The 2018 Road Trip

 
 
This is _Blue Steel_. A little like me, she's edgy, curious, bold and primed for adventure..png

STATISTICS

  • One year

  • Self funded and self-driven ;)

  • 70+ towns and localities across Victoria and Sth East NSW.

  • Approx. 30,000kms of roads travelled in 2018 (total)

  • 1000 + conversations (business & community leaders, entrepreneurs, co-work founders, start up accelerators, entrepreneurs, politicians, councillors, teachers, community members, young people aged 5-21)

  • Plus a RTW trip to Hong Kong, San Francisco, Port Colborne (“small town” Canada )and New York (Ground Zero).

Who doesn’t love a road trip?

The sense of freedom, the relief at leaving it all behind. Even if it’s just for a weekend.

I’ve always LOVED getting out of the city and visiting new places. I’m well travelled, both internationally and around Australia. But as I’ve found over the years, you don’t have to leave Australia, nor the proverbial backyard to have a great time.

In January, I decided to undertake a GIANT road trip, one that would last a year, maybe more. But I wouldn’t be away from home all year, mind you. I would use my town of Heathcote as a central base from which to explore Victoria in greater detail.

I did this, in part, because I witnessed a fatal road accident on a rural highway in September last year. After the (initial) shock wore off, I become deeply interested in the nature of renewal and rejuvenation, both at a personal and collective level.

As a “tree changer” to Central Victoria, I see towns that are “going ahead,” and others that are “lagging,” or even dying. Some, like Whroo, are complete ghost towns, and have been for decades. The phenomenon got me hooked and I wanted to understand why some towns make it and others don’t. More to the point, I wanted to see what - if anything - could be done about it.

Nearly 30,000kms and 70+ towns later, I’ve spoken to 1000+ people about why they chose to live where they live, and do the work they do. The “results” have been fascinating, and I’m thankful to the many strangers who have given their time and opened their homes, offices and spaces to me. Just, wow!

What' I’ve found is there is SO much UNTAPPED opportunity in regional Victoria.

You don’t hear about ANY of this because big media is biased to the cities, where their (majority of) readers are. And with respect, I don’t think the government is doing enough (at all levels) to educate people about tree change and how to make it work BEFORE retirement.

So I’ll say it point blank. IF you are disillusioned with city / corporate life and are thinking “there has to be something more,” then Spark Rural is for you. On the other side of the coin, if you’re living in the country and feeling down about the 'lack of “progress” in your town, then this is a space for you, too.

Vanessa.

Hear me speak

What makes small towns and communities ‘go ahead? As community and business leaders, how can we make more of the good happen, both personally and for ur towns?”

  • Recent engagement - River Ranges Leadership Program (graduation evening) November 2018.

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