I am a philosopher. I think deeply and often in a more logical than emotional way about reality, values, life, things and people - to find a fundamental and permanent understanding, much like a compass, to guide me in life. To me, philosophy is about one’s private relationship to reality and nature, rather than a diversional, after-dinner game of argumentation.
I first visited Zeehan on my first cycle-tour in Tasmania, in 2005. I liked Zeehan, there are so many places to walk in quiet meditation. I looked at all the cheapest blocks in Tasmania and I chose Zeehan. It turned out to be a very good choice.
I would like to encourage other women to do hard, sweaty, dirty, strenuous work, and to become muscular and strong, and to do these jobs alone and unsupported. Women can lift heavy stuff. Don’t ask the bloke nearby. Get your own hands dirty. Fix your own toilet. Fix your own car. Be sole owner-builders. Of course you can do these things if you are determined, disciplined, focused and don’t try to fit into the crowd. I think my own long history of being a loner, just doing my own thing, thinking logically and reasonably as much as possible, helped me greatly here. I try to solve all my own problems, as much as I can. Financial literacy and discipline is also very important.
In late 2014, construction commenced of my off-grid eco-hut, a tiny house of about 40 sqm on ¼ acre block. It has basic 12v DC solar power, a composting toilet, rainwater tanks, solar hot water, gas instant hot water, mezzanine bedroom, greywater bed, and surrounding verandah.
During my architectural internship in 2003, I designed an off-grid eco-hut and it returned to awareness on and off for a decade. I worked on the design for about a year before I decided to buy land. I did lots of study to educate myself on building standards and techniques. With my degree in architectural design, I was experienced enough to do my own building plans. I saved up $4000 in a First Home Saver Account, and bought a cheap block of land in Zeehan for $3,500. I had no formal mortgage. My parents wanted me to have my own home, and supported my project.
I am glad I have my own private shelter, where I can leave or return at any time. I like being able to garden as I like, modify or build whatever I like, without needing permission. I am relieved there is little chance the place will be sold without my consent. I am very glad I don’t have to pay rent or electricity bills. I value having an environmentally-aware house design, oriented to the sun in a cold, wet climate. I have a lot of reused, recycled, op-shop furnishings.
Most of the time, I don’t really notice how much easier I have made my life, because the fit is so subtle. I value having a tiny simple DIY house, instead of a great tomb-like, mortgage-bomb. It is quite Japanese: I have a kotatsu and floor cushion, and a futon-like bed. And two outdoor chairs --- no other furniture. I still love coming home to Zeehan after a trip away to visit my partner in South Australia. All my nerves relax and sigh in relief that I am back home again.
After fourteen years of chosen celibacy to aid in my philosophical endeavours, I decided to explore the possibility of an intimate relationship. I did need quite a bit of encouragement in strengthening my resolve. It is actually extremely difficult for a person habituated to solitude to get used to very frequent interactions. In January 2017, I was very fortunate to be contacted on an online dating website by a quiet, down-to-earth bloke, from South Australia. Paul lives in a small town in South Australia; I visit him about 3 or 4 times a year, for about a month each time. Paul has been extremely patient and easy-going, helping me get over many little stumbling blocks and concerns that he’d be better off finding someone more sociable. We do plan to live together at some point, but we haven’t worked out exactly who is going to move or how it will happen.
Photos By Ninna Millikin and Rebecca Thomson
This project was assisted by Bellendena Small Grants