Author, entrepreneur and recently appointed Editor for Marie Claire Australia, Georgie Abay lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales with her husband and two daughters. As a former deputy editor at Vogue, Georgie set up The Grace Tales, an online lifestyle platform for mothers, featuring many interviews with women worldwide, including Koala Eco’s co-founder Jess.
What she learnt through her own experience and those candid conversations is that how we choose to deal with life’s unexpected twists and turns is what defines us. She explores what happens when plans go awry in her new book, Best Laid Plans and discovers that sometimes there is magic in the alternative plan… We recently turned the tables and interviewed Georgie about her life in the Highlands and her relationship with nature:
What’s your favourite thing to do in nature?
Bushwalking is my favourite way to spend time in nature. I like the beach, but I love the bush. A year ago we moved from the inner city in Sydney to the country, and our home backs onto a national park. A few times a week, I’ll take the dogs for a bushwalk. It’s so soothing for the soul. At the moment, the bush is covered in golden wattle.
Describe your connection to nature: what positives does it bring to your life?
As someone who suffers from anxiety, moving closer to nature has changed my life. I feel far more peaceful and relaxed, like I’ve finally found my home. I never felt fully relaxed in the city, but now I feel like I’m exactly where I was always supposed to be. I can see the stars at night, and watch the gumtrees dance in the wind from my bed. I also love the wildlife that lives around us. I’ve had to stop twice to let echidnas cross the road, regularly see wombats and kangaroos and have a growing collection of chickens and ducks. We live surrounded by nature: it’s heavenly.
What are your fondest memories of spending time in nature?
Growing up, my grandparents used to take me to a guesthouse in the bush near the Hunter Valley. It was my favourite week of the year—I’d horse ride, bushwalk, feed the rosella birds—it was paradise. I guess with moving to the country, I was chasing that feeling. I wanted our girls to experience the beauty of being surrounded by nature, and to know that throughout their lives, nature will always ground them. I love watching them create memories, there’s so much space in the country for them to just be kids.
I also grew up with a mother who loved flowers, and she still does. There were always fresh flowers in our home, often picked from our garden. I used to spend a lot of time at the flower markets, but now I tend just to pick from our garden!
Many of us are time-poor and might not get out into nature as much as we’d like. Any suggestions for a quick nature-based pick-me up? Something sensory, experiential…?
A guided meditation is the best pick-me-up: listening to the sounds of waves or birds. Also scents such as lemon myrtle instantly transport you away, which is probably why I have a serious addiction to Koala Eco’s Kitchen Cleaner. I also recently changed my alarm to birds gently chirping. It’s far more relaxing than a loud, intrusive beeping noise!