05 Jun Everything is Better in Launceston!
I just moved from the big smoke to a smaller community. What will it mean for business and … well, life?
Written by Daniela Cavalletti
6 min read
Sea change, tree change … big changes are in the air. I just up and left my home in bustling Sydney – for living in much smaller Launceston in Tasmania (yes, that small but gorgeous piece of Australia many map-makers forget to include).
It was a big step; or so it seemed.
“Where are you moving to? Er … is that still in Australia?”
“Wow, you’re brave!”
These reactions were part of the regular refrain I’ve heard since announcing my decision to move.
But I already work remotely with most of our clients, or travel to see them. Plus, I have friends and family all over the country, and globe. So why not, I thought?
Whether I live in Sydney or not shouldn’t actually matter, … right?
Any (Sea) Change Can Be Tough
Not that I thought so at first.
When we had the idea to escape Sydney’s insane rental and property prices by buying a place somewhere else, I was doubting I could leave ‘my city’.
My friends, my family, … my business network!
Then, after yet another rent increase (of 40% in one hit, thank you very much) it was time to make clever decisions, and buy a place of our own.
Moving out it was.
Why We Fear Making Big Changes
Probably anyone who has thought about making the change from living and working in a familiar place has gone through the fear of losing more than they’ll gain.
I’m no exception.
There were tears, sleepless nights. Feelings of going ‘into exile’ even (the Italian in me can get a tad dramatic at times).
In the end I realised, though: it really just was one big case of FOMO – the fear of missing out.
On a life I know, built over the years, and believed I love.
Thought 1 – “My Business Will Suffer!”
I knew that I can deliver the same (if not better service) from a place that has the fastest internet in Australia, and one that allows me to be more active, healthy and outdoorsy.
But what would my clients think?
The existing ones: will they think I lost my edge?
The potential, new ones: will they want to do business with someone not in a capital city (“hmmm, country pumpkin – not sure she’s got the right experience and drive to know her stuff”).
Let’s face it: we’ve all made judgements and decisions, consciously or not, based on location. City dwellers can be snobbish about services offered from smaller towns. And more rural communities can perceive big-city businesses as cut-throat, too expensive, or, … er … snobbish.
My business support network
My referral partners
How would they take my move to ‘little’ Launceston?
Thought 2 – “I’ll Be So Lonely!”
Moving away from friends and family is of course not easy. But my parents live in Europe. Friends and ample family are sprinkled across both hemispheres – and I get to see all of them a lot. Face-to-face, or on Skype and Facetime.
City-hopping air-fares are cheap in Australia if you plan wisely. My friends and family all like a good long weekend away. Especially with free accommodation and in a beautiful setting (case in point: we’ve had our first 3 mainland visitors in our first 3 weekends in Tassie).
And while sad for the same reasons I was upset to leave, all of them – without exception – thought it was a marvellous idea to leave the big smoke for fresh air, adventure and a slower pace.
Change Forces Us to Be Courageous + Curious
Moving away from the city made me afraid. Afraid to make a massive change, and it was simply because I’d become used to a certain life.
And a bit too comfortable in it, I finally realised.
Looking back, I see the opportunities I’ve missed in my 16 years of living there: to discover more of Sydney and its surrounds. Living in the same place for so long made me lose part of my curiosity and desire to explore.
A bit of routine is a comforting thing, but I had got stuck in a rut a bit.
Recently, a lovely, quirky and interesting friend of mine, utterly innocently and excitedly asked me, “What have you done for fun since we caught up last time?!” And I drew up a lot of nothing in particular. I had some great dinners and chats with friends and family, yes. But mostly I had just beavered away, not seeing or experiencing anything new.
That hit me like a ton of bricks.
I, the traveller – the curious, slightly nuts and spontaneous person I like to think myself to be –, who travelled the world solo for years, had stopped exploring. And I realised how much I missed that.
Suddenly, I could not wait to move.
To explore the wilderness of Tasmania. Taste the great local food, smell the fresh air. To visit the deserted beaches, mountains and forests. And build new communities in business, personally, and around social causes and volunteering.
Unfounded Fears of a City Girl
Is moving away from a place and life you called yours for a long time easy?
No, of course not. Change is unsettling; moves always bring stress.
Have I already booked some flights back to Sydney?
Hell, yes! I’ve not become cloistered, just moved house.
Was it the right decision to move to a quieter, cleaner, calmer, and more affordable, environment?
I feel lucky that my business (and my husband’s, too) is so portable. That I can work from anywhere, as long as I don’t mind the occasional very early start or late-night call with overseas clients.
I realise that not everyone is as fortunate, of course. Making a few adjustments and employing some tech gadgets will not enable all of us to run our business or do our job from anywhere with an internet connection and/or phone reception.
But I also thought that the changes I needed to make – the adjustments a move like this will bring – were gigantic. Utterly insurmountable.
Turns out, they weren’t.
Going South is Good
So here we are, in Tasmania. Not in Hobart, but half-as-big Launceston.
And it’s good – really good – to be here.
During those nervous times when we were wondering whether we’re doing the right thing, to assure ourselves, my husband jokingly kept saying:
“Everything is better in Launceston!”
And he was right.