Sunday, 29 November 2009

Downsizing in the UK?

Is it possible to downsize in the UK?

I'm not convinced that it is. What if you have never "upsized?" You certainly don't get a lot for your money. When I move out of the city I want space, with inspiring scenery, probably a semi rural existence.

The truth is that I have never really "lived large", I grew up in a hand to mouth existence. My childhood experience of poverty really stayed with me. As a result I always made a conscious effort to live well below my means, I never signed up for a monstrous mortgage. DH and I have always lived in modest houses, we have been careful to keep our living costs down. I always wanted to keep ourselves in the position that if one of us lost our job then we could live off the other person's salary.

The more research I do about house prices in rural or semi rural areas in the UK the more disheartened I get. Initially, when I started planning for The Escape I would not have entertained the notion of living in the UK, I always envisaged living abroad. But, I just don't think it would be feasible or practical to live abroad. But, I'm keeping an open mind.

We are not looking to buy straightaway after The Escape, I envisage at least a few years of having time out and living abroad for extended periods.But, we will need a base or a place to live eventually. You cant rent forever.

But perhaps I'm just planning too far ahead.


Alice said...

it's so difficult... one of the reasons we initially went travelling is because we wanted a semi-rural life with space and views and and and... all things we couldn't afford in the UK without working so hard that we wouldn't get to enjoy it. HUMPH. Anyway, we travelled - had a great time but 'as yet' have not found anything else abroad that made us want to settle. Now we're back in the UK for a year trying to see if we can reach a compromise... but already the feet itch sometimes for the freedom of life on the road.

There is no escape from the fact that staying put in your own country (this is often the same for natives in other countries as we have found a lot of it is relative) is difficult if you want to live a lower impact/simpler life and you haven't buckets of money to get you started. It's hard and where we are at in our life is a case of 'pros and cons.' We love where we are in the UK: the scenery, the ease of language, slower pace - but the fact is that we can only scrape by and not in the exact way we would like to. BUT starting to live a new life abroad, as brilliant as it is, brings with it other complications.

I think the best thing for you to do is escape and follow your noses. Something WILL happen along the way and it WILL become clear. We're still not sure exactly where our story will end, but we do know that we definitely made the right decision to go on an adventure that started it.

Don't think too far ahead, just remember that you are doing the right thing by taking the first leap.

A guy from England said...

Hi Dreamer, haven't seen you around my blog for a while. I'm not sure you can downsize in England - you can go to areas where the living is cheaper and then there is no work around - hence all being forced into overpriced cities.

Having now arrived in Portugal (5 weeks) I already feel it's the best thing we could have done. There will always be a reason not to make the jump and there will always be risks involved but there are not many things in life which aren't reversible and if we end up having to rewind a bit at least we gave it a go.

Have a great Christmas


PS. My blog has moved - I am now at and I also have a new blog at - I hope you enjoy them.

Dreamer said...

Alice - yeah thats sort of the conclusion i've reached, that it costs so much to live in a rural setting with a bit of space that one would end up working all the time to pay for it!! Its not what we are trying to achieve is it.

I think that at least in the UK you can pick up some part time work, its very difficult to do this abroad, given the language barriers etc. Its a delicate balance to achieve but the main aim is NOT to have to go back into the "system" of 9-5 grind.

Ben, I'm a bad blogger but I havent forgotton you, will be over to check on you :)I think with moving abroad its very difficult to replicate a source of income, possible language barriers and competing with the locals for jobs etc. If you can telecommute with a UK job then thats certainly the solution, its not something that I could do in my line of work.

Anonymous said...

Several points here.

1) Yes, UK is expensive - no argument there. That's because of supply and demand. The rural areas of UK that *were* cheap, such as Devon and Cornwall, have become ridiculously expensive IMHO. You have to go to the really far flung corners of Wales and Scotland to find the *real* bargains these days. Then you run into the problem of lack of work and isolation.

2) You said "But, I just don't think it would be feasible or practical to live abroad." That may be the case for your current circumstances - but who says your current circumstances need to stay the same? For example: I was in a line of work that can't be carried out remotely - training, so I changed into technical writing. I currently work entirely from home and can work from anywhere in the world - similar to "guy from England". That was a conscious decision on my part, I then took steps to make that happen. Did it happen overnight - no. But I am now in the position a few years on where that is very much a reality for me.

3) Why is moving abroad not for you when thousands - actually millions - of people have already successfully done so. 10% of the UK population has already gone. And although there are some that return home the surveys show consistently that people are, on the whole, *much* happier abroad. So why not you? Is it easy - no. Does it take a lot of research to find the right place - absolutely. Does it take time and effort - undoubtedly! I think moving abroad is perfectly possible for most people if they decide to make it happen. It depends on what you want - and that actually can sometimes be the hardest thing to determine, but the possibilities really are endless.

4) Is it possible to downsize in the UK. Yes, it is always possible to downsize - with the caveat that it just depends how low you are prepared to go! ;) I have seen people downsize to places they could never imagine - although that was due to necessity rather than choice - I am one of them! :) I've been consistently surprised that just when I think I can't become any more efficient than I am I find a way to reduce expenses and save more.

5) "But, I'm keeping an open mind." Yes, please do, and talk to people who have already either relocated within the UK or moved abroad already.