Where Our Journey Begins is a homestead region held and designed by Vivian Ewing. It’s a place we first visited fairly recently – in September 2020, in fact. However, after getting several nudges from people that the region has been redressed for the coming Spring, I suggested to Caitlyn that we hop over and take another look.
The changes made since that first visit of ours are extensive; yet at the same time, there is much about the setting that does offer a sense of continuation from that iteration to this: the curtain wall of cliffs with their waterfalls (now to the south-east of the region, rather than to the north), the use of granite-like tables of rock on which to site some of the region’s buildings, etc. This mix gives the region a pleasing sense of the familiar couple with discovery.
The land itself also offers a reminder of the former build: a large arc of land sweeping from the north-east and round to the south-west, those high falls dropping from its eastern face into a large pool of water. This in turn splits the lowlands by means of two streams that flow west and north respectively, trapping a wedge of land between them. And just off the shoreline of this wedge is a small circular island that serves as the landing point for visitors, connected as it is to the rest of the region by an ageing wooden bridge.
Across the bridge, and under the shade of ginkgo biloba and cherry blossom trees, and the turns of gulls circling above them, a track offers a choice of direction across the land, with the shorter arm directing visitors to where a path winds up the table of rock occupying the centre of this island, the longer offering a path around its base.
Which of these you take is entirely up to you. If you want to avoid getting your feet wet, then the path up to the top of the squat plateau is the best means of reaching the north-eastern “headland”, going by way of two high bridges. The first of these spans the gorge between the first plateau on the island and the second, home to a small summer house and with a much longer rope-and-wood bridge extending across the broad valley of the stream below to reach the north-east uplands.
The latter are home to a flat-topped house with flat-topped / adobe walls and an external stairway leading to the upper floor. Hemmed by trees and shrubs, it looks west towards the sea, the region’s lighthouse just visible through the foliage of two aged and gnarled trees standing guard over a garden swing. Sitting at the foot of one of these trees, and marked by a large urn, is an overgrown path that leads down, somewhat precipitously, to a small sheltered beach.
This is actually one of two beaches within the setting, the other being off to the west, reached via the second arm of the track leading away from the landing point’s bridge. steps down from this arm of the track point the way to it by way of a farm small holding with water tower, shed, tractor and livestock. Bracketing the track on its other side from the steps is a old paved area the marks the entrance to the gorge between the two humps of the island’s plateaus. It is home to a ice cream stall and outdoor seating – although those wishing for a little refreshment will have to wait in line behind the little girl who is passing on her order!
Beyond this, the track ends at a low flight of steps and a choice of routes: either across a little arched bridge crossing the second of the region’s streams, or continuing eastwards to under the broad shade of great oak trees.
A chapel and open, grassy space lie across the bridge, a pastor waiting within the chapel to conduct wedding services for L$300, the space outside being suitable for the after-service photographs. Off to the east and beyond the oak trees, there sits a caravan that looks to have been converted into a more permanent residence, complete with creature comforts such as satellite TV and a curtained deck overlooking the region’s pool and waterfalls. Like the house up on the uplands, it is unfurnished, so you’ll have to let your imagination fill in the details.
Throughout the setting are numerous touches of detail that make it ideal for photography, and a good number of places to sit and pass the time. Good use is made of EEP settings to produce a unique ambient environment, complete with rainbow for those prepared to play with the Sun position via Personal Lighting. Admittedly, the colours of the rainbow will be inverted thanks to a rendering bug (unless you are using the latest Love Me Render viewer from the Lab}, but the LMR 5 viewer does mean a fix for this issue should be filtering through to all viewers in due cause.
Overall, Where our Journey Begins remains a pleasing visit with more than enough to engage the Second life tourist.
- Where Our Journey Begins (Santa Iria, rated Moderate)