Loneliness and Estrangement: Finding Happiness When Moving to A New Place

My Experience Living in Newcastle

Doody Richards
5 min readNov 28, 2023


Newcastle has a stunning coastline. View from the cycleway—photo supplied by the author.

I lived in Sydney for a decade before relocating to Newcastle, so it was a place I called home and fell in love with. It’s hard not to be awed with the Sydney Opera House. The sails can blend into any urban backdrop, from the skyline to the bluest horizon of the Pacific — it all depends on the angle of view.

You can spend your weekend in Chinatown or a ferry ride to Manly Beach. Not to mention the annual Sydney LGBTQ Mardi Gras. The options are endless. It is a place where any cultures and identities are celebrated. Sydney is indeed one of a kind.

A few years ago, in the middle of the pandemic, I decided to move back in with my parents due to their incurable illness. To make this possible, I sold my one-bedroom apartment in the western suburb of Sydney and moved to Newcastle, where my parents’ old house is.

Since I was unemployed, I had a lot of free time. I used it by constructing a garden in the front yard. It had been neglected for more than a decade. Eventually, I went on to landscape the entire property from the front to the back. Due to the increase in real estate prices, I couldn’t afford to buy a house, so I built a small granny flat instead. It’s a type of housing commonly known as a tiny house.

Bird Of Paradise. Photo supplied by the author.

My tiny house, ‘Bird Of Paradise,’ is named after the line of bird of paradise plants I planted along the walkway to my house.

Despite never having imagined living in a tiny house, this unique design with only the size of 32 sqm has made it a desirable, unique living option. It is in the backyard. So, it offers a peaceful environment away from neighbouring homes. Only for a while, it’s my little paradise.

The lockdown had ended, and people had started travelling again. Unfortunately, I was still unemployed. To earn some extra money, I rented my place on Airbnb. Although it was tough to decide since I had just moved in and was looking forward to living alone, I eventually went ahead.



Doody Richards

A Travel writer based in Newcastle, Australia. Passionate about exploring places, people & cultures. Published travel stories in various magazines and a memoir.