I’ve always lived in the same area, a small district of some 140,000 people in Kent. It’s a lovely little area, with good scenery, nice beaches, and a lot of opportunities to make memories. It also contains a good proportion of my friends and family – or is near enough to others to not mean endless commuting to see them.
There are people who are entirely comfortable moving round the country. I find this fascinating, as I’m hardwired differently; I have no desire to up sticks and create a new life somewhere else. I’ve established my life here and rather like it; I’m not restless and feed a compulsion to live somewhere entirely different.
I once worked with someone who wanted to live in Scotland; she was absolutely resolute that this was her long-term goal, and was doing everything she could to make it a reality as soon as possible. My respect for her went up the roof when I first learnt of her plans, because she was so determined and focused. It was an absolutely key part of her life, and it wouldn’t be satiated by anything vaguely similar; Scotland or bust.
It’s easier to complain about the area you live in, or believe that there’s something better over the next hill. But that’s not always feasible; it simply can’t be that easy. People have a desire to experience new cultures and get into new ways of life, but that’s not for everyone – and if you don’t like the area you live in, maybe consider helping to change things from within.
That said, of course, the wandering instinct is just too strong, or their love for someone who needs or wants to move is powerful enough to drive them forward. A friend spent two years living in Doncaster to start a new life; I was selfishly delighted when she returned “home”, but knew just as much that, had she enjoyed life up there, I wouldn’t have seen her anywhere near as much as I do now. But I would still have supported her in making the right decision, because that’s the mark of a true friend – supporting each other.
I commented to a friend the other day that I had reached the age of 37 and lived entirely in a few square miles. They were askance, as they had lived in three or four very different places before choosing to settle as adults in the next town over to me. Commendable, but it’s not one of those choices you need to make only after having travelled extensively.
I’m particularly appreciative as it means I’ve had the chance to form a close network of people living locally, as well as seeing people move to new areas and therefore give me the opportunities to visit and get to see new areas.
My pal Di moved a couple of hundred miles away last year, to live closer to her family in Bournmouth. I was sad to see her go, as she was – and is – a great friend, so we made a vow to stay in touch, and so far we have succeeded. It’s interesting to learn about new places through her eyes, and I’ve had the chance to travel down there and visit a place I wouldn’t ever have seen before.
Di settled down there well, I think; she’s started to make friends, has been able to spend so much time with her family, and engaged with hobbies. She’s a naturally sociable person, so leaving Di behind filled me with confidence in one sense; it wouldn’t take her long before she started to get to know people locally, and I was right. I don’t think I would find it as easy; despite my ability to socialise, I find it difficult to put myself out there – hence me liking a small group of people who I don’t fully let escape even when they’ve moved to an entirely new county.
I applaud anyone who’s made or is planning to make a move. It must be nerve-wracking and perhaps even a bit lonely for a while, but if you have that drive, then seize it with both hands. For those people already there, be sensitive and listen to the newbies to your area. Perhaps even give them your friendship, passing or otherwise, and help them settle in; show them round the area, help them engage with a hobby, or just check in on them when you suspect they might feel a bit lonely. Human contact always helps.