Robyn & Ross move to lovely Leeton
Ross and I were living in the Blue Mountains where I had started a small personal training studio and he was doing the 60 to 90 minute commute to Rydalmere for his IT job. We started talking about doing a Country Change when we attended the Country and Rural Living Expo in Sydney in 2012. From the information we gathered there we started taking little road trips to different places around the state and developed a feel for what we really wanted, what would be nice and what were things we wanted to avoid. Our plan was to make the move in three to five years.
In 2013 we again went to the Country Living Expo where we met some lovely folks from the Riverina. The Riverina hadn’t been on our radar as it was on the outer edge of the distance we wanted to be from Ross’s sons in Sydney; however Nicola James from Griffith and Peter Kennedy from Leeton were such friendly people and raved about the lifestyle offered in their area. In early October we came down for a long weekend. We instantly fell in love with Leeton. It had to small town feel, extremely friendly people but still the services and amenities we wanted. Griffith too was great, especially the restaurants and wineries! So we went back home to plan for a move in a few years’ time.
Then came October 17 and the awful bushfires. We had had a bushfire plan which included early evacuation, having things packed a ready, etc., however this fire came up so suddenly that within 20 minutes it was already too late. I, Robyn, found myself trapped at the end of a dead-end road with my dog in the car and my horse in the trailer behind me, and Ross was trapped outside, unable to get in and help. Six hours later when I finally escaped I had to drive by burning house after burning house and we both vowed that this would be our last bushfire. Almost 200 homes had been destroyed, many more damaged, and while ours had survived, the trauma of seeing the devastation day after day was overwhelming. Additionally, my clientele in the studio had been decimated by the fires and I had to fold. Our timeline moved way up!
Two days before Christmas we were in Leeton! Ross is telecommuting for his IT job and flies up to Sydney for three days every fortnight. He loves his 10 second commute, loves wearing shorts and t-shirts to work and finds that he actually gets far more done now that he is working from home. The flight to Sydney every other week is shorter than his daily commute used to be and the only traffic he sees is the occasional kangaroo! He can pop up to the post office on his lunch hour or simply sit and enjoy the breeze. I work for Griffith City Council which is a beautiful drive away through vineyards, rice fields and paddocks.
Our Country Change is one of the best things we could have done. Leeton has the friendliest people we have found anywhere. While it is a small town, it has great coffee shops, awesome restaurants and lovely shops. The pace is so much slower and relaxing. It is five minutes to everywhere and you could walk or bike most places, which we sometimes do. The river is ten minutes away where there is a lovely beach that is never crowded. We often go for drives in the countryside to explore different areas. Rosie, the Wonder Border Collie, and Rumble the Super Horse, love it here and are so healthy and happy! We have time to enjoy our lives, see far more of each other and have had more quality of life in the time we have had here than in all the time in Sydney where the commutes, the work and the busyness consumed our days. The townsfolk have been so welcoming and Leeton has an incredible community spirit; everyone is involved in something! We are looking at properties to buy already and the value for money here is incredible! 200 acres and a house for less than a bed-sit in inner Sydney! We are constantly running into people who say they moved here “X” years ago and are never leaving, the love it so much. We see why! We are so glad we came!