Why Spark Rural?

Dear Friend,

In life, we all face catalyst moments. The searing question is, "what do we do with them - if anything at all?". Spark Rural! was developed out of my catalyst moment and is motivated by four things:

  1. All Victorians and Australians have the right to live in economic and social prosperity.
  2. All Victorians and Australians have the right to choose where they want to live, with access to quality housing, infrastructure and community services.
  3. The future of the Victorian and Australian regional economy (and thus employment, self or otherwise) is in micro business. Agile, accessible and contemporary education is required to drive this. Major government and private sector investment is also required.
  4. Micro business at scale will facilitate revitalisation of our small townships and rural communities, promoting decentralisation and relieve the burden on our cities.

I look forward to sharing the Spark Rural! journey with you.

My best,

Vanessa Wiltshire

Book Preview

Death and Discovery                

The most important moment of my life occurred at 4:40pm, Monday 4 September 2017. At this precise time, I squeezed a stranger’s fingers and watched her die on the Northern Highway, midway between the Central Victorian townships of Pyalong and Tooborac.

I held Lara’s right pointer and middle fingers and they twitched, ever so slightly. The movement was almost imperceptible. There was a momentary spark of hope within me, before her fingers fell limp against mine.

Then, nothing. A stranger felt for her pulse. He shook his head, lowered it, and walked away. Air tumbled from my lungs.

I squeezed and squeezed again. No movement, no recognition. Seemingly no understanding that anyone was there for her final, terrible moment.

A strange sensation passed over me. Stillness in chaos. Emptiness is a growing crowd.

Horror and disbelief as the rain started to ease. Holy sh-t, I told myself, I’ve just seen someone die. This woman is dead. This can’t be happening. It’s like a freaking Hollywood movie set. Seriously. This. Can’t. Be. Real. WTF?!

But it was real. Just minutes before I was driving through shocking weather and all I could think about was how trapped I felt by the “mundaneness” of life. Now, before me, a blonde-haired woman truly was trapped. In her own car, no less. Actually, Lara wasn’t trapped.

She was dead.

Bleakness filled my mind as the clouds parted to reveal a glowing, dipping sun. Oil and water shimmered on the road. My olive suede shoes were ruined; wet and heavy with sleet and mud. Speaking on the phone to the emergency services, I confirmed that a lady I knew nothing of, yet felt an odd kinship with, had passed.

In the months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds before Lara’s death I had an inner voice gnawing at me. As I drove away from the scene, I knew I had a decision to make. To continue living a life I thought the world expected of me.

Or to kick fear in the teeth and start living a life that I wanted for myself.