Viewpoint: The beauty of the bush

As the old saying goes, you can take a girl out of the country but you can't take the country out of the girl.

I have spent the past four years living and studying in the city of Melbourne.

The brilliance of the bush, near Goodnight, as highlighted by this photo taken at sunset. Picture: GEORGIE MORTON

The brilliance of the bush, near Goodnight, as highlighted by this photo taken at sunset. Picture: GEORGIE MORTON

Even though it was intriguing to venture to the Victorian capital to complete my Bachelor of Arts degree, it has struck home recently that the 'big smoke' isn't all it's cracked up to be.

For someone who has grown up on a sheep and cropping farm in the Swan Hill region, it's safe to say the concrete jungle that is Melbourne took a bit of getting used to.

Small things such as finding a car park and driving one kilometre became momentous tasks.

The daily roar of peak-hour traffic took over the peaceful hum of crickets and the thick city smog replaced the stars in a summer's night sky.

After a few months of moving to Melbourne, I began to crave the Mallee dust and screech of cockatoos that I once saw as burdensome.

While I am extremely appreciate of the high level of education I have attained from being in Melbourne and of the diverse array of people I have met, it will never be a place to call home.

Yes, the metropolis showcases impressive sky-rise architecture, eyeopening artwork and an extensive assortment of shops, but to me, it is small, country towns that truly offer a great deal.

Small towns have an essence of friendliness and 'true-blue' Aussie character, like nowhere else.

More than two thirds of Australians live in major cities, however I believe it's the one third of Australians who live in regional and remote areas that have it better off.

Unlike in the city, where you often feel like a faceless person amidst hundreds of others, people in the country will remember your name.

There's nothing better than walking into the local pub and knowing you'll find Tom, Dick and Harry waiting to say G'day.

It genuinely feels great to look someone in the eye and just say hello.

What may seem like a simple gesture, it's something you take for granted when moving from the bush to the city.

When jumping aboard a tram in Melbourne, you consider yourself lucky if you score the chance to actually making eye contact as majority of time people are too busy looking at their phones, tablets or other devices.

It's bizarre how little human contact you can have in the city even though it feels like you are stuck in a mob of a couple thousand sheep.

Being in a large city, you inevitably get caught up with a jampacked schedule and find yourself living in a world of clutter.

This leads to stress, constant noise and becoming weighed down with worries that can impact negatively on one's mental health in several ways.

Whereas in the country, you are somewhat forced to slow down and live life in the moment, something we all need to do more of.

Yes, in the country things are a bit harsher and bit less efficient, but I count this as a blessing.

Things are as they come.

Yes, country people must face a number of adversities such as drought, flood, plague and fluctuating market prices - but it is these adversities such that make country people the capable, resilient, hardworking and down to earth breed of people they are.

In today's society where rural communities are doing it tough and jobs are dwindling, I would like to remind people to stop, take a breath of fresh air and admire the beauty of the bush.

During my past four years of living in the city I've learnt not to take the little things in life for granted. Small towns have a lot to give in terms of providing an intimate, tight-knit community in which you can warmly feel a part of.

I am glad I have ventured beyond my roots and I encourage all recent high school graduates to do the same.

Life is your oyster — do what you like with it.

Explore new places, seek new horizons, challenge yourself and create your own road map.

And if that road map ends up leading you home than so be it.

Georgie Morton is currently on work experience with The Guardian, having completed her arts degree at the University of Melbourne

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