Willow comes to investigate as soon as I open the front door.
It’s not often we use the front door as the bolt is rather sticky, but I wrestle it open as Willow runs over to see. She sits and looks out over the front garden. The quiet street that’s been our home for the past 18 months is still this evening, as it is most evenings.
It’s time to take a special photo; our very last photo together at the cottage before we hand the keys back tomorrow.
I set the tripod up just outside the front gate and call out to Steph that we’re ready for her. She sits down next to Willow.
As I press the timer, I race over and hold Willow on my lap as the three of us look into the camera.
There it is, that’s the shot. Another moment in time of our adventures together. Willow tolerating another photo and Steph and I pretending we haven’t been racing around packing and cleaning all night.
Steph goes back inside but Willow hasn’t finished yet. I take some more snaps of her. One of which I am sure will feature in our calendar next year.
We give Willow her dinner outside in the courtyard. A delicious piece of chicken that she chomps down.
I wonder what she’ll think when we get in the campervan tomorrow. We have taken her on lots of trips in the van since we got here, but will she miss the cottage when she realises we’re not coming back?
I know we will. The garden. The quiet street. Our lovely neighbours. The old village and bridge that the tourists love to photograph. It’s been a long time since somewhere felt like home. But there are other adventures waiting for us. We have made the decision to leave.
After her dinner, Willow sits and watches the backyard. It’s her favourite thing to do in the evenings, and so much better than TV, according to her. I’m excited to think of all the places around Australia we will visit together over the next few years.
It’s getting late now, and when we bring her inside she continues to monitor the garden as she sits by the window. There’s a possum somewhere, and occasionally a neighbour cat strolls through our yard. Steph and I are busy moving the last of our things into the van.
So, this is it. After 18 months of living in the cottage, it is now time to say goodbye. I’m a bit sad, but I’m also grateful that we had the opportunity to call it our home.
Tomorrow, we hand the keys back as an even bigger adventure awaits. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but it’s nothing we haven’t done before.
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Thanks for joining us on our very last night in the cottage. Right now, we are parked in my brother’s driveway as we tie up some loose ends. As of next week we will be living full time van life once again.
We will have a few weeks touring around Tasmania before we travel to the mainland at the end of the month. Then… who knows where we will end up!