Moving To A Country Practice

DR. LACHLAN WESTWOOD (OSTEOPATH)

I was raised on the principle of “giving back to the people who contribute to making you the person you are today”. I was raised in a small country town of Jerilderie in the southern Riverina with a population of no more than 800. Yet what the town lacked in size it made up for in heart and commitment to bettering the next generation.

The thing about small communities – everyone is familiar and known to each other and if a person is in need, people drop what they are doing just to lend a hand. While growing up, I was always thinking of how I could give back to the rural community. Typically, once a person finishes high school, they go off to a major city to further their studies at university and become attracted to the city way of life. Sometimes they forget their places of origin, and all the wonderful people who raised and nurtured them. As social as city life is, on another level it can be lonely. Rarely do you know your neighbours or have any real care for the suburb and surrounds.

Rural living is all about community and is what I missed most from my time in the city. Friendly faces at the supermarket, the sports clubs and even strangers down the street. Yes, strangers are always up for a chat as they pass through town! It’s what gives county towns life and a vibrant atmosphere, this is what drew me back to the rural community here in Swan Hill.

Towards the end of my university degree I felt like I was missing something. In my 4th year I met Lou for the first time when she had just launched her Osteo Sports Network, and we had a chat about life and on being an osteopath in Swan Hill. For me, it felt like a breath of fresh air to hear that Swan Hill could potentially offer that sense of community I longed for.

In late November, myself and fellow osteo Jake visited Louise and the Central Mallee Osteopathy clinic, and for me it was a perfect fit. No loud traffic, spacious treatment rooms, wonderful staff who were welcoming and accommodating and most of all, meeting some of the locals and feeling like I was home again.

The idea of moving to a rural community shouldn’t be off-putting or considered a backwards step, and I feel as though too many young people could be missing out when they don’t consider it an option post university. Yes, it may be a distance to travel, but the reality – the country is a place where you not only get to grow in a professional sense but also grow as a person and develop lifelong relationships with the most genuine people Australia has to offer.

My thoughts – Don’t be too quick to move to the big smoke and/or miss the opportunity that rural living has to offer. For future students from metropolitan areas, the country can be an exciting new challenge and provide life changing opportunity, like Central Mallee Osteopathy and the Swan Hill region has given me.

Looking forward to meeting and looking after you.

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