I grew up (mostly) on a farm in rural Victoria. I say mostly because early on my parents divorced and so childhood was split between Dad on the farm and Mum in the nearby town. Despite the coming and going it was a pretty smooth childhood full of a lot of love… And perhaps the weekly packing of bags is what gave me an insatiable passion for travel. But that’s another story!
In between all the coming and going was one very special lady. My grandma – Dot. She lives on the property adjoining my Dad’s farm, so growing up she was just a short walk over “the paddock” away. I spent a lot of time over there with Dot. In her cheery farmhouse kitchen, learning how to cook, or in the garden learning how to plant.
Last week I flew down for her 85th birthday. But mostly to spend some time with her. Dot is one of that rare breed born with a natural gift for hospitality and a genuine joie de vie. She also has a fascination with each and every person on earth and an incredible ability to make conversation with anyone. I once watched as she struck up conversation with a heavily made-up goth whom she was sitting next to on a train. She instigated the conversation by complimenting the person on their make-up and clothes, said how interesting they looked and sure enough their icy façade was completely disarmed and they chatted happily until at the end I’m pretty sure Dot knew their grandparents!
Her house, garden and the surrounding district hold so many happy memories for me. There is a beautiful sense of belonging I get from being there (six generations of my family have been born in the area). And the countryside is seriously beautiful. A natural basin valley apparently created by a giant meteor millions of years ago with farms covering the valley floor and hills of eucalypt forests. Dot’s house is up towards the top end of the basin. From her front verandah you can see all the way down the valley. So beautiful. And there’s all the little things about her place that make it wonderful. The combination of English garden landscaping overseen by the big scraggly but beautiful eucalypts. The farmyard strewn with old farm machinery and evidence of a bygone era. And her house is an old Australian charmer with a bullnose verandah, a polished board hallway from front door to back and historically there was a fireplace in every room… Her house smells like a combination of lavendar, stewed peaches and burned toast. I just love it.
But it wasn’t always this way you know. When I was young I just took it all for granted. And when I was a teenager I flat out loathed it and couldn’t wait to leave. Then slowly it called me back and now, having been away for a while … I’m in love!
Each morning during my visit I walked down “the lane” to the letterbox and back which is a couple of kms each way and just couldn’t get over the beauty of it all. My brain started pulling up bits of long forgotten poetry to describe what I saw before me… Like “I mark how the dark green gum trees match the bright blue dome of the sky”. – Henry Lawson – New Life, New Love.
So at this point I bet you’re wondering where this is going yes? Hang in there and enjoy the ride. Relevance coming when you least expect it!…
I was reflecting during one of my morning lane walks how travel is an excellent antidote to taking a place for granted. You’re seeing the scene in front of you with fresh eyes, instead of not seeing it anymore.
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
And isn’t it different how you describe something you’ve marvelled at for the first time compared with if you see it everyday. Most likely it doesn’t seem marvellous anymore. Right?
So now, finally I’m getting all relevant on ya! …Think now about your business. Do you describe it as though it’s a mystery and a marvel? As though you’ve never experienced it before? As though it’s an exotic new solution for whatever you’re looking for? I bet you don’t. I bet you take yourself, your skills and your service for granted.
Why not lift your head, pause and take a little holiday on the shores of your skillset. Pretend you’ve never been to this “island” before. What do you see?
I love to travel. I love the new, mysterious and marvellous. If you’d like me to visit your business “destination” and write you some scintillating “travel” words then get in touch. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go at a moments notice!
Bon voyage as you sail into your own exotic wonderfulness!
LEONIE ORTON is a business writer and marketer.
She extracts your thoughts, gives them structure
and then converts them into words that do their
job pretty darn well. Find out more about her here.
Connect with her on Facebook & Twitter.
The beautiful Country Lane watercolour painting used as the featured image is by Fagan Studio.