The block…

A few of weeks ago we met with an architect and a draftsman to talk about what we are going to create on our land. We liked both of them and thought we should see what the cost would be for each for concept drawings and build drawings. Having never built before neither of us had any idea how much this would cost, or how long it would take.

The draftsman Ned Micovic had a quote back to us the day after we saw him. We both liked him straight away. He listened to everything we had to say, asked heaps of question (so he could understand why I had drawn my mud maps the way I had), and made helpful suggestions to improve what I had already done.

He was about to go on holidays so we were in no hurry to get back to him with the go ahead, and we were still curious as to how much the architect was going to charge for the same job. After a week we gave up on the architect. Even now he still has not come back to us with a quote!

We told Ned we would like to work with him. Ned was back from his holiday on the 14th of December and he let us know he had finished the conceptual drawings by Tuesday afternoon. Woohooo! We expect to receive them in the post within a few days … so excited to see what I have been doodling and drawing up for 10 months actually drawn up for real by an expert!

We took a whole lot of video in November and Scott has been busy on the edit side of things, here is another short video of … mostly the block.

YouTube link…

Block 8 Block 9 Block 7

Scott making a path, divi’s back block, Mangaliliu Vanuatu

You can see how densely covered the land is. I think I mentioned previously that the developer and a team of local guys were clearing the under growth on the block next door, and now they are doing that for us.

Both our blocks should look wonderful when we get back there in February 2016.

In the video you can also see the water at low tide, and where the channels are.

See you in paradise.


November Visit

We have been back from our November trip for a couple of weeks now. While we were there we spent a lot of time at the block. We spent time getting to know our 2 sets of neighbours and went snorkelling every day. The front block has a fantastic natural seascape through the trees and out to the aqua water, there is a natural ocean pool just a few metres in and it is deep enough for a dip even at low tide. The back block is very dense with tall trees and jungle climbers over everything.
The coral and fish are so pretty to look at, the water is warm and there are no currents. We were told by our neighbours that there are lion fish and sea snakes around, but they will swim off quicker than you can. The colour of the water is incredible, so blue and crystal clear. I love the little blue fish, they dart around everywhere, hard to catch with my camera though. We found one gully that was just teaming with fish, there must have been 200 fish in there, at least 20 different kinds. I’ll try and get some photos and video up for you to see what I am babbling about. I love the place… can you tell?

Block 1 Block 2
As you can see, our block is fairly densely covered in trees and undergrowth. We spent a couple of hours cutting down saplings and piling them up as well as old bits of trees and branches that had possibly come down during TC Pam in March.

There are tons of coconuts hidden under the long grass in various states of decay and growth. Once we could see the pegs marking out the block we got the industrial sized tape measure out and worked out where our bungalow and the tapas bar will go. It is like the block was meant for us… the 2 primary buildings fit in the places we had drawn up. There are some sizable rocks on the block and both the buildings fit neatly around them!
There is a group of big old trees right in between our bungalow and the tapas bar, they will be staying… we really don’t want to cut down any more trees than we have to. There are quite a few coconut trees on the front block, they will have to come down unfortunately… they are a big hazard in the islands, clocking unsuspecting walkers on the head with their ripening fruit. We wandered around the block many times envisioning our dream once built. We are so excited, and cannot wait to share it all with family and friends and eventually those who wish to join us for a few hours or a few days in paradise.
Our next trip is in early February 2016, lots to do before then as we start to firm up our costs and talk to a couple of architects, very overwhelming for this little chick right now… but I’m excited about learning about a lot of new things.
Darleen & Scott
Creating a divergent life.

Divergent Life


So here we are… in our late 40’s all four kids are off on their own life adventures and we are itching to escape the rat race! This is a second marriage for both of us, we have been together for 10 years, married for four and a half.

Scott is an Accountant, a CPA, he has been building his own firm, in essence, for over 20 years on the Gold Coast in Australia. Most people think of accountants as quite staid and boring… not my Scotty! (only I’m allowed to call him that). He is definitely a very unique individual. I love the way his head works, he has THE most positive thought process I have ever come across in my life… (closely followed by my youngest daughter Taylor). It is hard to describe, he always sees the good things that can happen, I tend to ponder what may go wrong! A bit of yin and yang perhaps?

Scott has two kids, Blake, he is almost 24. He lives in Melbourne and has a lovely girlfriend from the US, Angela. Elise just turned 21, she is studying and is engaged to the positively wonderful Olly, they have just moved to Melbourne too as Olly is about to start training in the airline industry.

My name is Darleen, I am a Sexologist. I have had many different roles throughout my working life, not least of which is being a mum. My eldest daughter is Sam, she just turned 22. She and her fabulous boyfriend Dan are in the process of moving out of shared accommodation and into a place of their own. Taylor is my youngest, she just turned 20… no more teenagers! She is having one of those amazing lives most people only dream about… she has worked on a multi-million dollar motor yacht, lived on it in Miami FL, sailed to the Mediterranean on it and holidayed in a cabin in the jungle by the beach in Costa Rica. Anyway her storey is a whole other blog!

I have worked in Business Development in the international logistics arena, I have worked airside for the duty free store at Sydney airport operating a forklift and managing an under bond stores warehouse. I have been a bank teller and a home loans officer. I worked in a commercial kitchen and as a poker machine attendant at St George leagues Club in the late 1980’s.

A few years ago I decided to follow my passion and went to Uni and achieved my Masters in Health Science Sexual Health, from The University of Sydney… never thought I’d ever go to university… other than as a human skeleton hanging in a science room! This would not have been possible without Scott, he coached me through, edited all my assignments and kept me sane while at the same time I was working full time, had 3 teens at home and was planning our wedding! Talk about busy.

I love what I do now, I call myself a Sexologist Educator, I like to talk to groups, public speaking gigs and anything where I can help someone be more comfortable with how they feel about sex, within themselves, about others and socially. Our feeling about sex and sexuality can have a huge influence on our lives and my mission is to help folks with that part of life.

Anyway… that is where we are now, from my point of view anyway, Scott will write here too. So what is ‘Divergent Life’? It is our new adventure, we are going against the grain, and doing what many people only ever dream of. Most of our friends and family think we are nuts… may be we are, maybe you have to be a little mad and be a little different. Otherwise you get stuck being one of the rats in the race of urban life…?

We would like to take you with us on our quest… adventure… goal of moving to Vanuatu, buying land and creating a new life for ourselves. My head is spinning with ideas on what we can do with our little parcel of land by the ocean. Scott seems to have a vague idea of a cruzy life by the sea, being in the water half the day and living off the land as much as possible. Don’t misunderstand this… he will not be growing anything, that will be someone else’s job… he will just live simply.

We have been over there twice to date, the first time was too look for a house we liked. We thought my online business would be able to run from there and Scott could do his accounting work from there 3 days a week and go back to the Gold Coast every 4 weeks to see clients. Our last trip was in May 2015, in between that time we spent a week in Bali and one of the places we went to was called Finn’s Beach Club, wow… what an amazing place in the world, this began our thoughts about what else we could do in Vanuatu… What started to evolve in about January/February 2015 has continued to morph.

Now our Vanuatu plans are blowing our minds. We have exchanged contracts on an amazing piece of land just near the village of Mangaliliu. We are hoping this is settled sometime this week. By the time we get the blog up and running it should be a done deal.

It is 6800 sq. metres of lush green jungle, with over 30 metres of ocean front. It is kind of a beach, but only a little bit of course coral sand. There are rocks with plants and trees on them for the first few metres into the water (you can see them in the photos). There is a reef for about 30-40 metres out. I believe the diving and snorkelling are fantastic in the area.

Our plans have developed tenfold… We are now going to build a beach bungalow to live in and a wine and tapas bar on the front block and a few glamping huts on the back block. I am so excited I could burst. I want to be there now!

We love entertaining, Scott is the ultimate host and I love to cook delicious food for our friends. I also love decorating and theming events.

So Scott has sold his half of the accounting firm and got his RSA so he can go and get a part time job in a bar. He will stay on as a part time employee of the firm for at least 6-12 months to ensure a smooth handover of his clients. I have decided to get a job in a commercial kitchen so I can learn how to run one.

How is that for a leap?

Over the next few months and years we will be adding to this blog of the trials and tribulations of buying/leasing land in a 3rd world country and building on a block that has no sewerage, water or electricity. There is a creek nearby we are allowed to run a gravity fed hose from. I have to learn about solar power, inverters and batteries, generators, septic tanks and how to actually run a B&B, tapas and wine bar!

I have designed our bungalow and the wine and tapas bar already, I will get the expertise of a builder and others to check it all out. We have been advised to keep the buildings as squares/rectangles as the more complex the design the more expensive it can get by a long way.

Keep in mind this is a tropical location and as we all know, subject to frequent cyclones. TC Pam was a cat 5 and ripped through Efate (the Island where the capital of Port Vila is) on the 13th of March this year. So we want to build 2 super strong structures that will withstand any future super storms. Being in the pacific the 83 Islands that makeup Vanuatu are also subject to earth quakes every week or so. Though they are usually fairly tame.

When we were there in May 2015 there was a strong one in the middle of the night… the sound of the bathroom window rattling woke me and I could not work out why Scott was flinging his legs on the bed (it was shaking) then as my mind actually woke up I realised it was a tremor! I had felt them before when visiting New Zealand, but Scott had not, so I grabbed him and shouted at him to wake up, so he could feel it! Quite exciting at the time.

My best friend Kim and her husband John have bought a block over there too, they are on Devils Point Road, about 20 minutes from us… How cool is that?

That will do for now… fingers crossed that the settlement goes through this week…



PS, at this stage we are thinking of calling our place Divi’s as in Divergent Life… what do you think?