I know how irritating it can be to read vague blog posts that allude to 'big changes' and 'new adventures'. I also know how tedious it can be to read 10 paragraphs of background before getting to the point (which I always end up skipping because I'm too impatient to hear the big news). So I'll save you the trouble.
I've decided to move 200 miles away, from London to Manchester.
I know I know, it’s not as though I’m jetting off across the world. But as a born and bred southerner who’s never lived further north than the Midlands (and that was a decade ago), this feels like a very big and rather scary change indeed.
It's no secret that I've been steadily falling out of love with London for some time. My love-hate relationship with the city causes me no end of inner turmoil. Maybe it's because I grew up in a village by the sea and countryside, but I never fully adjusted to London life. I enjoy the vibrancy of the city, but the scale and scope of London is not for me. It’s just too darn big and too darn busy.
As you can imagine, there’s been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing to get to this point, and I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over the pros and cons of London.
I love that I can sit eating cake surrounded by cats, admire a 15ft electric blue cockerel in Trafalgar Square, dine on crocodile and locusts and see Roman ruins sandwiched between skyscrapers.
I hate that I can pay £5 for a cider, £70 for a standard haircut and £1300 a month to rent a shoebox of a flat.
I love standing in the shadow of some of the world's most famous landmarks, feeling very small and very special.
I hate arguments between tightly-packed commuters that usually involve pursed lips, sarcastic remarks, stomach knots and awkward silences.
I love walking over Blackfriars Bridge every morning, with Big Ben on my left and St Paul's on my right, the sun peeking over Tower Bridge and the river buzzing with boats and people.
I hate travelling an hour to work or to see my friends, even though I live (and work) in Zone 1.
I love walking past a little piece of history every single day.
I hate getting complacent about it.
I love working in a creative hub, full of talented and inspiring people.
I hate having little hope of ever affording the £250k+ it will cost for me to buy a 2-bed flat, let alone a house with a garden.
This roughly gives you a flavour of how I’ve been feeling, and ultimately this move boils down to quality of life. The truth is, I don’t want or need to spend too much time justifying my decision. It’s done, dusted and I couldn’t be happier (and after 10 years as a northerner living in London, Frank is excited about it too).
So, in December I’ll be upping sticks with Frank and the cats and moving to Manchester. In January I start a new job working in a marketing communications role for the Development Team at the University of Manchester. This basically means helping fundraisers develop materials that showcase the university’s priority funding areas and hopefully raising lots of money for fantastic causes.
I’ll be leaving behind some very dear friends, as well as my sister and two of my bridesmaids, which I’m a little bit heartbroken about. I’ll be living much nearer to my ‘second family’ (ie Frank’s), who are near Liverpool, as well as one of my other bridesmaids.
So that’s my news. I can’t wait to explore a new city, spend time roaming around the peak and lake districts and bed into my exciting new job. It also means we can start realistically saving for a new home. Hurrah!
Tips about relocating (and living up t’north) gratefully received!