We have these two conflicting dreams. What they have in common is freedom.
One dream is a simple life, closely connected with nature, stepping off the freight train of consumerism, thinning out our possessions, living off the land, generating our own fuel, living wild, having space to roam, putting aside ego, vanity. The rewards of nature and togetherness making us feel like millionaires. Mortgage and debt free, not beholden to a bank. Moving towards self-sufficiency. We might not have much but what we’d have would be all ours. It’s a whole lifestyle change from now. It is a commitment to alternative living. We would homeschool. I would bake. Ben would write. Mom would spin wool.
The other dream is an exciting life, feeling energised by our surroundings, feeling instantly that we had arrived, the life that would be difficult to accept we could afford. This dream is a move to a house and a town that much more closely resembles what we have and love now. With it will come real possibilities for active social lives for us all, new friends, potential partners. It would be a step up in house and location. Somewhere we’d feel really proud of. Somewhere that other people would be amazed by. A house that gives us all the space we need as a family to all relax and spread out. A house that is ready made beautifully so we can start enjoying it straight away. A house set up to make life easy. A separate office, separate utilty room, ensuites, one level living, a level terrace immediately off french doors. A place the kids would enjoy and a place that makes having a new baby a breeze. Outdoor space that requires minimal work. Space designed purely for relaxing in the sun. Sea views. A warm micro-climate. Sun traps. A plunge pool. Walking distance to the beach. We don’t want money in the bank. We don’t want designer label anything. All you’d need here is a bikini and a bottle of wine. But wouldn’t we feel like millionaires.
The whole reason for moving house at all is to release the money we have made here, so that we can enjoy our lives NOW. In either scenario we would have a new alternative income from holiday lets that would allow Ben to become at least part-time if not a full-time writer. It is a given that Mom will be able to retire as soon as she likes. The Isle of Wight dream is a bigger commitment initially but the long-term potential is far greater. We might not have a lot of money spare to begin with, in fact we both might have to find part-time jobs, but we do get to enjoy the lifestyle straightaway. And when we do have spare money, we will actually be living in a place where we can really enjoy the money. There are lots of bars and restaurants and lots of cool attractions to do with the kids. And I get the feeling that there is yet another step possible beyond this house. A future dream not yet imaginable made possible by this move.
In the Wye we can’t afford to set ourselves up with the same kind of earning potential as well as accomodating the whole family, so we will be starting out with something more modest. And we’ll be stuck with it, as there’ll be no influx of money to develop. It will be a smaller existence. It will be safer financially because we won’t have the pressure of the mortgage. We’ll be nearer to family. But it will be socially more risky. We’ll be more rural, more isolated. We won’t have much to spark our inspiration and to energise us. It will be a slower life. But not a luxurious life. We’ll have outside space to maintain, animals to look after. Probably work on the house, extensions to build, annexes to convert, planning permission, conservation area, AONB restrictions, headaches, obstacles, builders, unforeseen costs. We will likely be in a smaller house, fewer rooms, smaller dimensions. We won’t give up our dream of four kids. Cheek by jowl living, four teenagers. I’m not confident our relationships with each other will thrive. We’ve already been warned about the dark and damp valley villages. Would we find it depressing. Would we have regrets. Realistically, honestly, I fear so.