Eight years ago, my wife and I started thinking about where we would ideally like to live. At the time we lived in Northampton and we wanted to live by the sea, in the south-west of the country.
Weymouth seemed like a good choice to us, and a stay there in 2015 convinced us. We liked everything: the seafront is superb, the sandy beach beautiful (there is even a pebble beach a little further) and the town is full of restaurants, shops and pubs. It really is a city straight out of a postcard and its charm is hard to resist.
We multiplied the stays there for two years − the objective was to see the city under all these aspects and in each season. It was the only way to know if the dream corresponded to reality and if we would be as happy when the wind is blowing and it is raining heavily (which is often the case on the coast). We also decided to rent the first year, in case we had a last minute regret, which never happened.
The day we moved in, our neighbors knocked on the door with homemade scones and flowers. We felt really welcomed, and the good atmosphere that reigns in the neighborhood has never wavered.
My wife volunteers at a farm, which gives to charities like the food bank, and also at Mind, a mental health charity; she is also part of a large choir that performs in churches and on the cruise ships that dock here. I joined the local rowing club and happily go there twice a week.
The hardest part was finding a job. We both had full-time permanent contracts but unfortunately keeping them working from home was not possible. My wife was hired by the NHS [le système public de santé britannique] and started a week after our arrival. But, for my part, it took me three months to find a position in communication, also in health.
Before leaving Northampton we knew we might be in for a tough time and so we saved some money. This safety net has allowed us to live more peacefully with the fact of having a single salary.
Some of our friends didn’t understand our choice of Dorset, they said it was mostly a great place to retire. But why wait? Thanks to our move, we have gained in quality of life and we intend to enjoy it for as long as possible.
Go for it
It is obviously necessary to be well informed before starting, but it is not worth worrying about. At worst what can happen to you? Even if you don’t like the new place, you can still move.
Set your priorities
Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Loving a place is one thing. That it meets all your needs is another. Here, we are far from shops and public transport is not great, but it is a small sacrifice compared to all that this move has given us.
Test the different seasons
Seashores can be a bit dull in the winter months, so it’s best to test to see if what you’re getting yourself into.
Enjoy local life
Join your neighborhood Facebook groups and read the local newspaper to find out what’s happening near you.