How COVID lockdowns and burnout helped Fred Porter to find unexpected happiness

As COVID-19 descended on the Australia east coast almost two years in the past, Fred Porter discovered himself within the midst of a private disaster.

He’d labored himself to the purpose of burnout. On Queensland’s Gold Coast, lockdowns threatened to separate him from his household in Western Australia, and the fast-paced metropolis life he’d as soon as yearned for had misplaced its lustre.

Little did he know, this low level, mixed with new communications expertise, led Mr Porter dwelling to a distant West Australian farm, the place he has discovered himself happier than ever in a spot he was as soon as determined to escape from.

A man with red hair and a red beard smiles at the camera in front of a rural scene.
Fred Porter has discovered happiness on his household farm north of Northampton, Western Australia.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Samille Mitchell)

Big desires

As a child rising up on a distant farming property some 600 kilometres north of Perth, Mr Porter typically discovered himself dreaming of far-flung locations.

“I bear in mind rising up right here and simply considering it was actually the top of the Earth,” he mentioned.

“I’d look over the horizon and I’d all the time need to know what was past the horizon.”

Many assumed he’d tackle the household farm, however with no stress from his mum and dad to achieve this, Mr Porter was fast to dismiss such ideas.

“I bear in mind my grandmother asking me as the one boy within the household after I could be taking on the farm and I checked out her straight within the eyes at a really younger age and I mentioned to her, ‘Oh no, I will not be taking on this farm,'” Mr Porter mentioned.

“‘I’m going to be residing in my very own residence with my very own air conditioner’ as a result of having an air conditioner when it is 40 levels out right here was just about essentially the most luxurious factor I may consider.”

Historic photo of a boy on a swing in a rural setting.
Even as as a child, Mr Porter had his sights set far from the household farm.(Supplied: Fred Porter)


Fast-forward via the many years and Mr Porter was having fun with the life he’d as soon as dreamed of as a boy on the household farm.

Life was a whirlwind of nightclubs, events, journey and constructing a profession in marketing and leisure. He labored and travelled with the likes of the Wiggles, and Yo Gabba Gabba, and counts DJ Lance Rock as a buddy.

He’d launched his personal marketing business, met the person who’d turn out to be his life accomplice, and finally achieved his childhood dream: shopping for an residence on the Gold Coast full with its personal air conditioner.

Technology meant he may work from wherever he wished. He spent one summer time in Mexico and dreamed of working from resort swimming pools across the globe.

“I went to Cancun and did my work poolside whereas there was some foam get together popping out of a resort that was formed like a pyramid,” he laughed.

“I did assume I used to be going to be figuring out of a five-star resort in a New York loft remotely, as a result of I may do this too.”

But Mr Porter’s fast-paced life pushed him to the purpose of burnout.

Then got here COVID.

A group of adults and dressed up children's entertainment characters hugging and smiling at camera.
Fred Porter (second from left) launched a profession in promotions and youngsters’s leisure.(Supplied: Fred Porter)

Happiness in unexpected locations

Desperate for a break, and craving for the consolation of household, Mr Porter and his accomplice Vince Pruiti-Ciarello packed up and headed again to the Porter household farm to recoup.

Improved telecommunications expertise meant Mr Porter may proceed to run his business remotely.

And, a lot to their shock, the duo discovered the isolation, the quiet and the rigours of farm work unusually satisfying.

While persevering with to work in leisure, marketing and promotions from dwelling, Mr Porter lent a hand with the harvest, obtained swept up in his dad’s nature conservation efforts and started to think about a life that mixed one of the best of metropolis work with the fun of being along with his dad and mom of their older age, and having fun with the tranquillity of nation residing.

“It’s a extremely thrilling time to work remotely and to dwell regionally. All of these issues I wanted to be within the metropolis for simply do not apply anymore — I can really get my work accomplished anyplace.

“And [I’ve realised] I’ve this deep connection to this land as nicely.

 A man in the cab of a chaser bin tractor when the sunlight over his shoulder.
Mr Porter by no means anticipated to work on the household farm however is now loving doing so, whereas running his marketing business remotely.(ABC Midwest and Wheatbelt: Samille Mitchell)
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