Ru­ral life rules

Shepparton News - - LIFESTYLE WEEKEND - MAD­DI­SON HOW­ELL Year 10, St Mary of the An­gels Se­condary Col­lege, Nathalia week­endlife@shep­p­news.com.au.

The serene si­lence of the bound­less coun­try­side or the busy clus­ter of peo­ple on a side­walk all en­gulfed in their own worlds — which one would you choose?

Per­son­ally, one of the things I love most about liv­ing in a small ru­ral town is when I’m walk­ing down the street, ev­ery­one waves or stops to say “how are you?” or even “you played a great game of netty on the week­end!”.

It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re not best mates — they prob­a­bly played foot­ball with your dad years ago or they might be friends with your mum.

It’s the sense of mate­ship, even in sit­u­a­tions where you might not know the in­di­vid­ual, that you just don’t get in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment.

The mem­o­ries I have of sleep­overs at my friend’s farm rid­ing mo­tor­bikes around the end­less pad­docks or when we would climb the si­los and watch the sun­set would not have been cre­ated if I grew up in a city.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the city and its ex­hil­a­rat­ing at­mos­phere.

Things like walk­ing around the crowded streets are just part of the pack­age.

I love beau­ti­ful wall art and shop­ping trips with my fam­ily — even if we have to drag Dad to the shops be­cause he Ånds it too bor­ing.

It’s al­ways nice to swap the long tree lines and vast crops for tall build­ings and ex­ten­sive nightlife.

Al­though, for a kid liv­ing in the city there’s not many op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­plore the free­dom of your imag­i­na­tion. Sure, there are many ar­tiÅ­cial things to do, but there’s noth­ing like the nu­mer­ous green pad­docks rac­ing by your car win­dow to trap you in a world of your own.

City kids not only have ac­cess to movie the­atres that are just around the cor­ner and con­cert venues that are less than 15 min­utes away (pro­vid­ing you’re the only car on the road) but also an ur­ban liv­ing si­t­u­a­tion that can pro­vide a sus­tain­able, mod­ern life­style.

Liv­ing in a small town, I know the lengthy ef­fort of get­ting to a shop­ping cen­tre big enough to have a range of good shops.

It takes me a bit un­der an hour to get home from school in the af­ter­noon, just be­cause that’s the way of life in coun­try towns; most things are spread a fair way apart.

As a kid grow­ing up in Tocumwal my whole life with pad­docks and dirt roads sur­round­ing my street, I have al­ways liked be­ing able to go for a walk or ride my bike around the dirt roads near my house.

Be­ing the only one in what might feel like the mid­dle-of-nowhere gives me a sense of lib­erty and lets my imag­i­na­tion run free.

Week­ends spent in town with my friends, get­ting ice-cream from the lo­cal ice­cream­ery and ex­plor­ing our favourite hid­den gems around town are week­ends well-spent, in my opin­ion.

Af­ter all, home is where you feel most happy.

Scenes from Mad­di­son’s ru­ral home town.

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