What A Family Sea Change Really Feels Like

Despite living in Sydney for most of our relationship, ever since I’ve been married to my highly-motivated, NAVY diver husband, he has brought up the topic of “moving back” to where we grew up. The far south coast of New South Wales was apparently calling him away from his work-obsessed lifestyle to a more relaxed, free and loved-up one full of family time spent on the beach. He’d tell me cosy stories about laid back coastal adventures and warm nights around a fire place in our very own house; spending more time with our families and more time together.


As nice as he would make it all sound, I would brush it off, push it to the side and tell him to keep dreaming. Life is not that great down there, I’d say. There are limited things to do and less opportunity for the kids. I mean, I loved growing up down the coast, but neither my husband or myself actually grew up there full time. We both went away to boarding school as teenagers, so you could say we had the best of both worlds.

I did love it down there but I also loved the city and the northern beaches where we lived and, of course, I loved my friends. Leaving all of that just didn’t feel like an option. My husband also had such a great job in Sydney; I mean, sure he spent 4-5 nights away from us a week, but I was used to it.  It was just life as we knew it and we were happy. Despite my husband’s best efforts, my mind was definitely closed to making a move.

Then last year I was lucky enough to take an extended trip overseas with a girlfriend and my amazing husband took four full weeks off from work to be with our kids… and he took them down the south coast.

When I got back I could see how much fun they had had and I could see how much love my husband had for our kids. It was the first time in four and a half years that he had the opportunity to be around our children for longer than a few days as their full time carer and there was something really special about that.

I was so loved up from having four whole weeks off from being a mum and a wife that I think I would of said yes to anything at that point. I realised the love my husband had for our kids and the love we had as a family. It was suddenly so clear that staying in Sydney was depriving us of that.

Within the week, my husband had put in his resignation from his prestigious job in the Royal Australian Navy and we started making plans for a sea change. What a crazy whirlwind that was.  The decision, resignation. packing up our Sydney life and heading down the coast all happened within a matter of weeks and that was that. We were on our way back to our childhood home – the small coastal town that we had both grown up in.

I was emotional.  I was sad to leave all the amazing friends that I had made during my early years of motherhood and I was freaking out about the unknown. But I also new it was exactly what our little family needed; it was time for us to focus on us and being together as a family. It was “our” time.

What a family sea change really feels likesea change

Four months down the track, we are still in transition mode. I’m not sure when I’ll feel settled, or if I will anytime soon. I do miss the busy life we had in Sydney a little, but I’m learning so much through this journey. I’m learning to slow down and appreciate the quiet times.  I’m learning to let go of fear and embrace our new normal. Life is definitely better with my husband around to help out with morning and night time duties and there is just more love in the house.

It’s also so much easier to do things. Daily life is so much easier. Simple things, like go to shops, have a swim or find a car spot at the beach are just done without fuss or bother. People live more mindfully here, they are not rushing on to the next thing, racing each other on the roads or pushing in at the queue.

Instead, there’s a beautiful sense of community. We know people and run into people where ever we go. Of course, that’s not always so great, but most of the time it’s good to stop and have an unexpected chat. Life down here feels so much less rushed, more calm and just all-round nicer.

There will be times when my husband needs to be away for work, and we don’t know if this sea change will necessarily be forever… but for now, it feels right and we are enjoying the ride.

Have you ever thought of packing up and moving from the city?

Cass xo

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Images: top / Getty; others / Cassandra Michelin