I’m totally inspired by people who chase their dreams.
For 10 years my friend Jo dreamed of buying a block of land, building a little place of her own, and being self-sustainable.
She recently took the plunge, buying land north of Gympie to turn her dream into a reality. I asked Jo if she’d share her journey as it’s one that I hope to follow myself one day….
What is your dream?
To live close to nature, be off-grid and grow as much of my own food as I can.
You looked at intentional communities but decided in the end to just buy your own land, why is that?
I was really looking for a sense of community. As a single woman there’s only so much I can do on my own, in a community you have people to help you and you can learn off others.
I researched intentional communities and stayed at a few of them to experience that way of living. What I found was a lot of politics. If you fall out with members of the community things have the potential to turn quite sour. So I decided I was better off trying to do it on my own.
I knew I wanted land and wanted to be mortgage free, but I didn’t have a lot of money. I wanted the land to be accessible by good roads, and no more than an hour from the coast.
I went to stay at an organic farm share one day near Kin Kin, and saw a little sign nailed to a tree that said ‘land for sale’, I rang the number, and the rest is history.
What is your block of land like?
It’s a corner block, 1.3 acres, there’s natural bush, a stream and a small dam. I found a removal home and had it relocated to my block on the back of a truck. It’s a 3 bedroom, timber framed house with an iron roof. I’ve spent the last 8 months working on it, and I have to admit it has been really hard at times.
There were moments when I wished I could have walked away – but with amazing support from my new neighbours, and just trusting that I’m in the right place – it’s somehow working out.
My wonderful neighbours have turned out to be the community I was looking for – and they’ve helped me with my renovations; one neighbour put up my star picket wire fence for two cartons of beer. Another put up my garden shed and made me a concrete feature path to my front steps in return for some home cooked dinners.
I’ve stripped every room of wallpaper, ripped up carpets, removed tiles, painted tiles – all on my own. I had the unexpected expense of having to get a new roof because the house removal company sent out subcontractors that messed up the roof so it was no longer waterproof.
It’s been a big learning process and I’m really fumbling my way through. It’s been a bigger money pit than I had planned because of all the unexpected expenses. I find myself wondering how I’m going to find the money to finish it off. Dealing with dodgy tradesmen hasn’t been much fun either.
I’m on tank water and my black and grey water is treated and then sprayed back onto my land. I’m on mains power at the moment but will one day move off-grid completely.
I love the little garden I’ve built and it makes me so happy picking fresh veges and herbs, and there are lots of birds and wallabies around.
Has it all been worth it?
I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else now – it was the right time and everything fell into place.
I’ve made new friends, my garden is growing and I would love to get some chickens. One day I will put a small cabin at the back of my block so I can rent it out to generate some money.
There aren’t a lot of jobs around here, but I have a small business idea that involves a food truck…. there are ways and means and I know I will have to get creative when it comes to making money here. At this stage of my life I don’t want to work for someone else.
What would you say to other single women who might dream of escaping the rat race?
Start looking. You never know what will show up, but you need to start looking. Then you need to be brave and take the leap when the right opportunity presents itself.
I was craving the simple life. My marriage broke down and the last few years have been really challenging. I wanted to meet real people, and needed an uncomplicated, simple life.
What I’ve learned is when you live being true to yourself, it will all work out. The unknown is scary, but by some miracle it all works out.