Some people love living in the city. They love the hustle and bustle and choices that buzz around everywhere, from midnight coffee breaks to weekend bar hopping, to a huge choice of schools with unique programs and speciality courses. There are shops for everything and variety at your fingertips.
It’s not for everyone though.
The pollution, the noise, tiny backyards, traffic jams, high rental and real estate prices, the impossibility of getting an appointment at the dentist or a parking spot at the shops or the school gate, the road tolls, the council tax… For some people city life is all about stress, dragging yourself through the rat race day in, day out.
Some people find city living miserable. They find corporate office jobs suffocating. They hate that their children are being raised by day-care. But what choice do you have, this is where the jobs are, right…
You do have a choice for where you live. Feeling stuck with no choices can be the biggest factor for stress and depression. Just knowing you have a choice, even if you don’t take it, can mean the world of difference to your state of mind.
So let’s talk about a tree change: what’s involved, what it’s like and how you can achieve it to see if it’s the right move for you.
There are some things you will need to consider before anything else happens.
- Are you (and, if required, your family) okay with being a long way from family?
This is a big one to consider if you have a young family and you currently get a lot of support from friends and family. Until you get to know people and make new friends, the experience of moving might be isolating.
- Are you flexible with new job opportunities?
You might need to be willing to switch trades, maybe to something new where you need to start from the bottom up. Regional jobs tend to be service oriented, do you have skills you can use to work in hospitability, education, farming, tourism or retail?
- Can you (or your partner) take your job with you?
It’s a lot easier to make a move if you have a business, work from home, can submit online or transfer to a regional office. If you have these options open you have the added benefit of a steady income flowing in while you move and get settled.
If work is an issue you might want to consider a half move. One parent moves to the country with the kids, the other stays in the city and works with visits on the weekends. It’s not going to work for every couple. The right choice is the one that feels right and works for your circumstances.
Still interested in making a tree change? Let’s look at what’s involved.
It’s essential that you personally check out the area you are thinking of moving to. Every rural and regional community has a different feel, space and facilities. Make a list of what’s important to you and spend as much time as you can exploring your possible new town.
The list you make needs to be detailed. Anything you cannot live without needs to be known, well before you leave. Consider things like;
- School (primary and secondary)
- Proximity to freeway/highway
- Proximity to major hospital
- Weather (some rural areas are subject to floods, snow, bushfire and drought)
- Proximity to work and number of work options
Other factors might be important to you like a public swimming pool, public library, walking or biking trails, snowfields, water sports, cinema, airport, conference centre, kids playgrounds or possibly even quality coffee.
Really think about what you want your tree change to look like, be like and feel like and visit as many possible destinations as many times as you can to make sure you have a match.
The other thing you can expect is a lot of driving. It’s normal, as in, ‘I forget I do that’ kind of normal to do a 100 kilometre round trip to go to the bank. Of course you’ll group all your ‘town’ chores together and get them all done in one day, but it’s fair to expect to do about 500 kilometres a week. You will need a reliable car and good driving skills. If you haven’t spent a lot of time driving in the country make sure you get plenty of practice when you arrive and go slow, there are a lot of differences, including poor lighting (a problem at night as well as dawn and dusk when animals are on the move), soft edges, higher speeds, high beam etiquette, peripheral vision for roos, cows, goats, sheep, horses, wombats, koalas… expect anything.
WHAT IT’S LIKE?
Part of the experience of a tree change will be unique to the area you choose. Overall you can expect things to be:
- Incredible atmosphere
- More wildlife encounters
- More centred/grounded
- More community focus and activity
- Amazing views
- Less taken for granted
- More time with family
- More freedom for kids
- Your friends and family will use your spare room (a lot)
HOW CAN YOU ACHIEVE IT?
Plan. Even if you make a fast decision to move to a rural or regional area, your planning needs to be in place. If you are buying, make sure you check the property out very carefully (LINK to ‘what to look for’ article) Understand the distances to the facilities you need and be sure you can adapt so that your solitude is one of adventure, not being stranded.
Say yes to every opportunity. When locals have a function or invite you along, say yes. It’s the fastest way to make friends and become part of the tribe. Keep an eye out for Neighbourhood Watch, school programs and charity events that you can help out at and get to know people.
Relax. At first the tranquil sounds of nature might have you nervous, it’s almost too quiet… relax and go with the flow and take the good with the bad. Yes you’re kids are safe to walk to school because everyone has their eyes on them to keep them safe, yes those same people will know your every move and aspect of your personal life. Know that they care, know you are part of something big and take the time to stop and smell the roses.
Peta Stewart – Certified Practicing Conveyancer