Thinking about a sea change or tree change?
There’s a certain magic about a summer holiday – sitting on a beach, far from home, looking at the endless expanse of ocean and blue skies, finally relaxing. And then the thought hits you – I could live here!
One of the questions we’ve been asked at Project Displaced is: What advice would you give to people who are considering moving out of the big cities and to a regional city or country location?
Covid has created enormous social change, including the shift to working from home. And technically, working from home could mean working anywhere.
And if you don’t have a job at the moment but want to spread your wings a bit, a change of scenery might open up new opportunities for you.
So it can be tempting to think about relocating – alone or with the family, with or without an existing job – and creating a brand new life, whether that’s a sea change or tree change.
Here are 3 things to think about before moving to a new area.
1. Holidays are usually a magic time but magic isn’t forever.
We have fewer responsibilities, more time to do what we enjoy, less of the day-to-day grind, and we can spend quality time alone or with family and friends.
But part of the magic is that we intrinsically know that time is limited. We know we have to return to ‘real life’ and so we revel in the holiday knowing it will soon end.
So think about whether you’re picturing this as a real life or as a fantasy life.
A psychologist we spoke to said it’s also important to ensure you’re not running away from life problems.
“Making a change for the right reasons is fine, but running away? You’ll only take those problems with you.”
The right reasons include a genuine desire for new experiences and to broaden your life in a positive way.
2. Holiday destinations give us what we need but can they give us the life we want?
When you’re there on escape, it can be easy to overlook the minutiae of a location – we only really see what we require for our immediate needs – a supermarket, bottle store, butcher, a chemist, local club … the usual sources of our food and other basics.
When making the decision to live there though, it’s important to think about elements such as:
- Access to public transport
- Access to hospitals and medical care (particularly if you have children)
- Strength of mobile and wifi – good connectivity is essential if you’re planning to continue your usual work from your new location.
It’s also important to ask yourself about the value you place on diversity – of people, food, variety of cafes, restaurants, and lifestyle in general. A simplified life can be fun on holiday but if you live a life that’s rich in new experiences , relocating to an isolated location might not work in the long run.
3. Holidays are here for a good time, not a long time.
In other words, you don’t have a need to build an foundation that will last when you’re on holidays.
Making a new life is different.
So think about how good you are at making friends. While it’s not essential to be besties, it is important to know if you’ll be isolated or meeting up with other people to help you and introduce you to others.
Having a local network also means you hear about activities, events, and importantly, job opportunities.
Sometimes it’s easier when you have children at school, but equally it might be harder – many people have known each other for years and it’s hard to break in.
Also, summer doesn’t last forever – so think about what your destination would look like year-round.
Finally, unless you’ve lived there before or have family and friends in the area, you won’t have quick and easy answers to these questions. So go back to basics.
Do your research.
Rent as a test run.
The psychologist said: “Our past tends to dictate our future. This isn’t absolute, of course, anyone can change their circumstances. But when changing your situation, what you want to avoid is simply repeating the patterns that got you here.”
In other words, it’s easy to be lulled into false sense of security about what your life would be like in a different setting. Just make sure it’s based in fact and clarity.
Thinking about making a big decision like this? One of our consultants can help and guide you with services like mindset coaching and career coaching. Take a look at the services we offer.