I’m an honest person. I don’t believe in bullshit or painting a rosy picture when I’m having a crap time. I’m also a realist, and knew that uprooting my life and moving it 200 miles away was never going to be easy, but I knew with all my heart that it was the right thing to do.
This is a very honest post about my rollercoaster first year of living in Cornwall.
Overall, it’s been incredible. My Instagram feed shows the highs of the life by the sea that I’d always dreamed of. I just didn’t anticipate how amazing it would be.
This was one of the main reasons I wanted to move; to be able to surf as often as possible was like a dream come true. I’ve clocked up countless hours in the sea and looking back to a year ago, I can see how much I’ve progressed. My pop-up has sped up, my confidence has soared and I’ve pushed myself into waves that a year ago I wouldn’t have touched.
My knowledge about the ocean has increased, I’ve surfed at dozens of new spots around Cornwall and learnt the best times and places to surf for me right now. I’ve surfed at sunset at the height of summer and in a hail storm in the depths of winter.
I’ve surfed with so many people – new friends, old friends and people who’ve reached out to me through my blog. I’ve surfed alone yet bumped into increasingly familiar faces out in the line-up.
I’m nowhere near where I want to be with my surfing, but it feels less of an impossibility to get there now that I have waves on tap. But above all, I still love surfing as much, if not more than I ever did.
I left Wolverhampton feeling very disillusioned. Other than Kelly and Clare who didn’t even live in Wolverhampton, I didn’t really have many friends. I’d drifted apart from my best friend, and another ‘friend’ who suddenly went a bit weird on me, shut the door in my face the last time I saw her. We’d never fallen out and to this day, I have no idea what the hell I ever did to prompt that.
Yet I now have more friends than I’ve ever had in my life. Friends who are thoughtful, caring and honest. We’ve shared some incredible surfs, cried on each other’s shoulders and been there when we need each other. We’ve had some fantastic times – coffee dates, meals out, bonfires on beaches and coastal walks. They’re an incredible bunch and I wouldn’t be without them.
Where do I start? I’ve seen and done some incredible things over the past year. I’ve still barely scratched the surface of this beautiful county but by creating a Cornwall bucket list, it’s been a fun way of exploring my new home. I’ve discovered beautiful coves, been jet-ski-ing, jumped off a harbour wall, watched Point Break on the beach, walked for miles along the coast path, had beach bbq’s, surfed loads and generally been a tourist in my new home.
I’ve never paid so much attention to the moon and stars before. I’ve also lost count of the number of incredible sunsets and rainbows I’ve seen over the past year. For that alone, I’m incredibly lucky.
Slower pace of life
Cornish time is actually a thing. Life really does move a lot slower here. There’s no charging around like your life depends on it and over the past year, I’ve found myself relaxing a lot more about stuff I genuinely used to really fret about. The benefits of a slower pace of life have had a positive effect on my body – I look happier and healthier, my hair has stopped shedding and it feels noticeably thicker. I spend way more time outdoors and being able to see the sea everyday is a natural stress buster.
Whilst I’ve had some amazing times, life hasn’t always been a bed of roses….
Walking away from my corporate job
Early this year, my working from home job which facilitated the whole move and brought in a pretty substantial salary, fell apart. I became increasingly stressed after struggling with it and piling pressure on myself to make it work. It made me ill and unfortunately, has had some lasting effects that’s knocked my confidence and self-esteem.
I picked up a job at a B&B over the summer which paid the bills and freed up time for me to focus on my freelancing. I now waitress during the winter months. It’s not where I thought I would be right now and due to those confidence and self esteem issues which I struggle with, I haven’t actively pursued my freelancing.
But I’m a fatalist and think things happen for a reason. And although that job was never right for me, it did make this life-changing move possible and for that I’m truly grateful.
We decided about a month after moving to Cornwall that it was where we wanted to be. Having sold our house in the Midlands, we decided to plough the money from the sale back into a house in Newquay. We thought, maybe naively, that having sold recently, it would be easy to buy. Wrong.
Times had changed in the 3 years since we bought the house in Wolverhampton. Lenders had clamped down massively, and they took exception to me being on a temporary contract (and Ste having only recently started his job). The lenders put the brakes on how much they would lend us (which wasn’t enough for the house), yet rental prices were too expensive for our budget. Time was running out on our existing rental and the thought of having to go back to Wolverhampton to stay with parents became very real.
Fortunately, things worked out in the end after a lot of hoop jumping but it was a horrible time of stress and uncertainty.
A broken foot
Currently Ste is at home with a broken foot and not able to work over the winter. It means financially, things are tight and we’ve pretty much written Christmas off this year. We had plans to surf together, decorate the house, and enjoy days out but that’s all gone out of the window.
We’re waiting on a prognosis in a few weeks on whether or not he’ll need the fracture pinning which could set the healing process back to square one. We’re just hoping he’ll have healed in time for the new season of his lifeguarding job.
Despite the challenges the past year has been incredible and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. My life looks very different to how it did a year ago and looking back, I’m proud of achieving what I set out to do – to have a better quality of life and to downsize, simplify and strip back the materialistic bullshit of city living.
I’m not lavish at all and I earn a fraction of what I used to but money can’t buy the time I now have to surf, explore, and see Ste and my friends. I have time to just be and my work doesn’t cause me any stress. I live 5 minutes from the beach which is a dream come true.
Life down here isn’t for everyone. With a lack of professional jobs and lower salaries than city jobs, it’s the trade off between more money and ‘stuff’ vs quality of life; sea air, beaches, waves on tap and a slower pace of life.
But to anyone who wants to make that trade and is prepared to live more simply, I would say go for it. I never thought I would be one of the ones to do it. I’m not a risk taker and I’m a worrier, yet my overwhelming love of the sea and surfing fuelled my need to take the chance. I didn’t want to look back years down the line and wonder ‘what if’.
I guess what I’m trying to say is if I can do it, so can you.
It’s a simple, stripped back life and I wouldn’t change it for anything.