COVID-19 has completely transformed the way we work. And while many of us return to the office, there’s many who continue to work remotely – and flexible working is the new norm. Which sparks new conversations – do we actually need to live in the city anymore? Finally, that sea or tree change might be possible. For Greer Lawrence, moving from the city to the coast was exactly the change her family needed three years ago. Here, she shares her story…
Moving out of the city all happened quite spontaneously. We’ve always been drawn to the beauty of the south coast and had come away to visit friends who made the move from Bondi to Mollymook. We spent a week down here and completely fell in love. We drove away wondering if this was something we could do.
Looking back we weren’t happy living in Sydney, which is why we felt we had nothing to lose. The pace of both my husband and I working, with two small kids, juggling care, the constant expense, the endless commuting – it didn’t resonate with how we imagined we’d raise our family and we started to feel resentful.
From here, we began house hunting in Mollymook Beach and came across the home we live in. About six weeks later we went to the first open inspection (it was the only house we viewed) and made an offer. It was accepted that afternoon and with everything happening so organically, it felt impossible to deny.
Work was our first priority. My husband and I were really open with our employers regarding our plans and in fact, my husband’s company suggested a flexible work from home arrangement – which gave us hope...
It hasn’t been without its challenges; he still splits his time between Sydney and Mollymook, so the move really turned our work/life balance ideals on its head. It’s something we discuss often and we always come back to how much joy living in this beautiful coastal town brings us. With this, our family time has become more valuable than ever and coupled with a slower pace, it somehow feels more substantial.
My advice is to break down what’s standing in your way so the challenges don’t feel so overwhelming. Also don’t expect to tick every box. Ultimately the move is to evoke change and your priorities will most definitely shift.
Our family lives in Sydney and we’re very close. So not being able to see them on a whim is hard and I’ll probably never get used to the distance between us. I also miss the vibe that a big city has to offer. We have a new appreciation for the wonderful experiences that come with an urban lifestyle – the galleries, museums and restaurants.
We treated the move like an adventure and never put any pressure on ourselves to love it. I would re-iterate this in the early days, which allowed us all to process the big feelings of change. We lived close to the city for many years so the contrast was real. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the morning commute, we now drive 10 minutes through rolling hills and farms to school. It was like someone pulled the hand brake...
The first six months saw a lot of processing but the transition was natural and we completely embraced our new way of life. I knew pretty early on that we’d found our place and wanted to be apart of everything our community had to offer.
My son had only just turned two when we moved so this is his only world. However in my daughter – absolutely! Ever has always been on the anxious side and after the initial adjustment to new school and friends, some of those day-to-day worries seem to dissipate as our lives became much simpler. I kept saying to my husband “look at her – she’s so happy!”.
The beach has become our backyard and it rarely matters what time of day you’re there, you’ll always find a familiar face. After school, the kids will play till dusk. I wonder some days if they know how lucky they are? We’re outdoors, at the beach or exploring the coastline. We’re blessed to have the best of both worlds – rural and coastal. There’s an abundance of untouched beauty waiting to be discovered.
I came into this experience with an open mind and wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone. However, I never expected to find such a warm-hearted, close community. To be honest, it took me back at first - it wasn’t what we were used to. People take the time to get to know you. Everyone was so welcoming...
We made connections through the usual channels of school and we joined the local playgroup, which became a big part of our new routine. It was here we discovered many families on a similar journey and these women helped me greatly to find my way during the early days. From here I’ve made some lasting friendships through different avenues. There is an incredible force of talented women in our community who carry so much strength; they encourage and inspire me on a daily basis. I feel like we’re apart of something that’s bigger than us.
Of course, there’s nothing like the friendships I’ve had for decades and I miss them incredibly! Many come to visit often, which we love. The time together doesn’t feel fleeting, it’s slow and relaxed and always quality.
Since the move, I find the lack of consumerism liberating! And our shopping habits have definitely changed. We tend to buy as we need, as apposed to impulse shopping, we’re not surrounded by “all the things"...
I consider myself a minimal person. I’m extremely considered when it comes to shopping and try to buy with purpose.
However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t know the postman by his first name! The brands I admire have a strong online presence so I’ve never felt out of touch.
About the author:
Greer Lawrence is in the midst of opening a bricks and mortar store named ‘comunete’ in the coastal town of Milton. Go to comunetestore.com
Photo: Rachel Kara