Chasing dreams

6 months on from moving away from everything we’ve ever known, all of our incredible friends & family in search of a new life, I thought it was about time I wrote about why…..

‘Searching for a new life’ sounds like we were trying to escape something, but actually quite the opposite. As a self confessed RightMove addict, part of my everyday routine is to have a little nose over newly listed houses, mainly out of curiosity but also with that burning itch for a new challenge seeing as there’s only so many times you can decorate each room.

A few years ago we put in an offer on a house about 40 minutes away from our hometown of Christchurch, Dorset but in the end, it didn’t work out. It was a full reno having been left empty for years & within a couple of months of when we would have moved in, the pandemic hit & lockdown was in full force. I look back now & I’m so grateful that that didn’t happen as we would have been in a tricky situation living in that with no trades to help & a lack of supplies. At the time I wasn’t in a great place & looking back, I feel like I would have been moving for all the wrong reasons. To try to escape what was a dark place. Like putting a plaster on a missing limb.

Fast forward through multiple lockdowns & a complete change of lifestyle with my husband having the flexibility of working from home so location wasn’t an issue, we sat around at New Year just gone, talking about the future. I think the one thing corona virus has taught all of us, it’s that anything is possible & your whole world can be flipped upside down, completely out of your control, at the flick of a switch. Both of us sat & reflected back over the past few years, the highs & the lows, then looking forward to what exciting things await. I remember us both saying how nothing really had happened, mainly because of the pandemic it was totally uneventful & we were just basically peddling through the day to day. I remember saying that I thought this year wouldn’t be like that. Something exciting & big would happen but I just didn’t know what it was yet.

The one thing I said was that I felt like I’d spent far too long ‘staying in my lane’. I suppose out of fear & uncertainty. It’s much easier to stay where you are than push yourself to something new & unfamiliar but for the first time in such a long time I knew I was so ready for it, because after all, you don’t grow from staying in your lane. Instead of trying to escape my life like I was a few years previously, I felt so sure that this time was for the right reasons. I’ve spent far too long in mine, worrying about other peoples lanes.

Fast forward a couple of months to February, it was actually my parents who encouraged us to have our house valued. We had always dreamed of the country life, of waking up to bird song & looking out of our windows to the green of trees & endless fields. For me it was always to surround myself with nature & animals….being at the stables with Elsa or out walking the dogs really was my happy place. My parents felt trapped in such a built up area & craved a more laid back lifestyle to enjoy their retirement. This sparked a conversation between all of us that we could perhaps embark on something together.

Within a couple of days of that valuation, we’d accepted an offer on Baylyn House.

9 weeks later, we were handed keys to our new home together.

It was fast (& furious….I do NOT recommend especially in a chain of 7, how we pulled it off I have no idea but the stress levels were intense) & everything kind of just fell in to place. So much can & does go wrong with house buying & selling so throughout it all I tried desperately to keep in my head that I had to trust that the universe had my back & with my favourite saying of ‘what is meant for you will not pass you’. It was just meant to be.

I actually found our new house at about 11pm on a Friday night & the second I saw it my heart stopped. Joe had fallen asleep next to me & I was SO excited that I couldn’t get to sleep until 3.30am. I eventually fell asleep but then was ready to pounce the second Joe opened his eyes in the morning to show him the dreamy house I’d found. It was the one & I just knew it. It ticked every box & then some. Rural but not too rural for the kids to be able to have some sort of social life & near a bigger town for things like cinemas, restaurants etc. Some land. Needing renovation but totally fine in the grand scheme of things. Good school catchments. 2.5 or under hours drive from ‘home’. Good transport links. And the cherry on the cake…..an annex with so much potential for my parents.

After Joe finally woke up, I was so excited to show him my find but was met with ‘yeah it’s okay I suppose but I don’t know why you’re so obsessed with it, it’s nothing special’. My parents also weren’t sold on it but I eventually managed to persuade them to view it as well as another couple of other options up this way. Throughout it all, I was adamant that this would be the one we were going to move to. I have a video of the day we drove up to view, coming up the lane & I say ‘are you ready guys, because we’re going to live here one day’ to which they all laughed. In the end they left that viewing loving it as much as I did.

Leaving everything you’ve ever known is scary, let me tell you. I’m not really a brave person but now was the time to chuck all fears out of the window & hope for the best that this was going to give us all a better life. Because of the speed it all happened my feet didn’t really have time to hit the ground & I have to admit, by the end because of all the moving stress, I actually felt a bit numb to it all.

Our last night in Baylyn House, I sat in each room, silently saying goodbye to the place that held us close & safe. That had seen my babies grow in to the little people they are now. For the first time I sobbed at the thought of making the wrong decision, at all of those people we were leaving behind. I’d miss my friends & family who are everything to me & I’d miss the familiarity of the streets I’d walked down since I was a little girl. Were we doing the right things taking the kids away too? Would they settle in to a new school or would we traumatise them if it all went wrong.

Now, 6 months later I sit here typing this being the most content & happy I’ve ever been. Of course, it hasn’t been easy especially doing a renovation pretty much single handedly & our budget disappearing at a great rate of knots due to rising material prices. I’ve had the occasional ‘what have I done’ when the dust is everywhere & I’m missing my friends, but all in all, it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done.

Although I’ve constantly got a paint brush in my hand & my to do list is fuller than ever, I’ve found peace in the simple things. Waking up to the beautiful views of field upon field rather than brick building after building. The noise of two piggies excitedly oinking their way over for a belly rub. The gentle clucking of the chickens (& collecting their freshly laid eggs every morning) & now the playful bleat of two baby pygmy goats jumping from tyre to tyre. The crunch of leaves as we stroll around the paddock or strolls down the lane with dogs running free. The sound of our children laughing as they bounce on the trampoline, the thud of a football being kicked against a wall, climbing trees & building dens in the bushes. The fact that my children have their grandparents on our doorstep to give them a kiss goodbye before school every morning & for steaming mugs of hot chocolate (not forgetting the marshmallows…) when they come home. It’s sipping coffee on the sofa staring out of the windows that I’ve been painting for what feels like forever but that’s views make me so happy. It’s bringing life back to a house & when you see your visions come to life.

This is the dream.

We’ve found that actually we spend more quality time with those we love. Instead of ‘you free for coffee & a catch up next Wednesday?’ it’s ‘hey do you want to come up & spend the weekend?’. It’s weekends filled with pub lunches & long walks. It’s the excitement of the kids seeing their friends for sleepovers after so long apart & parents boozy dinners downstairs. It’s the aching heart you feel when you finally get to see your best friend, the running over to embrace her & weirdly, it’s like nothing has ever changed but in that second you are complete. It’s going back to your home town & feeling that warm familiar feeling but knowing that this isn’t where your heart lies anymore.

In terms of meeting new friends, I have found that it’s harder to meet people than I imagined. I’m a really social open person & imagined I’d be welcomed in to school social circles but have found with Elsa & Rory being that bit older, it’s more of a drop off & run vibe than a lets meet up for wine. I’m sure once the house is done & we have a bit more time on our hands we’ll find our feet with that more.

For so long I could only so much as dream about the life that I am now living. If I’m honest I didn’t think it would ever happen or that I would be the one to make it happen after so long of being scared to take a risk or step outside of my comfort zone. But let me tell you, it’s even better than the dream when it becomes reality. I can’t wait to see where life takes us but know that we’re going to spend many happy years within these walls & I can’t wait to take you guys along with me on the journey.

So what are you waiting for? Go chase those dreams….

Love,

4 Comments

  1. Mandy Vanstone
    October 24, 2022 / 7:14 pm

    What an amazing blog post. Fantastic move. X

  2. Janine
    October 24, 2022 / 7:41 pm

    So lovely to read Charlotte. We up and moved our family to an unknown – sandwiched 2.5hrs between family and friends. We aren’t as fortunate as you in terms of living in a dream home or with my parents but it’s still the most content I’ve been as an adult. I’m loving seeing your renovations and animal adventures 💕

    • Jane
      October 24, 2022 / 10:30 pm

      A really lovely read Charlotte. 😊💖

  3. Kerry
    October 24, 2022 / 8:15 pm

    You truly are Mr and Mrs Pop Larkin. This is my dream. A little holding in the country. Once my children are settled in life, after degrees and graduations. This is what I want more than anything else in the world. My time. My time to grow and do the things I’ve wanted for so long. At the moment you are living my dream. Enjoy