Australian children’s book author, illustrator and visual storyteller. I weave magic, creativity and fun into all I do.

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Pen to Digital: The Six Month Checkpoint

I’ve just reached the six-month mark of my move to NSW. A big life change from living the first 31 years of my life bouncing around regional Victoria with a brief stint in Melbourne. Now you might be thinking I am excellent at keeping track of big life changes, but in reality, I have my six-month house inspection coming up, and the email reminder was a good time to reflect and, in my case, manically clean.

I didn’t expect the time since I moved to Wollongong, a South Coast city about an hour from Sydney, to go so quickly. I still struggle to find my way around, I’m often corrected (gently, of course) to the correct pronunciation of suburbs, and I’m slowly working my way through finding my favourite foodie spots.

When I called Ballarat home for 10 years of my life, I didn’t think there would come a day when I wouldn’t be there anymore. I arrived for uni, met my husband, started businesses, volunteered, and solidified myself into a cosy little life. I literally wrote and illustrated my first 5 children’s books about the place! I was that committed.

However, life and more specifically business had other plans. My husband reached a pivotal point in his business, a company we previously owned together, and he made the decision to close it down. Through that, we decided to change our lives even more and move out of state. We saw it as a great opportunity to change our identities and flee from our past mistakes.

I kid of course!

Despite it feeling like we were making a million life decisions all at once, you know in your heart when it’s time for a change, and I wanted to see what life would be like outside of a puffer jacket 11 months of the year.

My husband Anthony said he’d follow me anywhere I decided to go, bless him, and I chose Wollongong. I mean of all the places in the entire world, but sometimes you just know where you need to be. I had visited friends who had moved six months before me and loved it. The beaches, rainforests and warm weather won me over quickly.

Moving interstate is so much work, I won’t lie. We packed up our house and a commercial office within a month and through twisted fate, I got a cold that left me bedridden right in the middle of it. Then we arrived at our townhouse rental to confused painters and had to hold off unpacking most of the house while they repaired anywhere that had tape. There was tape on all but two walls.

I didn’t take these moments of unfortunate circumstances and their timing to heart, well maybe a little piece of me questioned my own sanity. I’m here now settled in and it makes for an interesting story.

I spent the first few months being a tourist in my own city, to be honest, I still feel that way. Everything is new, exciting and I mainly have no idea where I’m going. Kind of like my life half the time.

I joined a Facebook group as soon as I landed, adeptly named Wild Women of Wollongong. Full of like-minded women from all walks of life in the Illawarra region, they have a whole bunch of events, organised by its members.

To continue broadening my local circle of friends, I jumped onto Bumble BFF, not to be confused with the strictly dating side but I did get a good laugh when I told Anthony I was on there, looking for just friends of course!

Since the six months have passed I often check in with myself on how much I enjoy being here. Do I love it? Am I glad I made the move? This introspection often happens on the beach normally at sunset while Gracie, my cavalier, eats copious amounts of seaweed.

My answer is always a resounding yes.

Not that it hasn’t been hard, lonely, frustrating and everything in between but because I feel like it’s right where I’m meant to be.

If you’re also contemplating a move or a big life change, then this is your sign.

Again, I’m kidding!

Nothing besides being internally ready for change could have gotten me to move, literally or metaphorically. Like the changes I’m planning in my business, I feel it brewing but I haven’t quite nailed down what it looks like yet.

I’ll know when I’m ready, it might be another six months of planning but at least I have my house inspections to remind me of time passing.

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