“The shack is a portal to a lifetime of summers passed and the destination for many to come.”

When friends ask me what New York is like, I tell them to imagine their craziest night out, speed it up and then play it on repeat. This is what living in NYC feels like.

Coming back to Australia feels like I have slammed on the breaks and decided to operate in slow motion. I downgrade my strut to a stroll and schedule plenty of quality time to work on my tan and get my head right. All the downtime is a shock to my system and for the first week, I check my emails incessantly and berate dad for not having wireless. By the second week, I start to feel like a human. After a month….I start to question my life in NYC.

This year I went cold turkey and headed up the coast to Bruno’s Beach house with two of my closest friends. No phone, no laptop, no internet, no television. I took my camera, one lens and a notebook. That’s right…. handwriting – who knew people still do that ?!

Bruno’s beach house was built by Jason’s grandpa and is perhaps more of a shack than a house. Bruno himself built it out of scraps – a modest sanctuary with a million dollar view. The shack is a portal to a lifetime of summers passed and the destination for many to come.

Upon arrival, Jo gives me the run down…the toilet doesn’t work, watch out for scorpions and don’t hang my towel on the verandah because it might fall down. No worries. I take a moment to appreciate grandma’s puzzle art and eye the toilet skeptically whilst dodging anything remotely resembling a scorpion. I check my bag for my phone out of habit and experience a moment of separation anxiety whilst visualizing my inbox overflowing. The moment passes and I become transfixed by the view…uninterrupted coastline for as far as the eye can see. Who needs the distraction of modern technology?

The next couple of days remind me what I love about summer in Australia. The taste of salt on my lips, drip drying in the sun, scorching days, cool water and sizzling skin. We went fishing, slept in the sun, enjoyed a few bottles of wine and plenty of good conversation. I didn’t make a call, send a text message, update social media or turn on a computer. I did however feel free, happy, relaxed and grateful for friends who could bring me back down to earth.

I know that coming home is important. I know that Australia will always be there as a barometer for my personal sanity and I know that I never want to become someone that forgets where they come from. I also know that for now, the thrill of life in NYC will keep me coming back for more and when the city chews me up and spits me out…. I know I can always come home.

We waved goodbye to Bruno’s Beach House for the last time. The shack is being pulled down and rebuilt. It made me a bit sad to see it go but I know the upgrade will still be Bruno’s… just fancier. I would thank Jo and Jason for inviting me but the truth is…I invited myself. Never the less…thank you to Jo and Jason for sharing their special place with me. I can’t wait to check out Bruno’s with its fancy facelift later in the year.