Why We're Moving to the Countryside
If you follow me on Instagram, chances are that you already know that we're selling our house in Manchester and relocating to the countryside. Not only am I leaving the city, but I'm going to be living in Yorkshire for the first time in my life, in a town that is over an hour's drive from my current house and doesn't have Deliveroo. Some say we're crazy, but we know that this is the right move for us, and we're currently waiting rather impatiently for everything to go through. So, why are we doing it?
Now, selling your home in the suburbs of an amazing city, close to all of your friends and your job might sound nuts - especially when I tell people that I will continue to commute to the other side of Manchester for work. But this is something that we've been thinking about for years, and the more I've spoken to people who have made a similar move, the more I've thought that this is the right time to go for it. I'm sick of taking my dog for her evening walk on the grey streets where we currently live, I'm sick of the pollution and rubbish thrown all over the floor, sick of the view out of my bedroom window. I want fresh air, green landscapes and the ability to walk within a few minutes and find myself surrounded by fields.
Originally, our dream was to build our dream home, or perhaps to live on a barge. We wanted to do something different, to drastically change our lives for the better. I'm not into this whole conventional marriage/kids/9-to-5/three bed house in the suburbs thing that seems to be constantly pushed on us all. I want a home, not just a house; someplace that we can create ourselves that will be a cosy and welcoming space to live, work and entertain. After our original plans were thwarted by everything from lack of funds to lack of land (and a realisation that we own too much stuff for the barge idea), we started looking at properties in the area that we've always wanted to move to. We both fell in love with the same house, and - finger's crossed! - everything is so far on track.
It's a house that needs a lot of TLC. There's walls to knock down, electric fires to rip out (to make room for the wood burning stove I've always dreamed of), and it's currently completely lacking a kitchen and bathroom. The gardens need tons of work, the interiors need completely decorating, and we're going to be homeless while doing all of the work. But it will be worth it. I'm already imagining that first night, when all of the work is complete and we finally move in our belongings and spend our first night in our dream house.
But couldn't we find our dream house where we are now? In a word, no. Before I even get started on aesthetics, it's almost impossible to buy a house in the area of Manchester that we currently live in. Prices have skyrocketed since my boyfriend bought our house back in 2009 and quite frankly, we're priced out of the area. But even if we could afford to buy in south Manchester, we wouldn't want to. Part of my dream home is the perfect house, but it's also the location and the outside space. Our new property is on a quiet little road, up a hill above our new town. It's semi-detached but there's open land to the left and the woods behind, so it almost feels more secluded. There's a large garage that we'll be converting to use as another room, and two large gardens to the front and rear that we have lots of plans for. We're surrounded by open countryside, with an abundance of interesting walks on our doorstep. Within the time it currently takes me to walk to the tram stop, we can be up on a hill, looking down onto our new town nestled in the valley below. The views will never get old.
Then we come to my new mantra. Slow living. I've been thinking about the content that I want to share on here and on my Instagram feed, and I've decided to put the focus on a slower pace of life. I've tried the career-driven, 9-5, rushed off my feet, constantly stressed thing and it isn't for me. Ever since leaving full time employment to spend half my working week freelancing, I've been thinking that there are other changes that I wanted to make to my life. I love the balance of working three days a week in my job and spending the rest of the week blogging and writing, and slowing down my working life has made me realise that I want to take that slow thing further.
I'm a little bit obsessed with all things Nordic, and constantly find myself reading articles about the way of life in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and Norway, wondering how I can translate a little bit of that Scandi lifestyle to my own life. One thing that's always been on my mind is my surroundings. Being in the city, I feel like it's so easy to just stay in the house or nip into town for a wander around the shops - when I really want to be spending the majority of my time breathing in fresh air and stretching my legs in the countryside.
I love the idea of keeping chickens, growing our own vegetables, letting our dog run around open fields several times each day, and taking myself off for a quick walk with my camera whenever I need a creative boost. In summer, I want to swim in lakes and rivers, take picnics up to the top of hills, and sit in my garden at night watching for shooting stars. In winter, snowy walks and cosy pubs beckon. I know I have a rather romantic view of life in the countryside, but I know people who have already made the move who back up my views.
So, hopefully we will soon be leaving the house that we have called home for almost nine years, to sleep on friend's sofas for a month or two while we renovate our (finger's crossed!) new home. I'll be sharing more posts here documenting our journey, reflecting back on our decision as we settle into our new life and sharing the story of how we will be transforming our empty shell into a cosy home.
If you, yourself have made a similar move, I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below!