Off-Grid Aussies


Considering I'm married to a woman who lives more deliberately than anyone on the planet, I think a lot about "choice". 

The fundamentals of making a decision between different options is pretty simple. Choosing one available action = one possible outcome. But where things get hinkey for me is weighing the positive consequences against the probable sacrifices. 

It's easy to get caught up in the actual decision making process only to eventually realize that you've ultimately chosen to keep everything the same; which despite being the most obvious life decision is no less risky.


This post is about our friend Michelle who has made a huge life shift since we last saw her and truly understands the battle between positive and negative consequences and sacrifices.



 We woke early in South West Rocks, knowing that we were going to be riding a good distance. Kristen practiced her shadow-puppets while I dodged potholes.




The road conditions have been great so far, especially when getting off the main highway and on to the Aussie-equivalent of FM roads of the USA. We swooped into the small town of Bellingen for a quick breakfast and then headed north to find an American lost to the charms of Australia.

So there is this girl named Michelle that Kristen grew up with in the midwest. She grew up in suburban Westerville, Ohio and now, after several adventures across the globe, she lives completely off the grid in Australia. This is actual text from the driving directions she gave us to get to her home:

"...turn right onto dirt road. It curves sharply to the left and passes over a bridge. Stay straight on the dirt for 8.5 kms after which there will be a gate closing off the road. Go through the gate and stay on that dirt track along the creek to your right..." 

You get the idea. 

After wondering if we had come anywhere close to the right way, Michelle pulled around the bend in her car to guide us the rest of the way. 

Michelle, native-Aussie Conrad, and the lovely Same the dog live in a little slice of heaven in the Australian bush.

Quite a way from any neighbors and even farther away from any towns, they have deliberately set up a way of living that is beautifully back to basics, with a few modern conveniences (crazy to run satellite internet off solar).

I can admit I eat horribly by default. If Kris had her way, we would definitely lead much cleaner lives with a healthier diet. But after the vegan meal that we had on the farm, I think I may be sold. 




Why yes, I will saunter through the woods on a full belly...

These two have relatively normal day jobs, but they don't need to work as many hours due to their low cost of living. Thus, they can spend more time doing stuff like digging swimming holes with their excavator:




The scribbly gum trees are just fantastic. Plus, the name. Winner.

There is a part of me that totally gets this existence. The simplicity is enticing. But going back to the initial thought of this post, there are opposing variables. Living this simply comes with a cost. That being said, Bacon (the dog) would be in heaven. Plus, not to be too crass, but I could pee pretty much wherever and whenever I wanted to on a property that size.

Our lovely hosts:

We were admittedly wrapped up in our moment in the woods. We were jolted out of that peace by the setting sun. The race against the darkness began (after Michelle caught us trying to stuff Sam (the dog) into the trunk... he wanted to go for a ride!).

We made it back into civilization just after dark in the cozy ocean town of Yamba. 

What a day...