A Melbourne city girl and the No.2

A Melbourne city girl and the No.2

Photo by Nicolas Boullosa

Leaving many of my worldly possessions and taking just the ‘essential’ items, I arrived in Maryvale Queensland high on hope and eager to tough it out, away from my very convenient and safe city life.

I am head over heels in love and that was a key motivating factor in my decision to leave the city, but also I figured that I should live out the principles in which I believe and try the sustainable way of living that I have been touting tirelessly for a while now.

About our ‘home’…

When Ben and I got to Maryvale, our first priority was to ensure we had a roof over our heads. Ben had purchased a second-hand two room tent from eBay and so we set about putting the tent up and being the female nester that I am, furnished the room with an air mattress (replaced by a double mattress as the air kept seeping out and Ben was no longer sleeping on air but on the ground) and additional layers of blankets and doonas for the wintry cold air that only the night can bring.

On that same first day, the toilet routine was established.

If I needed to do No. 1…

All I needed to do was walk 15 meters away to the nearest bush close to the perimeter of the property, drop my pants and underwear and hope no-one sees my head bobbing over the long dry grass. Not so bad.

If I needed to do the No.2…

I’d hit the toilet ‘jackpot’ because instead of having to dig a hole and shit in it (sorry for the detail, but there’s no beating around the bush with that one) all I needed to do was walk 150 meters to the neighbour’s outdoor drop hole toilet. Very thankful for the neighbour’s generosity, considering that he has saved me from the inevitable embarrassment of someone accidentally stumbling across my human pile of excrement dug in shallow ‘graves’. Oh the shame!

If I needed to have a shower…

As for having a hot shower. Well, that is an extravagance I didn’t expect out here in the wild wild west.

My first shower experience occurred on the third night (and people, I do have showers daily.. just not out here), with the bonfire flaring, my partner Ben having boiled at least seven pots of hot water to pour into the solar shower pack and then having a stop-start shower to conserve water was a bit tricky and time-consuming. Lucky for me it was a warm night, the closest neighbours were 150 meters away and the only way they would see my punani is if they had crept around the massive container and used a pair of binoculars.

After finishing up (in which my partner had to help out because I didn’t quite get the gist of using the shower one handed whilst freezing in the cold night air and with shampoo in my eyes) I thought how astonishing it is that we take the simple bathroom for granted. Even without a basin or electricity to be able to use my hairdryer, this shower was up there with one of the most refreshing showers I have ever taken.

Motivated by the need to give a girl some comfort and at the very least, some bathroom privacy, Ben and his brother John decided to build me a very basic shower stall made of metal posts purchased from a local auction, some wire and blue tarp. The boys then filled up the solar shower bag with creek water and let it hang out in the sun for the day so in the late afternoon, when I finally used my shower stall for the very first time, I felt a sense of achievement. How much a city girl can grow without a basin, mirror or hairdryer! Sounds funny when there are millions of poverty-stricken people around the world who live like this on a daily basis (and some don’t have clean creek water like we do) but it’s a sense of achievement to me, a city girl who’s only ever glimpsed poverty through her naive tourist eyes in Philippines, China, Thailand and Indonesia.

So the moral of my story thus far is…

If you never take a chance, you never know what experiences you will ultimately come across. And I have found out that I can adapt to life in the country and am much more of a ‘hippie’ girl than even I would have thought – minus the hairy armpits!

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