Leaving the city and following your dreams
To follow your dream, you will more often than not, have to move your whole life to reach it. This was very much the case for Mel Wycheley who returned to the South of England to join Land & Wave this Autumn.
Mel is a self-confessed ‘Beach Boy’ having grown up on the Isle of Wight. Never more than 10 miles from a beach, he found the Island was perfect for onshore, offshore or cross shore winds, which helped nurture his love for paddle and watersports.
A former competitive junior swimmer, Mel ‘Escaped’ the Island at 19, graduated from Brunel University and headed to Black Country to start his career in Outdoor Education with Acorn Adventure. This saw him travel Europe delivering adventures in Spain and Italy and after nearly twenty years, Mel returned to the South Coast to be part of Land & Wave.
Transitioning from a city to a rural environment isn’t just a case of picking a point on the map and moving as Mel recently found out.
‘We already had connections on the South Coast, specifically around the Christchurch area, so once we knew we wanted to leave the city, we knew that Dorset was always going to be near to the top of the list.
‘Leaving city life for rural life can be jarring for some. Living in a city, it’s easy to forget just how convenient it can be. In Dorset, it just takes longer to get around as the roads are only single track most of the time.
‘In terms of where we were looking, the location was key. My partner can commute easily to work and I’ve got quick and easy access to some of the best watersport and beach locations in the UK.
‘When in Birmingham, if you want to go paddling on something that isn’t a canal or the river Severn, it’s a two hour drive. In Dorset, it’s just 10 minutes, on a bad day! Of course there are benefits to city life, like a 24hr lifestyle and a fantastic range of multi-cultural food options. But by being smart and really thinking about exactly what you’d need, you can easily move away from the city and live in an environment that will make you happy and content.’
‘If you have a passion for anything in the outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to reach out and build a life. Building relationships with the local community is really beneficial. A little knowledge can be quite a dangerous thing; it takes more than just a kayak and a little determination to paddle safely in the sea. These are the people who will be able to help you learn all about the local conditions and advise on where’s best to go. Yes, exploring on your own is great fun, but it can be risky, especially if you are new(ish) to an activity.
Are you thinking of relocating to Dorset? Here are Mel’s top tips and reasons for moving.
- Make sure you have a passion for where you’re going. Ask yourself ‘what activity would make you drive three hours to do over the weekend?’ Find a location that means you’ll only be driving half an hour to get there. You can then go there after work, rather than making it just a weekend thing.
- Do you have a connection to the area? This could be personal, family or friends, but it could just as easily be company or a business. Although this is by no means a deal breaker, it can really help make the transition easier.
- ‘Find a job and move, or move and then find a job?’ This is one of the biggest questions I was asking myself and speaking with friends who have done the same. It’s a question that they also asked themselves. We knew where we wanted to be, started looking for work and then once we had that, we moved. Thankfully we were both lucky to find the right jobs, but if only one of us had got a job, we still would have moved.
- Finally don’t be afraid of moving. If you don’t try it out you’ll never know and it could just be the best decision you ever make.
To see what life is like in Dorset, you can watch the Dorset Video Project
12 December 2018 by Matt Brown