As a wedding and fashion photographer, Byron Bay seemed to be an obvious choice being one of the biggest wedding destinations in Australia but why would I leave family, friends, a well-established photography business, and our beautiful home after a 7 day holiday in the area? Taking your two children, husband, two dogs, cat, life and worldly possessions on a wild trip from Melbourne to Byron Bay…
Was it worth it and why did I do it?
I am originally from Ireland (for those of you who are new around here) and I have had a yearning to go back one day, but it’s so bloody cold! And we had no intention of moving from Melbourne, repeatedly rated the worlds most liveable city, until winters eve last year when we decided to go on a small family get away from the Victorian cold to Byron Bay.
I remember thinking ‘this is the life‘ while I was chilling by the pool and wondering how the hell was I wearing a bikini in winter! We couldn’t help ourselves during our trip, we soaked up the sun each day, pondered life in the beautiful coastal towns, explored a Steiner school in Mullumbimby for our kids and fell in love. It was like a fairy-tale and before we left we put our kid’s names down ‘just in case’. Soon after we went for lunch in Mullum amongst locals who were so friendly and chilled, while I was stressed and screaming at my girls to behave as they ran amuck. It dawned on me that this was not the mother that I wanted to be, or the person that I wanted to be. I assessed myself, successful yet stressed and living a mediocre life while looking at these happy, vibrant, healthy, alternative local families. I had everything in Melbourne but I wasn’t happy. I wanted more, but I realised that it wasn’t ‘stuff’ that I yearned for, it was to get more out of life. To feel like me again, to bring up my girls, loving life, and stress-free.
So we decided to give it a go and once and never questioned ourselves because if we did we knew we could talk ourselves out of it. We went home, put our houses up for sale, bought a home beside the Steiner School and 6 months later had made the move. Within days of coming to Mullumbimby, the difference in my children was huge, in all of us. We now very rarely have the TV on, only for special family movie nights as they never ask for it. I started taking surfing lessons, which are so empowering, I love that feeling of being wild and free. I used to see myself not doing the things I would have done when I was younger since I had become a mum. Screw that, I want to be a role model to my girls so I am getting out there and trying new things, I even did a break dancing class last week! Every week we meet more beautiful local families in this, possibly the most beautiful region of Australia.
So many people have said to me “wow you’re living the dream, I wish I could do that”. Why couldn’t you? My favourite saying is “where there’s a will there’s a way” and it’s so true. I liked my life in Melbourne but I didn’t love it. I LOVE my life now. I feel more at home here in a few months than I did throughout 10 years in Melbourne. I thought there was something wrong with me as I wasn’t happy there even though I had everything I could ask for. Was I being ungrateful? Did I just have to get used to it?
A friend once suggested to me that it’s tough because I had such a fun life growing up, full of adventure, travelling the world and partying like there was no tomorrow, that it would be hard for me to settle down and live a normal life. She’s happy that she has always lived a normal life and is grateful and content in her life now as a result. It made me really think, shit this is it. If I didn’t have so many crazy adventures throughout my life, would I be happier now? Did I just need to overcome my feelings and stop thinking there must be another way to live.
Showing the courage of taking that leap and moving our entire life from the perfect little bushy town of Eltham to the shores of Byron Shire has reinvigorated me, reminding me that I want more from life than just work. Being an adult, a wife, a mother and a businesswoman doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice the excitement this world has to offer. There is far more to me, to my life and it has only just begun.
Thank you Byron Bay