For as long as Sean and I have known each other we’ve talked about the leaving Sydney for somewhere closer to nature. It’s been hard to decide where to land – Canada or Australia? Mountains or ocean? Bush or beach? As always, the answer came when we least expected it – with a newborn baby and a global pandemic.

Leading up to HB’s birth, Sean and I agreed to a period of “confinement” (translated from the Chinese, Zuò yuè zi). This meant that for 40 days after his arrival, I didn’t leave the house much. No grocery shopping, no groups of people, no computers. However, within 2 weeks of Hutchy’s birth, lockdown measures were looming in Australia. The infamous toilet paper brawl that made international news happened not far from where we live. One Tuesday night Sean went out to get a few essentials. He returned home with traumatised eyes, and suggested it was a good time for a trip down the coast. Oh, and I should bring whatever I might need for the next month. Just in case.

We drove 5 hours south of Sydney, and sure enough lockdown measures were introduced. Instead of going back to the city we decided we’d stay put and changed our address. We stayed for 6 weeks of bliss, taking little walks on the beach, hanging out with our new little family. It was so good we decided to find a house of our own nearby. After lockdown lifted we returned to Sydney, rented our apartment and then drove south to our new permanent home on the coast.

So, here we are. In paradise. Miles of empty beach north and south. The Great Divding Range to the west. The Tasman Sea to the east. 120 steps to the bush. 200 metres to the ocean. Surrounded by national park. Wallabies and kangaroos milling about. Pods of dolphins play in the surf.

It’s been a good move.