Saturday, July 30, 2016

Could you?


Have you ever done something major in your life that should never have had a negative impact on anybody, yet for some unexpected reason it causes problems to those you love most – your children?

Everybody who knows Steve and me knows we have a tendency to be unconventional. (There have been the countless business ideas, the moving to the country and physically building a kit home, Steve’s refusal to go on the Dole, my refusal to take medication, let’s face it, the list just goes on.)
However, we’ve never done anything that has negatively affected our girls – although it is possible that over the years they may have received the odd strange, side-ways look because of their slightly kooky parents.
That is until now… and all because of the house-sitting.
Would you believe that because our new adventure doesn’t fit normal lifestyle choices, our youngest daughter, Alexis, is having huge amounts of difficulty getting the normal and all-too-familiar Government financial support for her studies?
From what I can understand because Lex is under the official age of independence (22, she turns 21 next month), doesn’t have a traditional family home to return to, and possibly because Steve and I, neither have a job, or claim the Dole, is not eligible for Abstudy!
As if moving out of home and finding your place in the world isn’t hard enough, without being denied the same financial support that just about every other student seems to be eligible for?
There are numerous ways of looking at this challenge, but I think to be honest it all comes down to being unconventional – Steve and I simply don’t fit the printed forms (and we’ve filled in several)! Therefore we’ve decided to provide as much proof as we can that we genuinely have no regular home, are full-time house-sitters, and as such are self-funded retirees constantly moving across Australia.
SO, I WAS THEREFORE WONDERING…
Could you, if you feel comfortable doing so, please write a comment below confirming any of the above information on us that you believe to be true and, if possible, your name and place in the community (or anything else you think might give your comment more clout). We will then copy this post and comments and attach it to our application.
Steve and I are not asking you to say anything that is untrue, and we know at this point that this blog doesn’t have many readers, we are just hoping that the more people who attest to our change in lifestyle, the more chance Lex has of getting their support and therefore continuing her studies.
The last thing we want is for Lex to suffer for our differences. Like I said earlier, finding your way in life and becoming an independent adult is hard enough without any unnecessary and extra hassles.

20 comments:

  1. Steve and Lizzie have most certainly begun a new adventure in their life together. Only in June I went to visit them as they were trying to clear out the many possessions they've accumulated over the years they were in their home in Two Rocks. I took a few things off them, but they still had all the rest of the house to clear at that point. I've been following what they've been up to through Facebook and this blog, but don't often make a comment, simply because I'm quite busy myself. The two hope to make enough money through their own business ventures and through not having a conventional home of their own, though they have done that for years and years. I've known Lizzie through our writing community for close to 16 years. My name is Heather Goldsmith and I care for my husband full time.

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    1. Thanks so much for posting a comment, Heather.

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  2. Hello
    I hereby confirm that Elizabeth and Steve Bezant, formerly living in Quinns Rocks have been friends for mine for just over twelve months now. In fact it is my house they are house sitting until mind September. Lizzie and Steve and two true delightful parents who just happen to think and live differently from most of us. They have chosen to embrace the nomadic housesitting lifestyle until such time as they find a place they can truly settle into and call home

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    1. Sharon, Thanks so much for your comments, the opportunity to house-sit and, of course, your kind words.

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  3. Wow, I could certainly testify that Lex has no family home ... having known you for many years as a fellow writer (and fellow educational writer!) ... and could note that although your current house-sit is delightful, it's temporary and only for the two of you...

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    1. Clare, thanks so much for posting a comment for us.

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  4. I have read how they are forever mucking up and denying Austudy claims. Tell Alexis to contact the Australian Unemployment Workers Union. (yes I thought it was a joke at first too) They seem to be very knowledgeable as to our actual rights. Having dealt with centrelink I know that every person you speak to can give you a different answer.

    As for the above, hmmm well I actually thought you guys were very normal. You had me fooled. Haha Or is that just because everyone thinks I'm weird also? :)

    I know for a fact Steve and Elizabeth have sold their house and are full time house sitters. Over several months I observed the process of them getting rid of most of their belongings, and I may have re-homed a few things myself. Whenever I drive past "their" house, I am still sad that they no longer live there, and there are random cars in the driveway.

    I'm not sure how the govt can not know that you are now no longer living in your own home. A simple search will confirm that your house has been sold, you have not bought another, nor are you renting or receiving any payments. Quite simple really. Another search will show that you both were born, and as yet are still alive and living in this country. What more do they want?

    Not sure how much that will help, as even though honesty and integrity are very important to me, I don't have much clout in the community. I don't suppose you know any politicians? Sometimes they can help.

    Tanya McIvor

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    1. Thanks Tanya, you're right - we seem normal to you because we have so much in common. Thanks for your support and suggestions.

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  5. I have known Lizzie for 16 years. She and Steve are unconventional and are always thinking and living outside of the box. Their housesitting adventure sounds like a lovely way to retire. They have sold their home and the majority of their belongings and set off to do something truly extraordinary.

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    1. Thanks so much Melissa, you're comments are greatly appreciated.

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  6. About 8 or 9 years ago I met Lizzie at the Peter Cowan Writers' Centre at Edith Cowan University - where I work as a manager in the Library (my name is Kay Saunders). I attended writing workshops where Lizzie was the faciltator. Lizzie occasionally referred to her unconventional choices in life and I have followed her writing blog over the years and this 'new' blog on their housesitting stage. I admire the choices Lizzie and Steve have made yet fail to understand on how these can negatively impact the rights of their daughter to a student living allowance.

    As a future 'grey nomad' I have followed many blogs of current grey nomads and those with 'no fixed address' often comment on the many problems this causes with government agencies, but this usually applies to their own circumstances, not those of their children. I support Lizzie and Steve in their need to ensure that their daughter Alexis gets the student financial assistance to which she is entitled and is not unfairly penalised for her parents choice to not own or rent a dwelling. I wish you both all the best for a satisfactory outcome for Alexis.

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    1. Kay, it's so kind of you to post a comment, and to express your thoughts and insights on the subject. Thank you.

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  7. Lizzie & Steve,
    Pete (Lizzie's cousin) & I fully applaud your grand adventure into taking part in the ' digital nomad' lifestyle :). We both understand your positions of living an unconventional lifestyle. We explored our own adventure by living & working in Hong Kong from the end of 2004 until March 2010. Alana as a kindergarten teacher in three successive kindergartens. Pete as a 'house bitch' for the first year, followed by an enjoyable stint assisting the proprietor of 'Flow' a second hand English bookshop.

    We know of another couple (former primary schoolteachers) who are also engaged in the 'digital nomad' lifestyle, so we believe that more & more people will undertake this sort of lifestyle in the future.

    With the phenomenon of 'digital nomads' becoming more prevalent, I believe it is incumbent upon the government of the day to 'get with' the prospect of this reality & to adjust their government forms & processes accordingly. I agree with you both that Alexis does not need to be burdened with unnecessary financial demands when she is obviously eligible for government financial assistance. Just because Alexis' parents may be considered as 'unconventional' in their choice of lifestyle, it does not mean that Alexis should find herself 'labelled' as ineligible for financial government assistance to help finance her studies; when such assistance is afforded to those students whose parents 'tick all the right boxes' just because they are deemed to be 'conventional' because they live at a 'stable' address instead of a 'digital nomad' address.

    We hope the above information will prove helpful to both you Lizzie & Steve as well as to your lovely daughter Alexis.

    With every best wish

    Love Alana & Pete :) xx

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    1. Alana and Pete, thanks so much for your thoughts and ongoing support - all is greatly appreciated.

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  8. I've known Lizzie (Elizabeth) Bezant for over 15 years, both online and in person, and by extension her family (Steve, Charlotte and Alexis). During this time Lizzie has lived with her family in her home at St Barnabas Building, Quinn's Rock, until her change in occupation/health/lifestyle initiated a new stage in their lives. This year the Bezant family sold their family home and the majority of their belonging (a lengthy undertaking that also meant a new home had to be found for their dog). Now Lizzie and Steve housesit on a professional basis at different homes around Western Australia, whilst the house owners are absent. They saw a market need for professional, reliable and trustworthy housesitters and decided to pursue the opportunity. Alongside this Lizzie will be continuing with her writing career. It was a huge step for them and their daughters, but as with everything they did it with professional integrity. They may not have a fixed official abode but that should not preclude their daughter, Alexis, from receiving funding, simply because her parents' fledgling housesitting business doesn't fit the conventional boxes. Good luck to them all.
    Paeony Lewis, Norwich, UK children's author

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  9. I have known Lizzie all her life and have been following her housesitting adventures. I can testify that they are not in a position to provide Alexis with a home in commuting distance of college.

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  10. I have known Alexis for almost a year and although I've never met her parents I do know that they have sold their house and all their belongings to house sit full time and travel. It seems unreasonable that Alexis should be disadvantaged because of her parents choices especially when she now has no family home to live in!
    Tanya Brian

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, Tanya, I know Lex will be as grateful as we are. Thank you :-)

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