When I first saw today’s Podmus prompt, I thought this wasn’t very interesting, but then I realized that I haven’t actually talked much about where I live and why.
I live on the border of Chester and North Wales, and the reason I live here is simply because this is where I grew up. I moved here with my family when she was almost 6 years old. My parents and younger brother still live locally.
I’ve always wanted to move away from this area, but when I left to attend college, I never imagined I’d end up coming back. After university I traveled for a few years and then moved to London, but as the years went by it became increasingly unlikely that I would return to Wales.
But when I was around 26 years old, something changed and it was like a switch was turned on in my heart. I went from craving adventure and excitement to suddenly craving a mixture of excitement and a stable home. Looking back, this was the first step towards growth and retention!
Sam is also from the area and most of his family lives locally. Sam is a much more homely person than I am and he missed his family when we lived in London. We’re both from the same region, so we’ve always considered this our home and what unites us.
What surprised us was that almost all of our friends were also staying in the area. I talk to many people whose friends from school and college have all moved away from the area they grew up in, and when they return to see their parents, they have no friends there. But for Sam and I this is quite the opposite. You can count on one hand the number of friends who have left the area!
At first I thought this was a little strange. Why didn’t anyone try to leave? Why hasn’t anyone been adventurous and tried something new?
But as I got older, my mindset definitely changed and I realized that no one quits because there’s no better place to be.
We live in a nice area with lots of jobs, lots of homes, and lots of things to do. It’s a two-hour train journey from London, but also two hours from some of Wales’ most stunning countryside and beautiful coastline. You can be in Liverpool or Manchester within an hour and the city of Chester is beautiful.
While Sam and I lived in London, there were about six weekends in a row when we needed to go home for something. It was summer, the season of weddings and parties, christenings, new babies, new homes, and gatherings with family and friends. Every Friday afternoon, we packed up and joined the masses on the M25, enduring five hours of traffic during the long journey back to Wales.
When I finally arrived home Friday night, I felt like life just got a little better. The air was cleaner, people were happier and friendlier, I knew everyone at the local pub, and (most importantly!) it cost less than £9 for a glass of wine! We loved being with family and friends, but gradually it became harder and harder to be away.
Sunday afternoon we repacked our bags and returned to the M25 to join the masses heading back to London.
This was outrageous.
Why would I try to build a new life in London when I already had one in Wales? Once I started thinking this way, I knew I would end up moving home, but then I moved to London. It became difficult to settle properly in.
Then a few things happened at the same time and it made sense for us to move back home.
I became a freelancer, traveled a lot and no longer needed to be in a London office. So Sam ended up spending a lot of time alone in his ridiculously expensive apartment, which wasn’t fun for anyone. Sam came home for the weekend and was chatting in a pub with his old boss, who had offered to take him back to his old job. Then, the lease on my London apartment came to an end, and I had to choose between renewing it for another year or finding another place.
That was the deciding factor when I looked at the types of properties I could rent in Chester for the same price as a flat in London.
And now here we are.
In 2015 we purchased an old house that was completely destroyed and needed a complete restoration project. The house was completely demolished and we started all over again from scratch and are now building a lovely little house next to the river in a beautiful village.
^ This is now my kitchen!
^ And this is now George’s bedroom and family bathroom!
When I first came back to the area, I honestly think I was bored. There wasn’t much to do compared to London, and I felt like the pace of life was very slow and repetitive. I felt like I was stuck in Groundhog Day and for months I wondered if we made the right decision. But I was still well-traveled and enjoyed the balance between crazy international travel and coming home to this quiet village to recharge for my next adventure.
It wasn’t until George was born that I was 100% sure that our decision to move back was the right one. It’s great to have family close by. The slow pace of village life is also perfect for young children. Now I love walking around the village and getting to know almost everyone. I love going to the park and it takes an hour for my school run because I get to know all the moms and kids there and I get to stop and chat with everyone along the way.
I really love being part of a community and that’s something you don’t get in London and it becomes more and more important to me as I get older. I still enjoy this balance of slow living and frequent travel. I think it would be a struggle if I didn’t travel often, but so far it’s been working perfectly!
You can read more about my house and the renovation project here…
Home Improvement Project: 8 Months Later….
Our attic converted bedroom
Decorate your child’s travel-themed bedroom
Decorate your kitchen with a travel theme
A sneak peek of our new home – Looking at this now, I can’t believe I bought it. That was terrible!