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From London to the countryside- was the move worth it?

by Nurse M


I have always been a city girl. In the Philippines, I lived in Metro Manila for 25 years. I love the hustle and bustle of living in a city. Even when I applied for jobs in the UK, I made sure that I apply for London based roles. Like most, the thought of working in London excites me. Imagine working in one of the most vibrant cities of the world. How cool is that?!


Luckily, I landed a nursing role in one of the trusts in Central London. After few months, I was able to bring my husband and we both enjoyed living in the city.


After 5 good years, we made our next big move. We decided to move away from London and settle in the countryside. My husband was able to secure a job in North England. As a nurse, it was not difficult for me to secure a nursing role in the local Trust in our new place. So we took the risk of moving and to be honest, it was quite daunting for us. Was the move worth it?


Now that it has been 3 years since the big move, I like to share with you what changed in our lives when we moved from London to the countryside.


Pay and Cost of Living

When I was still working in London, I was earning more compared to when I moved and started work in my current NHS Trust. I had the high cost allowance back then and I can say it was a big help. At the start I was concerned that I might be losing a lot financially. However, when we did our maths, to our surprise, we have more disposable income compared to before. Although this is partially because of my husband’s new job but we also noted that our monthly budget became better because of the more affordable costs of living. We can attribute it mainly with our rental cost. Back then, we were paying £1200 for an apartment/flat in London compared to our monthly mortgage of £700 for our semi- detached house. Yes, you read it right, we are now able to mortgage our own house. Since the prices of houses here are lower than those in London, we took the chance and mortgage our own house.

Our food expenses also lowered. I have to admit that we loved the variety of food London offers. We loved it so much that we often eat out or enjoy the convenience of good take-aways. Food delivery drivers became our best friends, especially for dinner meals! But since we have moved, the dine-in/ take-away choices became less. And also since we now have the space, our nightly take-aways became my husband’s home cooked meals. I didn’t realise I was married to a closet chef!


Transportation

In London, every place we go is just a tube-away. It was very convenient and public transportation around the capital is very reliable.

When we moved to the North of England, it was a bit of a shock for us, at first. We had to use the bus and they don’t come as often. It can take an hour to reach the hospital and even longer if I miss the 6AM bus!

Because of this, I was forced to learn how to drive. It was a struggle at first and I had to take the driving test twice! Since obtaining my license I am no longer reliant on the bus schedule and my 1 hour trip to work is greatly reduced to 20 mins ( without traffic!) I also found that driving is also liberating. We now get to go to different places, see the sites and beauty of the countryside.


Community/ Social life

In London, we had a very active social life. Our weekends would just be filled with parties, dinners or “kainan” with our friends. A lot of karaoke nights!

When we moved, our weekends have changed. We no longer have parties to go to but my husband and I have more time for us— we have more dates, from walking adventures in the countryside to enjoying the art of doing nothing. We have realised that we have been busy socialising back in London that we did not fully get to enjoy our own company. Along the way, we met Filipinos- in the church, trust and even in the supermarket! They eventually became our kuyas and ates. And it may not be as frequent as before, but we still get to enjoy gatherings birthday parties etc although it has a more homely feel now. More potlucks than dinner outs or take away orders.


Career

This was one of my initial concerns when we moved. Considering the number of hospitals and clinics available within London, the career opportunities are vast. I fear that when I move, there might be less opportunities available. But I was wrong. Yes, there are fewer hospitals compared to London, but there are still growth opportunities available. Since I started to drive, I now have a wider reach for opportunities outside my trust and it also gave me more financial opportunities. Whereas in London, I only used to do bank in my own trust, now I am able to do agency work wherever as long as I am happy to drive to the location. I have to admit though that the training & experience I had in London helped me a lot as I progress here.


Was it worth it?

Yes, it was a big change for us but it was definitely worth it. Living in London has been wonderful, but it is not for us anymore. People change too, I guess. London was the dream city I wanted to experience but the countryside offered me more! Although I sometimes definitely miss the hustle and bustle of city life, I now cannot leave our more homely lifestyle. We have our own lovely space with room to grow once we add a bundle of joy to our family.

The move gave us a different perspective towards life and helped us grew as a couple. It was a big adjustment for us but it worked out well eventually. We were able to progress in our careers, have our own house and now ready and able to build our own family.

I can’t say that moving out of London is for everyone. However, if you are looking for a more affordable and settled lifestyle then the countryside has so much to offer. That even this once city obsessed party going dine out loving London girl succumbed to hushed down to the beauty and lovely quaint charm of the countryside.

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