Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dealing with all the stuff

Barely eight weeks until Christmas. My early plan had us running the house on minimal stuff come Spring, so we could more easily assess the move.

While we've shed ourselves of some, the stuff lifestyle runs strongly in my family. Neerav has a great post "Too much stuff: Consumption is not a way of life" where he comments :
When you buy a bigger home to accommodate your stuff, you pay higher taxes, higher heating bills, bigger cooling bills, a bigger mortgage, plus whatever the upkeep costs are for the stuff itself.
So what to do? Tonight I will decide which of my shoes I really don't need anymore. That will be a great start. Perhaps get those spare cables onto eBay as well? Brilliant. Then I need a reward - I wonder what that will be?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh crap!

What the heck have I been thinking? It is October and we're still in Sydney. Still no schools chosen. Still got a house full of stuff that isn't going to come down with us.

Kids have just gone back to start the fourth & final school term of the year. That gives us about nine weeks to get it sorted and underway. Wondering about how long we can afford to pay rent in two cities & how much petrol we'll burn on the mighty Hume Highway?

At least the road is almost entirely dual carriageway now. That will help.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How I lost 6 weeks without even trying!

It is hard to believe, now that I look it up, the last entry here was nearly six weeks ago!

What progress has been made on the move? Precisely none. Nothing physically, at least. The news continues to spread - reactions continue to vary. This past school holidays we were planning to head down for a few days and check out some schools - but sudden car trouble spelt a rapid end to those plans.

A wonderful friend has sent us up the guide to schools in Victoria - but somehow I haven't even taken a look inside yet. Other priorities, more urgent, more day-to-day press in and leave no room for this important, but not urgent bigger picture.

So what now? Well my big plan was to begin shedding 'stuff' throughout the winter. Winter is but days away. There's plenty of things around that I need to eBay. None will be coming with us.

After that, the plan is to seriously reduce our stuff into the Spring, culminating in a garage sale that leaves us with a functional quantity of belongings for our remaining days in Sydney.

Then there's the final give or chuck session before the move, which is looking like late January 2010.

Of course in the mean time there's extra money that will need to be saved for moving costs. Brushing up my earning ability so that there's more coming in as soon as possible once we hit the ground in Melbourne. Deciding on schools, enrolling, finding a place to live, fixing the car issues that are ongoing, the lists does seem to go on - and that's just the short list I can come up with at four in the morning!

None of this touches on recent events here in Sydney - the sudden passing of a friend of ours that brings life into sharp focus. Perhaps next time?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

What does the title mean, Bling to Swing?

This is no Seachange. No Treechange. What is it? I tried to encapsulate the change by reference to the fundamental character of the cities ... this is hugely subjective of course, but it is all about my point of view after all.

Over the past decade or so the popular culture here has begun to name these big moves in people's lives. Starting with the Sea-change, then to the Tree-change and more besides. Of course the term isn't new, we can trace it at least back to Shakespeare, taken from the song in The Tempest, when Ariel sings :
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Enough of me being pretentious, preachy and just showing off my Googling skills.

In the post "Moomba vs Mardi Gras" I did delve into the differing characteristics (at least the widely held ones) of Sydney and Melbourne that lead me to the title "From Bling to Swing." We're hoping to be more in touch with the, dare I call it bohemian, lifestyle that Melbourne appears to offer.

So, about the byline then?

When I asked, on Twitter, what this blog should be called I received some really great responses. Some really smart-arsed ones as well! However the one that stood out immediately was from @lelak : "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Yarra"

What a terrific encapsulation of our move away from the frantic, property obessed Sydney lifestyle to embrace the city with the upside down river.

Now all we need is a plan and some action.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moomba vs Mardi Gras

When hearing the news of our move, many people ask "why?" Which, I suppose, is a fair enough question. By way of an answer (because how can you answer that quickly?) I tend, at this time, to talk about the different types of cities Sydney and Melbourne are.

Can I really speak to the differences between two cities having only ever lived in one of them? Not really, which is why this post is tagged 'myths.' I intend to explore the myths of Sydney and Melbourne along our journey.

Sydney is often accused of being overly concerned with appearances. With a harbour like we have, can this come as a surprise? Sydney is all go, go, go. Chaotic, unplanned. If you will - in Sydney it is all about the Bling Bling. Do I believe this about my home (and birth) city? Perhaps, there's plenty of evidence around if you care to look for it - however we don't really run in those circles.

Or do we?

On to Melbourne. The pace is said to be slower than Sydney. Everyone, yes everyone has to follow an AFL team, at least nominally. Often international musical acts seem to perform more dates in Melbourne than anywhere else in the country. From what we've seen in our visits the city seems a little more Bohemian, which would suit us. The city is somewhat planned, public transport is, well perhaps not better but different!

Melbourne is a city that could put on a regular 24 hour Science Fiction movie marathon for some years - in Sydney the best we could get was a single 12 hour event. Even then the residents complained so much about the cinema that eventually it was shut down and turned into apartments. Long live the Valhalla.

In summary, I usually say something along these lines "Melbourne seems to be more like our kind of people." This gets nods of agreement, by and large, whether from politeness, understanding or wisdom. Doesn't really matter. We'll find out, soon enough.

Test Post

Testing the iPhone app lifecast

Posted with LifeCast

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Reactions to the move

Fascinating to me are the reactions of people to the news. Especially in light of the dramatically different reactions our move is causing compared to some close friends of ours - but more on that later.

It seems to me so far the reactions have been very positive. This should not come as a surprise, I would think, for most people. While some friends have said they'd be sad to see us go, they also agree that it is an adventure and one worth taking. Some agree wholeheartedly with the move - "it will be good for you", they say. I agree.

My own family have been a little less enthusiastic. To be fair, I had always been a great one for dreaming big dreams, talking big talk and being a little shy on the follow through. They know me well - or at least they know who I used to be well.

Every day, in every way, I keep getting better and better.

Better at following through with plans. Better at doing things on my to-do lists. Better at throwing things away (I have great room for improvement here!)

A cousin I spoke with today at a family christening, S., has lived in a few places around the world. She has lived notably in New York and Melbourne. When I asked S. why she was now living in Sydney, the answer was so that her kids would grow up being connected to their extended family. What a great answer. Fortunately for us I think our kids have had a good deal of that experience. Not the best, perhaps, but they are aware of being connected to a greater mob, so I think we can check that box.

So what of other reactions? Well our good friends have moved out of Sydney to a regional area. A large family with four kids and a few pets, the move was - interesting. While we were (I hope) very supportive, others have not been so. Especially their families - on both sides - have been downright unpleasant. Which is really sad.

The reasons center around family responsibility. Who will be looking after their parents? Up until now these wonderful people had been taking on a caring role of their own parents - but they are not only children! Are the siblings scared of having to take over? Feel that it is not their responsibility? Who knows - but these are some of the adverse reactions that can come up.

How have your loved ones responded to you moving away? How have you dealt with those reactions?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

So it begins

A few days ago I dropped a bombshell on my wife - yes, we can move to Melbourne.

It took about ten minutes of convincing her that I had finally caved in. I had been holding out for a very long time.

In fact pretty much all the time we've been together, if her side of the story is to be believed. My side of the story is that I have only become aware of her desire to move to Melbourne in the past few years.

Moving has been quite a traumatic experience for me, those few times I've had to do it. Yes, I am a bowerbird, a collector, a hoarder if you will. There is a deep relationship between me and my stuff. Moving house seems to involve getting rid of stuff. See the problem?

Well now is my time to change. Eliminate all of that stuff that ties me down. Motivated by a post over at Get Rich Slowly, Cheap World Travel and the related Simplicity Movement I am embarking on a journey that, frankly, scares the hell out of me.

My wife, however, is excited beyond words - and that makes it all worthwhile.