Monday, June 6, 2011

Theory into practice.

When I was growing up, my parents would escape to a small beach shack on Curtis Island, off the coast of Gladstone. I didn't particularly like fishing and all my mates were back in town and I found it bloody boring to be honest. My mum would always tell me despairingly that I didn't know how lucky I was and she was dead on. At least then. As I got older I appreciated it more and more, the space to explore, the solitude, eventually even the fishing.

So much so that today Curtis Island is still one of my favorite places to visit, even though it has changed and the island doesn't have the same freedom to roam around in that I had when I was a kid. I still try and get back there as much as can and it is one of the main reasons that we searched for, found and bought Lantanaland.

One of most evocative memories of the island was the generator at the nearby shop. A loud diesel, it would thump away powering the rental flats until the curfew at ten pm. As it died the silence would echo and wash over you. I used to try and stay awake just for that moment, sitting in the dark, hearing the silence, before it would be filled by all the small noises, the crashing of the waves if there was a swell, the wind in the trees, the insects and the animals.

Fast forward to 2006. I had been living and share housing in Brisbane for ten years. Now I know that Brisbane is not New York or Tokyo. But the mental walls were closing in. I enjoyed the community that we had around Red Hill and I had my chooks and garden, but I felt cramped. The neighbors closest were loud and had no concept of a working week or sleeping at three am. And just in the back of my mind was the thought of a kid growing up there, unable to enjoy any of the things that I had when I was growing up. It was not a nice thought.

So we bought Lantanaland and have been on a journey that I have enjoyed every second of. My life is quite a bit different, milking cows and making cheese and building things that would hopefully still be there when I die. Much more fun than three tradies on a ice binge. Still in the back of my mind was the thought of what it might be like to have a kid here. Every time kids came round and got to have a go at milking the cows or petting the chickens I got a little taste. Good fun, but all in the theoretical.

Until now. Come December I won't be thinking about raising a kid in Lantanaland. I will be! I'm looking forward to it an amazing amount actually. I realize that he or she will bitch about milking the cows just like I did about fishing and they'll probably want to play Xbox 22 rather than weed the garden, but the joy is that they'll have the space to choose, to think and to grow, as much as they like.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Location:Virgin airlines.


  1. Some of my favorite childhood memories were of you and I and the motley crew of friends that we had, all trooping over on the ferry to stay in your beach house. I learnt to ride a motorbike there with you and Paul. Spent hours shifting through the mudflats to find tiny creatures , built late night bonfires and ran for miles along the empty stretches of beach. It was ours to command and the freedom was intoxicating. I find it no coincidence that we both live in (within 30 mins of each other) a bucolic bubble. We tasted the good life early John. It's hard to go back after that. I will always be grateful to you and Allan and of course the ever lovely Barb for those moments of childhood bliss.

  2. Ahhh, just beautiful. If only your little one could be born there in the peace and quiet :) I'm sure you'll have just as much fun teaching them about the techo indoor stuff, and cooking and touch footy and helping them to also discover their own 'things'. I agree, what a blessed life they already have- great parents and a wonderful home. x

  3. Your kid will be pretty lucky. There wouldn't be too many kids who wouldn't love having that as a backyard to play in, although you may have to flatten a section for a cricket pitch / footy field. Your kids will have the best of everything, all the benefits of a city, but a wonderful haven away from it. I couldn't think of a better way to grow up.