What being a tree changer is really like, the good, the bad and the very ugly

Feb 11, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

I wrote recently about my rental journey from the ‘burbs’ to a leafy green area. I was so happy when I spotted the little wooded studio with a massive deck surrounded by beautiful tall trees. It was still pretty close to town and all amenities, but felt like it was way out in the bush. The removal men wheeled down my stuff, in spite of downsizing I still seemed to have lots of stuff, and was aiming to be a minimalist. Hmm, I don’t think that is happening any time soon.

Anyway, over a few hot sweaty days, I set up my little place, with my daughter and her family just up the hill, I felt like I had plenty of space, but still had the security of people nearby. Waking up to the sun rising over the trees, hearing the birds sing and feeling the cool breeze was just bliss. I managed to fit my stuff into a compact one-room studio with a bathroom attached. I enjoyed making it my own space. Sorting out pot plants I gazed up at bananas growing. There is a pool I can use, I had air con for the first time, a dishwasher, and peace and quiet. There were a few blips in the radar though, and as a dear friend reminded me, “you are living in the bush now”. Leeches in the rain, a python on the porch roof, jumping ants that sting like blazes, a huge huntsman spider in the bathroom, and a few mozzies. I’m just hoping the spider doesn’t jump on me when I have a shower. I know I should spray it but feel mean killing them.

I’m on tank water, which comes off a leaf-strewn roof, so it is slightly green. However, I have separate drinking water and my coffee machine is being used a lot. I need to sweep the deck every day as it gets covered in leaves and sticks. I have a macerator toilet (google that, it is scary) but I manage it ok. Every friend who has visited is envious of this idyllic lifestyle, and it certainly is wonderful. However, paradise always has its issues, and as I have mentioned already, some of the little creatures around me need to stay in their lane. Not that I can explain that to them in a way that they understand.

I was a bit of an idealistic hippy in my youth, but found the back-to-basic lifestyle was not quite up there on my hit list. I had loved the idea of self-sufficiency but here I am in a wooden tree house full of mod cons, including internet and air con. Totally happy with the good, the bad, and even the ugly.

Renting can be harrowing for anyone, high-interest rates, landlords and agents who are shonky, and of course, there is the current rental shortage. However, I’m here for the next two years according to our lease, so I am going to just really relax and enjoy my new lifestyle.

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