I mentioned in my first COVID-19-inspired post that I’d continue to buy from local shops as much as I can rather than buy from the Internet. This has been my practice for a long time but I’m developing a new perspective on being in my local area while non-essential travel is discouraged.
I frequently enjoy stopping over in small towns while I’m travelling from one place to another, have occasionally stayed overnight in them, and I’ve often toyed with the idea of living in one for at least a little while. Moving to Wollongong was a step in this direction after having lived in Brisbane and then Sydney for most of my life, but Wollongong is still the ninth-largest city in Australia and resembles on outer suburb of Sydney insofar as I routinely travel to the latter for work.
Visiting the suburb centre nearest where I live, though, I can sometimes imagine that I’m in a small town consisting only of that suburb and the ones adjoining it. It has a main road on which there are a couple of small shopping centres, several small restaurants and a pub, a few cafés and bakeries, and just enough other shops and services that I can buy most of what I need day-to-day without having to go anywhere else (men’s clothing being a conspicuous absence).
I’ll be effectively living in this small town for as long as I’m under instructions to work at home. I intend to visit the Wollongong CBD most weeks for as long as the farmer’s markets continue to run there, and perhaps I’ll occasionally get to go other parts of Wollongong, but a trip to Sydney will likely be a special treat, if I do it at all. So I have a chance to experience something I’ve often thought about but have never done.
Of course there are also plenty of differences between the current circumstances and really moving to a small town: under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be restricted to take-away from the pub and restaurants; I’d be able to travel to a larger town for special occasions; and in most places I’d be able to buy men’s clothing. But, as a way of making the best of a bad situation, I can at least get some idea how I’d really go in making that tree-change I’ve often thought about.