes started searching for the nearest neighbours, nowhere to be spotted, unlike the fenced-off space of my Melbourne home. I felt surrounded by nature, wonderous and little again, liberated by the expansive simplicity of the verandah view. We shared long walks on the 26 hectare property, grazed on slow-cooked meals and homegrown veggies. The green of our surroundings and on our plates fuelled a rediscovery of my zest for life. We laughed and danced without any immediate need to go anywhere else except stay in the present moment. So this is JOMO

At the end of our weekend, our hosts' parting gift was the proposition of a new home,  living in a studio on their property.

The seed planted.

I stepped out of the sanctuary and returned to my home in Melbourne. Old feelings of being unsettled bubbled to the surface. Wide awake at midnight, I willed myself to revisit my weekend experience and observe feeling lighter.

This precipice marked the realisation that slow equals flow and the way to attain this is to go back to living as close as I can to nature.

I wrestled with the thought of requiring more time to plan my interstate move. A parcel arrived in May from Jacqui containing a piece of skin a snake had shed at their home. It was time for metamorphosis. Disarming the why not's like job security, I understood I was ready to leave the familiar and embark on a project to rewild myself in a new community of like-minded people. My plan to move to the edge of Byron hinterland started hatching.

After downsizing, later in October last year, I started living in my new Byron home.

Every single day, I wake up grateful, knowing that slowing down can make you go faster.

Growing and moving to the rhythms of nature, instead of being caught up in a slip-stream of seeking out excitement is the leap of faith this move required.

Living per my choice and being (em)powered by nature, means I have started recalibrating my whole being.



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