I’m in a huge dilemma at the moment about where to live. We seem to have narrowed it down to three options, but none of them are easy: move to …
the Isle of Wight…
To give you the background, when I met my Hampshire-based husband I was living in Sheffield and was applying for jobs around Brighton and Bournemouth looking for a complete change of scenery. I had interviews lined up, but then things in my job changed and they asked me to consider staying on longer. I stayed up north for another year and during that time things moved on in our relationship so Husband and I decided to get a place together close enough to his work in Gosport on the south coast. This meant ditching my idea of living in Bournemouth or Brighton as both were a bit too far for him to commute. We rented for a while and then bought a house in Fareham (in between Portsmouth and Southampton). I never really wanted to live in this area, but the places I did want to live were way out of our budget or too far away. Fareham is a nice little market town so we felt it was a sensible and decent place to buy in. There is nothing wrong with where we live – there is a lovely little town centre with good shops, we live close to a pretty creek and nice playground for the kids – it just doesn’t feel like home to me. You know how when you’re buying a house, there is no scientific reason why you like one and not another? Well that’s how I feel here – it’s somewhere that has everything I need but the feeling in my gut is missing. I’ve never felt settled, even though I’ve been here for about nine years now. It would be so easy to stay, send our kids to school here and never leave. I have friends here. Husband’s family are all near. Being here is easy. But then I’m a firm believer that anything worth doing is hard, and if we want to all be happier we need to make it happen.
We’ve been looking into moving across the water to the Isle of Wight for a while now. I’ve been keeping an eye on RightMove for the past couple of years to track house prices there while we finish renovating our house. Houses are cheaper there but Husband would have a commute of over an hour each way (compared with five minutes each way at the moment) on a couple of ferries and a bus which would increase out outgoings. We’d still be able to afford a bigger house even allowing for the cost of the commute. It felt like it would be a good move for our family. Open spaces, great beaches, less traffic and a more laid-back way of life all round.
Only now it’s sounding like Husband’s aviation job is in jeopardy. In three years time, two big contracts at his work are ending and potentially a couple of hundred staff his niche job role could be looking for work. There isn’t really much else in the aviation industry here, so this changes everything.
Moving to the IOW would limit his commute options, so we can’t do it unless he could find a job on the island (there are a couple of aircraft places there but they probably pay less which means a mortgage company might not lend us what we’d like to borrow). Thinking ahead, if he did get an aviation job on the island and then the company laid staff off in a year or two there wouldn’t really be any other places for him to work in his industry. Given the state of the economy, lots of businesses are going under or reducing their staff, so there is potential for this to happen.
Cornwall is another place we’ve considered before. We love it there and think it would be a great place to raise our kids, although pay is lower, so we think we’d struggle to afford a home. Looking at prices, a three bed house there is a similar price to our three bed house in Hampshire, but the jobs we’ve seen have all been about a third lower than he earns here. Then when our children grow up, how easy would they find it to get a job and buy a house if they wanted to stay in the county, as we know this is a problem faced by lots of young people growing up there?
The next option we have is to emigrate from the UK to Australia. We travelled around the country for three months in 08/09 and loved it there. When we came back to the UK we looked into it, but after having the boys we decided it was unfair to take them away from their grandparents. We’ve now started looking into it again seriously. It would still be heartbreaking to take them away from their family here, but we can see so much potential in a move. Better weather, lower crime rates, lower levels of unemployment, bigger houses for the price (although I know housing over there is more expensive, you get more square footage for your buck), better pay for Husband’s job, more open spaces, quiet beaches…the list goes on. There is also a thriving aviation industry on the east coast, and Husband has a work colleague who relocated to Brisbane a few years ago who has been giving us lots of positive advice and information.
It’s such a hard decision. We feel Australia has a lot to offer the kids and it would give us the best security in terms of Husband’s work, but I know it would be hard leaving everything behind. We could be just as happy in some other parts of the UK and have an outdoor lifestyle as much as the weather allows. No single option seems to stand out to us as definitely being the right way forward.
Do we try Cornwall or the IOW to see if either would work before ruling them out, or do we just go for it and put in our expression of interest for Australia? It’s too expensive to stop once we’ve started the main application process, so we need to know we’re going to follow it through. Moving is likely to cost us £10 – £20k (flights, shipping a few things over, visa fees, rent when we arrive, car hire etc.) which will take a chunk of the equity from our house sale over here. It’s not the sort of money we could ever afford again, which means the move really needs to be one way, and one way only.
If we decide to go we will need to get our head around selling almost everything we own – and Husband and I are both hoarders so this is a HUGE task, plus we’d need to get on with it quickly because we’d want to get out there before the boys start school (they’re due to start here in September 2014, or if we went to Brisbane January 2015).
Agh. It’s all making my brain ache. I can’t stop thinking about it, but I just don’t know how we can make the decision. Husband loves all of the ideas – he just wants to keep working on planes or helicopters and wants somewhere we can enjoy the outdoors. If I said I wanted to go to Australia, he’d make a start on the application, but equally if I found a perfect job in the right part of the UK he’d put in for that too. Although I’m sure his heart is in Australia and there would always be an element of regret for him if we didn’t go. I think I feel the same way too.
Does anyone have any special decision making strategies I could use to get my head around which is the best option for us? We need to do something otherwise we’ll just end up staying here and in three years we could be in a tricky situation of having an out of work husband who can’t find a job.
Have any of you made a huge move? Or maybe you considered it but decided against it? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. What do you think we should do?!! All comments would be really appreciated. xxx
Troubles Mum says
I would follow my heart but my heart is in the UK so that’s easy for me to say! I have never considered moving abroad, even for the weather. For all its faults, I love the UK and see different disadvantages to living in other places too.
I don’t see the sense in trying lots of places either. Like you say, it’s not a cheap process and a couple of bad moves could set you back years financially-speaking.
Why don’t you come back up here? The aviation industry is patchy here (they seem to be in a continuous cycle of redundancies up at the BAe plant) but the house would be half the price and take the pressure off a little. You know how fab the beaches and outdoor life can be up this way (Yorks/Lincs) and you’d be near family here too. But that’s me.
Whatever you decide, I’m sure it’ll be the right move. You’ve obviously thought about it a lot and, at the very core, you have your family’s best interests at heart, which is so important. You know what to do. 🙂
Don’t think we haven’t considered that one – we’ve considered EVERYWHERE! We’ve recently looked at two jobs in Lincolnshire (where my family are) at the same level and both paid about half what he earns here, so even worse than Cornwall. Houses are cheaper around Lincoln but not really enough for us to afford it. His trade is a skilled one but it just doesn’t seem to pay in some parts of the country. During the daytime my heart says Australia is where we want to be. At night I start thinking of family and distance and then I’m back to thinking IOW or Cornwall again. But the bonus would be that if he worked for an airline out there (as his friend does in Brisbane) we’d get some free flights each year which would mean we could afford to come back to the UK to visit every year or two. I think we’ve thought of this so much over the last four years that we need to do it to get it out of our system – if we don’t I think we’ll always regret it. But I know it’ll be so hard to make the move. Aghhh! x
As a twin mum in Australia I can tell you that this is a beautiful place to live. I know quite a few other couples who have moved over to Australia from the UK who love it but as you know it is a massive move so you need to seriously consider it. There are a lot of pluses to moving here but from my friends I know it is hard at times to be so far away from family. They find that lots of communication is key with their family back in the UK and making friends is really important. Your lucky that your hubby already knows someone who lives here as that is a huge advantage to you guys.
Thanks for your reply! I already live a five hour drive away from my parents so I’m thinking what is a 20hr flight in comparison! We can Skype and email and hopefully get to see each other once every year or so (husband’s job would hopefully come with free or discounted flight). I know it would be hard but they know we’re thinking about where we’d like to raise our kids which is the most important thing. It is really hard but I think in our hearts we want to be in Australia. x
Musings from a mum says
I grew up on IoW and it is a great place for children but I have to say I don’t think I could go back (although I am writing this on ferry as going over for afternoon). My reluctance would be the commute- having to rely on ferries even with good planning can be frustrating. But other things like how busy the island gets in peak season, the difficulty in getting jobs, the cost involved in getting off all stop me from going ‘home’. My brother and family are still there and love it though so just my view.
It’s so hard to find the ‘perfect’ place to live! You’ve obviously thought about it a lot and hopefully will come up with right move for you all.
Thanks, it’s great to hear a viewpoint on this. We’ve only spent odd holiday weeks on the island so the reality of living there could, and probably is, very different from what we’re hoping for. And the idea of the long commute with two ferries and a bus sounds a bit of a nightmare. Plus I really doubt he’ll find a job there that is secure and pays enough anyway. Agh. #Brainache. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds with a lovely place to go back to for visits on sunny days like today! xx
Jess McGlynn says
We are in exactly the same predicament. OH is an engineer and would find a lot more opportunities in New Zealand or Australia but is having a hard time considering leaving family behind. My daughter starts school this September so it any major decisions wouldn’t be made for another year at least as I think it would be unfair to move her and make her wait another year. It’s so hard isn’t it!! I don’t have any magic answer only that I would hate to live with regret, so if it’s something you feel strongly about, maybe that’s your answer?
My favourite saying is you only regret the things you don’t do in life, not the things you do. I think we’re going to need to try it even though I know it’ll be really hard. If only we could drag the UK a bit closer, it would make all our lives much easier wouldn’t it! Thanks for commenting. xx
Great insightful post, love it. We’re just starting the paper trail that is trying to go to Oz. the big question so still is, do we really want to stay over there for good? Well on the one hand you have a better life for us and the boys and on the other you have family who would be incredibly pissed off!
It’s a hard one. My family don’t want us to go but they have admitted if they were younger and had thought about it when me and my brothers were kids they’d have probably emigrated. My grandparents-in-laws are always telling me not moving to Australia is their biggest regret in life. I don’t want it to be mine. x
Dawn Frazier says
It’s a difficult decision to make. I was born and grew up in Fareham so to me, that is home. I like the idea of the Isle of Wight but with regards to job opportunities you would be more limited. I have heard that Australia has a very much more relaxed way of life, and if you like the outdoors then this is a good choice. Good luck with whatever you decide!
Thanks for your comment. As I said, Fareham is a great town it’s just that elusive feeling of ‘home’ that I’m looking for. I really want to put down roots and be settled for the long haul. I think chatting to people through here and on Twitter we’ve decided that the Isle of Wight isn’t the answer. It’s too risky with limited work options and once we move we want to be able to settle and stay there rather than worrying what happens if Husband loses his job in the future. That leaves two options: Cornwall or Australia! I knew blogging about it was a good idea. Watch this space! xx
As another Aussie twin mum I can tell you Australia is fantastic and we currently have a pretty good economy. We live 2 hours west of Brisbane and love it! The weather here is a little cooler than in Brisbane but Brisbane is fantastic, even in winter the temperature doesnt really get below 20 degrees which is fantastic for kids!
My husband and I have talked about moving to the UK for a year or two a couple of times before. We have two dogs and wouldn’t want to stress them with the move or having to stay somewhere so we wouldn’t think about doing until they were no longer with us. Hopefully by then your healthcare system will be in a better place because my husband and I both work in healthcare.
We have often thought about how we would cope being so far from family particularly now we have the boys, but with technology it is much easier to keep in contact then it used to be. Plus gives the grandparents an excuse/reason to travel overseas!
Goodluck with your decision!
Thanks for the comment – it’s such a hard decision isn’t it! Funny that we’re looking at swapping lifestyles – I suppose everyone wants what they don’t have! Good luck with whatever you decide too. xx
Wow, those beaches look amazing! Looks like some fun options!
Lots of beautiful options – just need to get our decision making head on and decide which one we want to go for! Eeek! x
I can tell you do not move to Australia, the country is nice from tourist view, but if you have to cope with daily life here, then is it not much different than in Europe, every Aussie will tell you how excellent country it is, if you want that your children are educated and get quality education for free of charge, stay in Europe, I work in vocational education sector here, but I have been trained in Europe and what I can see here, the quality, behavior that is really ridiculous, everywhere just shortcuts, but they will ask you to pay like for 5 star service. Health system more expensive than in Germany or Easter Europe, dentists prices are like from cosmos, many immigrants travel thousands kms to their home country for dentist treatment, cost of living became during last years very expensive, Melbourne is 7th most expensive city in the world, average real annual salary is 45.000 before tax, people have mostly casual and part-time jobs rather than full time and the real unemployment is 16-18% not just 5% as government claims, if you survive all this and you will apply for the pension, but fortunately you will be the lucky one and own too many assets you will not get any pension even you paid a lot of taxes here ( such a style of Robin Hood system) and if your partner is younger then you will not get the pension as well, until your partner reaches pension age. So I do not wonder that Aussie are lazy!!!! More or less even you are committed to Australia, you will find the life here as European a little bit frustrated, boring and isolated. Many Europeans returns in their home countries after several years!!! Australia is good country for people who have trade skills and are able to run own businesses. Otherwise it is not worth, but depends what you are looking for……