If you have read my ‘About‘ page you may be wondering how it is I ended up back east. “If I am about to repeat my expedition from east, to south, to west then I must be on the east coast?” Indeed I am, so to bring you up to speed I’ll give you a short history of the places I have called home for the last 5 years ending with my return east.
In 2007 when I was reversing out of my parents driveway in Penrith, NSW, I was heading for Fremantle… well Bicton to be exact. My best mate from high school – Benny. A – had moved there only 6 months earlier after completing his degree in Naval Architecture at a university in Launceston, Tasmania. So, when I started contemplating leaving Sydney for a while, heading west and staying with Ben was one of the first options that popped into my head. It was about as far away from Sydney as you could get, without leaving the country. Plus Ben was there. Someone familiar. My best mate, and freestyle kayaking partner, who had moved away from Penrith 4 years earlier.
I arrived at Ben’s house on Friday the 20th April 2007 after 4.5 days of driving. We unpacked my car pretty much straight away and headed out for dinner to meet up with a friend of his, Rae. We ate fish and chips on the Fremantle foreshore, just around the corner from the famous Little Creatures brewery and pub. Next was a local basketball game with Rae. Afterwards Ben and I left Rae and headed for his mates property, Jodie’s house, where she was having a BBQ. Now you’re probably thinking is this guy going to give me a step my step story of his last 5 years. Well NO! But this night, this BBQ is hugely significant because the people I was about to be introduced to are now, 5 years on, some of my best mates and the people which turned a 10 month stay into a 4 year love affair. To me they are family. WA is home because of them. After all it is the people that make a place… home. They are the reason why “this time… home – my holy place – is in the wind-screen, not the review mirror”.
The majority of these people called Mandurah… well Falcon to be exact, a place I had never heard of, home. I stayed at Ben’s, with his house mate – photographer extraordinaire Arlene – for 6 months. During that time more and more of my weekends were spent 70km south in Falcon, with my new found family. So when it came time to move on from Ben’s Bicton house – Westbury Castle – in October 2007, I decided to relocate to a place called Seascapes, the very next suburb north of Falcon. I was working in Perth at the time, which is 75km north, but the commute was totally worth it, and something I was used to doing in Sydney anyway.
Seascapes sits on a man made island of sorts I suppose. It’s cut off from the main land by two bridges at its north and one bridge at its south. These bridges cross two different inlets, which both feed into an estuary on the ‘islands’ eastern side. On its west was the Indian ocean – my new water park, food source, outdoor shower and ‘live model’.
A little trivia for you music fans. The northern most inlet stars on the cover of the Triffids album, Born Sandy Devotional – Famous for the song ‘Wide Open Road’.
I found a brand new house for rent (well I actually had a pick of half a dozen houses) only 200m from the coast, as the crow flies. It was an absolute bargain. 4 bedrooms, double garage, spa and double shower in the ensuite, great backyard and air-conditioning… all for only $360/week. Plus for the first time in my life, being a kid who grew up in Western Sydney, I could not only smell the ocean – and its salty onshore mist – but hear it from my backyard also.
After living in Seascapes for 2.5 years, during which time I started my own successful business and changed houses just the once, I decided to move closer to the city. I was clocking up over 21 hours of driving each week. That’s almost 1 trip from Perth to Sydney every fortnight. I ended up finding a great little 3/4 bedroom ‘Californian Bungalow’ in Floreat, a suburb 5 minutes north west of Perth’s CBD. I moved in with a friend from Falcon, Jack, the brother I never had, in mid March 2010.
Sadly my time in Floreat with Jack was short lived. After only 6 months I decided to temporarily close my business and relocate back to Penrith, NSW, to finally complete my Bachelor of Design in Architecture. If I left it any longer all the hard work, long hours and sleepless nights spent drawing, model making and super glueing my fingers to every little thing, would have gone to waste. I moved back east in September 2010 after receiving a great job working for Rice Daubney Architects in North Sydney, as their BIM Support Manager. I started the final year to my degree in early 2011 and after two of the most stressful, thought provoking, sleepless semesters of my university career, I was finished.
From that moment my return west, and the sequel to my 2007 solo expedition, was in the planning stage. A little over 6 months on and the official countdown has started.
Watch for my next post for ‘countdown’ details. Tick tock!