Our tree change was wonderful, until we had children

Bianca's family at their Adelaide Hills home. Photo: Supplied
Bianca's family at their Adelaide Hills home. Photo: Supplied 

When we moved to the Adelaide Hills to pursue a simpler life among the gum trees, we had a romantic expectation of hillside living.

It was going to be slow and purposeful. We'd returned to our home state after living in Melbourne for a few years and we were seeking peace and quiet.

We were ready to put down roots. We had all the time in the world. We were also newlyweds with no kids.

At first it was wonderful. We had bonfires, got some chickens and goats, and life was pretty relaxed. Winter was cosy. Summer was cooler than down on the flats. Spring was full of new life. And autumn was the best time of year.

We had uninterrupted views over bushland, koalas mating in our trees, kookaburras would wake us with their song and kangaroos would often bound past our loungeroom windows.

And at night it was pitch black with only the stars to guide us.

We felt so lucky.

Then we got married and had three kids, in quick succession, and everything changed. It felt like we were stuck in hell.

It rained all the time. There were no footpaths for bike riding or pushing prams. And the tight-knit community began to feel claustrophobic. We just wanted to escape.

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Winter was dark and wet. Summer was a constant threat of fire. Spring was soggy. And autumn, while still beautiful, just signified that it was time to clear the leaves from our gutters and drainpipes.

We had to drive everywhere and getting three small children in and out of cars all of the time, often in pouring rain, and navigating narrow, foggy roads was tiresome.

And when it got hot, we'd keep the kids inside as the chickens brought all the brown snakes to the yard. Literally.

As we lived at the top of a gully, surrounded by trees, we had a box of valuables ready in case we had to flee bushfires. It was a constant reminder of the vulnerability of our family.

Then one day one of the chickens got too sick to fix and my husband had to end its life quickly and humanely. It was at that moment that we started to question if "country life" was right for us.

Although we were surrounded by nature, we'd never felt so trapped. And cold, we'd never felt so consistently freezing.

We knew we had to put our house on the market. It was time for a brand new chapter for our family.

We craved the sounds of the city. We wanted streetlights and footpaths. We wanted public transport and good restaurants. We wanted our kids to walk to school. We also wanted to move back into a culturally diverse community.

So we packed up our little house on the hill and got the hell out of there.

I'll never forget our first night in our new home in the inner-city suburbs of Adelaide. It was so light at night and we could hear the sounds of traffic and sirens. The tram rushed past our bedroom window and passengers talked noisily as they disembarked. It was so comforting.

It felt like coming home. And we've never looked back.

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