Flood-Proof Mum: What’s My Why?

I am still travelling – mostly camping, and currently on the way up to Yellowstone – and have much more limited internet access than I expected, hence the long silence. But this week I have an inspiring story to share with you from Tanya of Flood Proof Mum. Please leave her a comment below, or “like” or “share” the post if you are as inspired as I am 🙂

Fully Flooded | Flood Proof Mum | SustainableSuburbia.net

Why did I decide to start living simply and sustainably?

The funny thing is when I first asked myself this question a year ago, my answer was different than it is now. It probably helps if I explain the context in which I first discovered this concept, and how it has changed my life for the better.

For the past seven years I have lived on a beautiful property in Queensland, Australia with my husband Paul and (at various times) all of our six children and step children. Two weeks after we moved in, and in the middle of some serious renovations, my husband broke his leg on a fall from some scaffolding. The next week, while he was in hospital and I was home with my three children, we had our first flood.

Two metres of water flooded through our home, destroying everything in its path. We did not know the house flooded and were assured that it did not. There were no records of flooding when we checked council records before buying. Needless to say the kids and I were unprepared…we watched the water rise but did not expect it to go inside until it was too late. We saved what little we could and watched from upstairs as the water kept rising. When it had almost reached the second floor (thankfully it has never got that far, but very close) our neighbours rescued us in their boat.

That was the first of our annual floods. Some years we have had two or three. The reason I am telling you this story is not for sympathy by any means. I share this story to justify my anger at my home. Over the years I gave up on it, I felt cursed by it and the inevitability of having to stay here due to our mortgage.

A year ago a chance meeting changed that mindset. I attended a workshop at the Reality Bites Literary Festival in Cooroy and met Rhonda Hetzel, a well known local simple-living enthusiast and successful author of Down to Earth. I bought her book, became addicted to her website, and changed my life around by giving my home a purpose. I have seven acres and put them to great use growing my own organic fruit and vegetables, initially with the ‘why’ to save money.

This has since led to preserving, making meals from scratch, recycling, composting, cheese making, home-made cleaning products…the list, and the resulting changes to my lifestyle, are endless as every week I take on something new.

Harvest | Flood Proof Mum | SustainableSuburbia.net

So, what is my point in explaining all this to get to the answer of why I chose to live more simply? It is simply (haha) that my initial ‘why’ was to save money and promote old fashioned values to my children (who now call me a greenie hippie and I love it). But along the way, what I have come to realise is that the big WHY is because I need to. Doing all of this and looking after my family, my property and the environment has saved me, it has given me (and my farm) the purpose I was looking for, even though I didn’t know I was.

Every day I am proud of my achievements, how far I have come, and how much I still have to look forward to. If I can do this, so can everyone, and the world in which we live will be so much more sustainable.

Thank you Kirsten for letting me share my ‘why’!

Flood Proof Mum | SustainableSuburbia.net

And thank you, Tanya, for sharing your story with us! Now over to you, dear reader – do you have a “why” to share, or any questions for Tanya? Has your home or property every flooded? How did it affect you?

  6 comments for “Flood-Proof Mum: What’s My Why?

  1. Bec
    September 4, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Oh wow annual floods – that would be tricky. I love that you have put your home to work for you and changed your why. That’s awesome!

    • September 5, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Bec. Touch wood if I get through to December then this will be the first year without a flood through the house…bring on El Nino 🙂

  2. September 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Great story Tanya, and a great ‘why’. Mine was simply a case of finally doing exactly what felt right inside. Following my true instincts and turning our lives around because of that. I was also initially influenced by Rhonda Hertzel.

    • September 5, 2014 at 8:25 am

      That’s great Michelle! Rhonda is an inspiration and a national treasure. I urge everyone to check out her blog 🙂

  3. September 6, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Hi Tanya ,
    I love your story and the history behind your change of mindset, and yes the Down to Earth blog has been the catalyst for lots of people.
    Many of the ways we are returning to have been practiced by a previous generation but sadly not everyone has had that background or grounding during their growing up.
    The simple wise ways are the best. Unfussy and easy to implement.
    Keep up your great work Tanya.
    I haven’t visited for a while due to happenings but hope to catch up again soon.

    • September 12, 2014 at 9:51 am

      Hi Alexa, lovely to see you again! Must admit I have been a bit slack with my visits and blogging but intend to be back up and running next week. Love your stuff! And yes, I do think back to another generation with everything I do and I think that is the great appeal for me…stepping aside from the corporate world I work in 🙂

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