One minute I’m a carefree traveller, living for the road – and the next I’m going to buy a house. How does that happen? To me?
It isn’t the craziest idea I’ve ever had – but it’s right up there with hitch-hiking alone in the Canadian winter or wearing brand new boots and thin socks to hike down and up the Grand Canyon. In one day. (Technically, that’s two ideas, which totally makes my point.)
You probably don’t know this, but I was – still am – an Army brat. My Dad was in the Army when I was born, and for the first seventeen years of my life, I moved house – on average – every nine months. Sometimes I even moved country. We were posted to Singapore and Malaysia for two years and lived in four different houses. That’s four different schools.
Normal life was all about packing and unpacking, learning about the new landscape around me, trying to make new friends. And experiencing amazing new cultures and traditions, new people and varied ways of thinking and looking at the world. It would be fair to say that my love of travel was born in this haphazard and sometimes-challenging melting pot of eclectic experiences.
I stopped counting the number times I moved house when I hit 50. Moves, that is.
Spending all my money on travel meant I was unlikely to ever afford a home of my own. To be honest, I was never that sure I wanted to buy. For a start – where would I buy a house that a) I could afford, b) that I’d want to stay in possibly forever and c) wouldn’t suck up all my travel money? The vagabond life was mine for the taking and I’ve been totally happy with that.
The House in the Country
And then, out of the blue – I decided to buy a house! And not just any house. I’m buying the house my mother bought twenty years ago. It’s a small, two-bedroom, century-old Federation style house, in a tiny town in the Victorian country-side, within sight of the Grampians National Park.
When Mum got the house, it was in pretty bad condition. She spent years renovating and rebuilding, working on the garden and interior until she had a lovely home which she adored.
It was a great heartbreak for her when she got sick and had to leave the house. She wanted it to stay in the family, but never really expected it to. The house sat vacant for two years after she died, and was about to be put up for sale when I came up with this crazy idea of buying it.
And I keep thinking of how crazy it is – given its location (4 hours from Melbourne) and the fact that it’s an old house and could be (make that probably will be) the archetypal money-pit. But strangely, the more I thought it through, the more certain I became that this was the right call. The house does need work. But it is structurally sound. Mum did all the crucial renovations when she bought it, so costs are going to be down for the first few years.
But I have big plans for it. Huge plans. Which brings me to my exciting new direction.
Travel is, and will always be, central to my life and will continue to fill this blog. But I’m going to expand the blog to write about my journey with the house, renovation, design and other lifestyle-related stuff. Over the last few months, I’ve re-discovered my love of interior design. On top of that I’ve had to learn a staggering array of new skills (including patience. Seriously, don’t get me started on how long some things take to get organised!).
I really want to share these stories and this extraordinary experience. So starting today, Wandering Kenzie is morphing into a travel and lifestyle blog, with a little foodie stuff thrown in for good measure. You’ll see a few little changes to the Home page, but the good news is that you’ll still get all the travel stories you want, right here. And then some other stuff too.
In the meantime, I have to get back to painting. Believe it or not, my mother painted her ceilings in dark, dark red…