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Sea Change? think again!

He and I decided after 5 years of living in the Southern Highlands of NSW that the long winters were getting harder to cope with and probably not associated with good health and well-being as we aged. The added complication of asthma for me meant that we started to look elsewhere to live and agreed a warmer climate by the sea would be nice.

We started to explore the Real Estate pages on the internet to find somewhere not too far from family (a 2 hour commute seemed reasonable) that had good facilities and lifestyle. After much investigation we found a nice place in Port Stephens NSW.

We packed the motor home and took a week to go and investigate. As it turned out we found a lovely block of land very close to the water and with amazing views over Port Stephens. We purchased the land with the intention of finding a local builder and architect and returned to the Southern Highlands to sell our home!

We sold our home without too much trouble and packed up to head north to a rental whilst we 'sorted ourselves out!

The summary of the next 18 months was a very challenging time. We couldn't find a a competent builder or architect resulting in us selling our land. We purchased the rental we were living in just so we could unpack boxes and get our life back. We found a community that was only interested in their boating and fishing activities. We did neither! We tried so hard to find our rhythm and to fit in BUT it just didn't happen.

Whilst there was a local hospital, they only had one doctor and if you really needed help then an hour commute to Newcastle was the closest.

We missed everything about 'home' - our friends, social activities, closeness to our family (it took 3.5 to 4 hours to get to see them not 2.5 - Sydney traffic!). We were like "fishes out of water", and extremely unhappy.

In January, we decided to go to the Australian Open in Melbourne, which meant driving through our beloved Southern Highlands and catching up with friends. A couple of dear friends decided to come to Melbourne with us and we had just the most marvellous time. At that point we started to contemplate moving back! Based on what we thought our new life would be and what it actually was, we made the decision to move back - we had made a very big mistake! Not wanting to waste any more time, we returned back to Port Stephens, sold our home in 10 days, packed up our life once again and headed back home.....could get back quick enough.

With regard to health! I convinced him that I would rather be here for a good time than a long time. Suffice to say I take the drugs to keep asthma under control and in the winter when it's really cold we'll travel to warmer climates.

Last night we attended our first social event, since moving back at Centennial Vineyards; The monthly Book Club Dinner, and as luck would have it celebrated crime writer "Michael Robotham" was the guest. We saw lots of friends who all welcomed us back warmly. We drank wonderful Centennial Wines and had a beautiful dinner. We are so glad to be back home!

If you are thinking about a sea or tree change, think hard, very hard. Try and imagine your life away from everything that is familiar and comfortable....... I wish I had! The retirement lifestyle takes many different forms and they aren't necessarily moving away.

...and remember...have a fabulous retirementLIFE....

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