Three years ago, I was a tightly wound, anxious ball of stress, living week to week in a shoe box apartment on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. I worked to live, but lived to work. I loved my job, a job outsiders would tell me they would kill for. But on the inside, it was killing me. My life was full of drama. So, instead of continuing to bitch, moan, drink, fall off my high heels and cry, I quit, and made the move to tiny ol’ Tassie – my place of birth, my place of worth and my place of family and old friends.
It was a huge adjustment. I started working part-time, three days per week. I started at 9am and finished at 4pm. What even is that? I hardly call that working … It was a shock to my system. As was wearing nine layers of clothing, two pairs of gloves and thick bed socks with boots, because I am so smart, I timed my move with the mother of all fucking Hobart winters.
Having ample time on my hands, I did not use it wisely. I cooked and obsessively cleaned, and drank a hell of a lot more wine than I even did back in Sydney when I needed to be filled to the eyeballs with piss rather than stress. I had very little responsibility and nobody to answer to, which was extremely confronting and it made me anxious AF.
But, with the help of friends, family and being heavily medicated, I got used to it and slipped quietly back into a life with less drama than an episode of Playschool. Side note: I lived with my cousin, her husband and their now four-year-old when I first moved back to Hobart, so don’t even start with me re: my crush on present day Alex Papps.
I realised pretty early into my move back that I had taken Tassie for granted. Round one of growing up in Hobart, I was born here, and then at age three, moved interstate. Round two, we moved back when I was seven, until age 13. And round three, I was 29. I’m now 32, and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. But when I was younger, I HATED being from Tasmania. We were the nothing state. The little engine that couldn’t even stay attached to its homeland 25 million years ago (Citation needed, I am not a land scientist or whatever). Hearing, “Oh, do you have a scar on your neck from where you had your second head removed?” or “Did you marry your cousin?” and the always popular, “Are your mum and dad cousins?” Haha, very funny, DICKHEAD. Anyway …
When I was in Grade 8, our class was given the task to write a poem about Tasmania. I found it the other day, in a box among letters from friends about who had a crush on which teacher that week. Every single other classmate wrote about how wonderful it was – the flora, the fauna, the waterfalls, the convict stories, the strict gun control. I, on the other hand, wrote this:
In this hole of Tassie, there’s nothing much to see.
A few trolleys, a burnt-out Holden ute, rarely dolphins in the sea.
I sometimes sit and wonder why the hell I’m here, sitting at home watching David Foster advertising beer.
I hate to be so negative, but what I say is true.
The educations up the creek – I’m surprised the cows say moo.
The population is decreasing at an alarming rate,
It’s every man for himself in this disadvantaged state.
We’re proud to say our bargain store is known as Chickenfeed.
Glad we’re paying less for crap, but where’s our football team?
Tasmania: The Holiday Isle it says on our number plates,
But what they really meant to write was, Tasmania: Don’t Come To This State.
Needless to say, I was sent home from school with a note.
I would just like to say a huge SORRY to Tasmania. Grade 8 Kate was a Grade A jerk to you, and I apologise. Tassie is the greatest. The people, the food, the wine – OMG, the wine. I am so privileged to live here, and it becomes even more evident when my friends from “the mainland” visit, and we drink all the wine. I even preempt and own the second head joke when meeting new people who aren’t from here. Yep, there’s the scar, and you can touch it if you like.
When you live somewhere amazing, you take it for granted, so I’m setting myself – and my friends – a challenge, to try one new Tassie thing each week, and share our experiences with those of you who haven’t experienced Tassie yet. And those who have and want to experience it more. It’s not all seafood, wine and cheese – there are PLENTY of bogans named La-a [pron: Ladasha], Nivek (Kevin backwards), and Lakota-Che, but the pros far outweigh the cons. Well, at least I think they do, there are also plenty of ex-cons, I mean, Chopper lived here for a while.
PS: Pack warm for this journey. I’m sitting here with a heater on under the desk, one above my desk, thermal pants and a large oversized jumper, and I’m still cold. But don’t let that put you off! The wine will warm you up.
Written by Kate Fox
About Kate: After over a decade trudging the corridors of magazine publishing companies in very high heels as a writer, sub-editor and editor, Kate relocated from Sydney to Hobart with dreams of reading books, drinking wine and chilling out in ballet flats. When that didn’t quite work out financially, she started working as a producer of local television commercials, and with the short eight-minute commute, realised she had enough time in her day to write a Tasmanian-inspired blog about how much her little island home saved her from the rat race.
Click the link below to read more from Kate.