In September 2020, my partner Anya and bought a house.
Normally when we came to South Australia – where I was born and grew up – we rented a holiday house near a suburban beach for a few months, caught up with family and friends, and indulged in our passion for ocean swimming. Afterwards, we then left either for somewhere in Asia or South America before heading back to The Netherlands.
When we arrived in South Australia in February 2020, we did the usual thing and rented a holiday house near a beach for a few months with the intention of afterwards flying to Beijing and catching the train to North Korea. It was all possible then – and seems like another world.
Well, it was another world.
Change and often dramatic change is the only constant in our lives today.
The Covid pandemic arrived and before we knew it, the borders of South Australia were closed along with the borders of Australia – and also, most other countries in the world.
Travel was suddenly rendered impossible.
Our plan B was to drive to remote places in South Australia with our bikes on the back of our old Japanese car along with a small dome tent and supplies and go on long bike rides over the unsealed backroads. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It was a fine way to experience the empty spaces of Australia – a powerful contrast with most areas of the planet these days which are overcrowded and overdeveloped – but after six months or so, with the summer approaching and the days of bike riding numbered, we started seriously looking for a permanent dwelling. There seemed to no end in sight to the Covid pandemic along with a world closed down for any kind of travel.
It was then that we thought of buying a house.
We wanted to be near the coast so we could go swimming, but near the main suburban beaches very little was available and what there was, was very expensive.
So after a while we started looking further afield.
Strange how places that we thought were ‘too far away’ gradually came into view.
That was when we came up with the idea of Normanville – a small town located in a rural area 75 kilometres south of Adelaide. We drove down there, stayed at the caravan park and started looking around. Because it was so far from Adelaide the prices of houses were much cheaper. One thing was for certain: the beach was magnificent: 7 kilometres of sand and clear blue water and dunes and no suburbs, hotels, or development.
We finally found the house where we are now – it was a small place in a community of houses, 60 of them, with farming area on either side and 5 minutes from the beach. The price was good and so we bought it and then spent the summer settling in.
It’s worked out well for us: we can spend the summers here and early every morning go to the beach and swim.
As summer turns to autumn, we can shut the doors, lock the place up and depart. It’s a stop along the way, one we will return to once a year, during the Australian summer.
Last year – when the world began opening up – we went to Spain (followed by Corsica, Finland and Belgium).
We returned to our house last November after a stop in Thailand.
At the end of this month – i.e. this time next week – we will be on a flight to Japan.