As you may have seen in the ‘about’ section of my blog I have recently (it seems like recently but it’s actually been 6 months!) moved to a completely different part of the country after literally being born in the house where I lived all of my life – until now.
I am originally from Windsor but after much deliberation between my parents, they decided to relocate to Devon for a quieter life. This was interesting timing for me as I was just graduating from university and planning to start finding my career route. I thought I’d explain a few changes in my life and things I’ve noticed since moving.
Walking everywhere: I’m actually really used to walking everywhere, both at home and when I was at uni but now even the essentials seem just so many steps away. walk 25 minutes to work, and 25 minutes in the opposite direction to the gym. I know this isn’t really much but when I’m super busy just ‘popping’ to the gym isn’t possible with a 50 minute overall travel time. Having said this, the fast paced walk and often a jog back does act as both a warm up and an extension of my workout, so I’m rather grateful for that!
Learning to drive: Where I come from, I never felt the need to drive as everything was so close and I always found myself saving for other things whether they be travelling or uni. Then I actually went to uni, living on campus in my first year and in the centre of all the Brighton hustle and bustle in my second and third year. I was so close to everything and the public transport in Brighton is top notch so again I never needed, nor could I afford to drive. Living here is a different story. Not being able to drive isn’t really an option and although it’s quite frustrating sometimes, I’m actually rather glad of the push to do it because let’s face it I would have to do it some day!
In our small town there is only one clothes shop among the quirky yet old fashioned shops, New Look. There is also retail outlet in the area and lots of supermarkets but just not real shopping. Around 8 miles away there is a slightly larger town but even still the shopping is limited. However, I definitely think n some ways this is good as it means that I’m not spending all of my money on things I don’t need.
Of course the solution to this is that most shopping needs to be done online… and I’ve been told never to order anything last minute while living here (next day delivery etc.) because it’s unlikely to arrive! I have always preferred shopping in store but I’m getting used to having to buy even the smallest things online.
In this little town, most if not all shops close early. Half past 5 is the latest on week days, Saturdays there is lunch time closing and Sundays being closed all day is still a thing. In some ways this is rather nice – for example no rushing around at Christmas for the sales. In terms of going down to my new favourite little cafe on a Weekend when my boyfriend has come to visit – well it’s closed so…
Friends: living so far away means that I just can’t engage socially like I could living where I used to. Although I did not live in London, I could hop on the train and be at Paddington in precisely 16 minutes. Now it’s more like 5 hours. So now that a lot of my friend’s lives have moved to London or even just still in my home town I can’t do those last minute after work drinks, or even most things at the weekend. Going back to see them means arranging a place to stay, paying a hefty train fair and just being generally knackered from trying to get back in time for work on Monday morning. But as I’ve said before, I know this isn’t a permanent move for me and all in all I’ll be grateful for the saved money in a year’s time!
Boyfriend: Although a similar story to my friendship situation, having a long distance boyfriend is something that’s on another level. Although it may seem trivial, especially compared to one of my good friends whose boyfriend is living in America – it’s still difficult. I’d like to do a separate post about how we cope etc. but for now I’ll just say it’s hard but it’s working, mainly because we know what we’re working towards.
Family: after living away from home for the last three years while studying (and not going back that often to visit) I’m actually really enjoying being back home with my family, I’m one of 5 children and since moving my eldest siblings have moved elsewhere meaning the house is a lot quieter. I’m especially loving spending time with my youngest sister as she’s only ten and I found it pretty hard being away from her so much for 3 years… as if I was missing her growing up. My dad has retired from his very stressful job after 30 years and my mum is just finding what she would like to pursue as a career after almost 30 years of being ‘mum’ – so it’s lovely to spend time with them and see them have a much more chilled out life. Looking ahead, I’m really looking forward to coming back to visit here especially in the summer – it will be like having a holiday home that really feels like home.
In terms of work, north Devon is not the most up and coming place meaning that looking at career choice and insight, there is completely nothing in relation to what I could have done in London. I’m a bit of an odd one when it comes to my career goals because after completing a law degree most may assume that is what I would like to do, however I honestly do not know. I feel like my current mind-set is that there is sooo many things I would love to do with my life that I am completely unable to choose one path to head for. I won’t even try to conjure up my dream job to write in this post because I’m honestly 100% stuck right now. Not only are there limited jobs available, especially for somebody who cannot drive, but also I feel that I’m missing out on so many opportunities to apply for internships and get experience in order to find what I want to do.
In the mean time I’ve found a reasonable position as a learning mentor/teaching assistant and it is tough. I will say it right now, the job is tough and the pay is rubbish! And I know it sounds silly for me to have taken a job when I describe it like that, but when you search for jobs around here the first listed on Indeed is genuinely a dairy farmer apprentice… so I took what I could get! And don’t worry, I’m still very positive and working towards whatever my career may be – hopefully back in London.
I already mentioned above what my current job is, and that I’m living at home. I’m very lucky in that my parents do not charge me rent purely because they know I’m saving to eventually own my own property, plus they don’t actually have a mortgage of their own anymore so they’re trying to help as best they can. Despite this I do a lot around the house, and give them bit’s and bobs of money here and there when I can. It would seem that theoretically I would be able to save a lot more money and don’t get me wrong, I do save a lot (I generally try to put half of what I earn each month into savings). However as I have said, the pay rate around here is not great. I suppose this is reflected in such things as the low house prices but for someone wanting to move back towards London, it isn’t ideal.
There are obviously things that are a bonus of being a generally cheaper, e.g. going to the pub and buying a round for the price of two drinks back home. Although I will say that interestingly our council tax is higher, which is something I never expected!
As well as saving, another thing that does put strain on my finances is seeing any of my friends, family or my boyfriend. Not only does it take me around 5 hours by train but the average cost of a trip home is around £50 plus whatever activities I get up to when I’m there. I tend to do a bit of a circuit when I go back and see as many friends and family as I can while I’m there, but this can easily amount to over £100 each time! As for seeing my boyfriend, he tends to come to my house mostly as it’s just easier and at £40 each way for petrol that puts a strain on both of us.
All of these things separately may seem quite minuscule but once added together I must admit moving has been quite hard for me. As always I’m trying to stick to my 2017 goal of staying positive and I’m generally finding the bright side of everything that comes my way!
Let me know any tips you have on moving away, saving etc!