On my recent interview with Shannon Ables of The Simply Luxurious Life, I mentioned in our conversation that my husband and I were in the process of changing our lifestyle quite radically. I’ve had a few questions for more details so I thought I’d do a post on our lifestyle changes.
About eighteen months ago my husband and I started talking about where we live and what we do, and the outcome of these talks is that we have decided to leave our city life and move to the small town where I grew up, selling our business and doing something completely different when we shift there.
Currently we live in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand with a population of near 1.4 million people; however I’ve always dreamed about moving to the country or a small town (or both) to live a quiet and simple life. Luckily my husband shares this desire.
We do actually live a quiet and simple ‘small-town’ life in the city, but I know it will be so much more relaxing to live in a smaller place without traffic congestion issues and with less people overall. I always love going back ‘home’ when I visit, for the quiet streets, wide-open sky and calming country feel.
Many years ago my dad made a very wise statement when he pointed to a map of somewhere big (I can’t remember where, it was a city like London or New York) and said ‘concentration of people is the problem’ and we still laugh about that because he loves his slow life in the country, but now, I’m just the same! I know our cats will love it too; it's quite a built-up-cat neighbourhood where we live.
The place where I grew up - Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay - is on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It was a pretty sleepy place in the 1970s and 1980s when I was growing up, but in the mid-80s people started planting grape vines after realising the dry climate with hot days and cool nights was ideal for wine production. Now, Hawke’s Bay is an attractive destination for both visitors and those wanting to escape the 'rat race' permanently (funnily enough I have heard people talk about being ‘Auckland refugees’ or ‘traffic refugees’ who have moved there).
We are both so excited about ‘moving into’ our dream life and it’s only a matter of time now. We’re ticking things off on our big to-do list and we're planning that within six months we will be there. It will be quite novel for us to have time off together too, because for the past twelve years we’ve run a seven-day business with mostly just us two as staff. And we’ve only known each other thirteen years in total!
My husband worked out how many extra days off per year he'd have (adding together weekends, public holidays and paid leave) going into a normal job and it’s more than being self-employed. We’re very grateful to our business though, and have received many blessings from the experience, in spite of having worked a lot. As well as earning money, it actually saved us money since we never had time off to browse the shops together or have Sunday brunch out, plus we’ve learned a lot from running a small business. And there's nothing like working in a shop all day to cure you of shopping for leisure so it's quite good for keeping clutter at bay too.
Just a change of pace and change of scenery will be wonderful. I’m so grateful to be in a position to not have to get a full-time job; I could work part-time or even work from home with my writing. That would be my dream. And because we have a low-cost lifestyle it will be achievable for us.
We’ve had fun looking at real estate online and thinking about what kind of house we’d like to live in and how much land we want. I feel really grateful that we are able to do this, and really, it’s just a decision.
As I also mentioned to Shannon on our interview, in my mid-forties I now realise I’m in the second half of my life. Do I want to save all the good stuff for when I’m retired? Why not enjoy life now? Sometimes I feel like we keep on doing the same thing because we've always done the same thing. That's the only reason I can think of to explain why I have been doing the same old thing for almost thirty years now without putting my head up and looking around to see what else there is.
I’ve mentioned Brian Tracy’s ‘zero-based thinking’ before, and that’s what we used to come to the decision we made. We talked a lot about Would we open a retail business now if we didn't already have one? Would we live in this city if we were choosing where we wanted to live? Where would we live if not here? Overseas? Somewhere else in New Zealand?
We talked about whether we wanted to live overseas, but I think we’ll stay in New Zealand for now. We both love living here, love how New Zealand is so far away from everything and love being close to our families. It’s cool to think about all the possibilities though.
What about you? If you could start over, what would be your ideal scenario? Would it be where you live and what you are doing right now? If not, then what?