I used to spend my life on a horse and travelled all around NSW competing, so my 17-year-old self would never have imagined that I would
end up where I am today — working in an office and without a horse, although I’m trying to rectify that last bit. (Everyone jokes that any story with a horsey angle will make it into the pages of Country Style and I have to admit that they might have a point.) Christian and Laura Hayes of Hidden Trails by Horseback, on page 104, really do have my dream job. They spend their days guiding riders through some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes, from the Victorian High Country near their home just outside Mansfield to Western Australia’s East Kimberley region. One day I would love to go along with them, but there are many other inspiring travel stories in this issue. On page 88, photographer Abbie Melle’s diary of the time she spent in the English countryside, near the village of Shaftesbury, has made me dream of doing something similar — I much prefer spending time in only a couple of places when I travel, I’m definitely not a 10 cities in a fortnight sort of person! Making big changes in your life takes courage and I really admire Carlie Oates and her husband Jarrod Medley’s decision to bring their young family up in the country. The couple moved to Jugiong four years ago and have no regrets — aside from Carlie’s dislike of brown snakes. “The country is raw and honest, and there is no hiding your mistakes — and we’ve made many. But we’ve also learnt that the land forgives you and tomorrow is a new day, which will no doubt start with a beautiful sunrise. We consider ourselves lucky to be part of such a warm community,” she says. Many of you may remember our Heirloom story on Bill Bevan, the 94-year-old former truck driver who made the fluffiest sponge on the NSW south coast. Sadly, as this issue went to print, his daughter Sharne told me that Bill had passed away. Our condolences to his family.