By Natalie Trice
There’s no escaping the fact that relocating can be daunting, even if you are moving to your ideal location by the beach, where you can drink sangrias as the sunsets as the kids jump in the pool. However, it can also be amazingly life changing and that’s why I have written How to Relocate.
In the summer of 2016, after years of surgery for my youngest son, we packed up our suburban life and moved to south Devon for a change of pace and life by the sea. As I drove down the M5, a heavy weight of expectation, exhaustion and conformity was lifted from my shoulders. I rolled down the windows, put on my sunglasses and breathed for the first time in years. It felt so good, and I’ve never, ever looked back.
This move wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t popular with everyone, but, even six years on, as I drive along the coastal road each morning to take the boys to school, I smile the biggest smile knowing that against all the odds, we did it.
Reaching our final destination (but probably not our forever home) was a dream that became a reality, and I hope that these tips will help you work out if relocating could be the change you’ve been looking for.
Create a Relocation Vision Board
If you want to start making relocating a reality, get your images out of your head and onto a vision board. Brainstorm the villages, towns, and countries you want to move to. Dream big, write lists, draw maps, add images, and start to piece together what home looks like for you if you could relocate. Cut images from magazines, collect postcards, print out houses from moving websites and really bring together your dream in one place so you know what the goal is.
Create a master vision board for your office and then take photos of it and put them on your fridge, in your wallet and even use it as a screen saver. Doing this means you have a constant reminder of where you want to be and a daily image of the life you want could lead to being in that place sooner than you expected.
It’s all about the broadband
It’s one thing to say that when you move you will work from home, but if you rely on the internet, you need a decent connection, and speaking from experience, this isn’t always easy. Even if you love that cottage in Cornwall, with the thatched roof and aga (all for less than the cost of a semi in Surrey), if you can’t load Google, the kids can’t get onto Roblox and you can’t call your boss, it’s not going to work. It could make your relocation unsuccessful because you’ll be frustrated, uncontactable and, potentially, unemployable.
If you’re moving to be off grid and being connected to the outside world 24/7 isn’t an issue, go ahead and buy that canal boat, but if you still want to order from Asos, and need to get on Zoom for work calls, consider the internet connection.
Our Devon base when we were visiting was a Premier Inn it was clean, the beds were new, and it made a great base from which to explore and it’s how we found the village we live in now. My kids also loved the eat all you can breakfast buffet which was great as we were doing a lot of walking!
You need to experience the area you’re thinking of moving to as much as possible so you can know what will work for you in the long term, so staying can be helpful, and the more times the better. Doing this means you can get a feel for the city, town, or village you want to live in, as well as the roads (do try the school run), leisure services and local amenities. Book a few weekends away (in all seasons) and do the research before you move, to make sure you get it right.
Talk to the Locals
Talking to people who live where you want to live is a must-do when relocating. Yes, you can look online and read comments on Facebook groups, but you get so much from being there in real life and chatting to people who know the place well and can give you honest feedback. The woman on the checkout at Waitrose, the barista in the local coffee shop, the estate agents, librarians, and bus drivers are the ones who will be honest, and let’s face it, that’s what you need if your relocation is going to be a success.
I remember being in Teignmouth when we first entertained the idea of living by the sea, and I asked a woman sitting outside Costa what her thoughts about schools were. Not only did she sing the praises of her children’s school, but her openness and willingness to help me – a complete stranger – was confirmation that this could be a place for us to live, a community to be a part of and somewhere our children could thrive. You will want to check out schools and nurseries for sure, but people will be happy to help with comments and this can be a great way to find out the good, the bad and the wonderful which is what you really needed.
Don’t bombard people personal questions, but if you can strike up conversations, you’ll be amazed at the gems of information that come to the surface as you chat, and the friendships that may well follow.
Watch the weather
You can watch the forecast and check apps on your phone but noticing the weather when you’re visiting somewhere new can help you make the right decision for you. My dad used to live by the sea in Norfolk and while they didn’t get a lot of rain, the winter was really freezing and the wind that rolled in from the North Sea was vicious, so not for me!
The weather doesn’t have to be a make-or-break for you, and the climate could be one of the reasons why you’re moving, but just check in and see what’s going on to make sure it fits with your idea of a good life.
I am a big believer in being brave and agreed with Glennon Doyle when she says that we can do hard things. Yes, you might be scared, and you might not be 100%, but nothing in this life is certain so be brave, give it a go and if it doesn’t work out, you are at least one step closer to getting it right.
Good luck – you’ve got this.
How to Relocate, The Ultimate Guide to Starting Over Successfully, is out this week and published by Hatchett.
Natalie Trice, Author, Coach, PR