Mr A and I surprised our Sydney friends in 2013 when we announced we were moving further afield after selling our house the previous year. The original plan was to move further north up the train line from our old suburb, but we decided on a sea change: we moved closer to the beach. Our friends were aghast. The most common response to our news was an incredulous, 'Whaaaaat?!'
We've always wanted to live near the beach, but we figured it would be too inconvenient, travel-wise for work etc. I'm not sure what suddenly changed our minds, but when Mr A suggested the move - during a day out at one of our (now) local beaches - although I initially thought him a little cray-cray, I quickly warmed to the idea. Mr A's words continued to ring in my ear, 'If we're ever going to do it, now's the time.' Indeed.
Within days I had found our house on the Internet, within the week we were looking at it for the first time, and within a few months we were moving in.
With the move, sacrifices have had to be made. We've gone from a two minute walk to school for Youngest Son, and a seven minute bus ride for the other two boys, to a forty minute (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) car ride in the mornings (with just over twenty minutes each way for the return journey in the afternoon). I spend a helluva lot more time in my car than I used to (before the move I'd often go days at a time without having to get in to one).
We also had to sell two beloved cars (one which we had had since just before Youngest Son was born - we all loved it and it held a lot of fond memories for us) so we could buy more fuel-efficient ones (with all the extra driving, it was costing us a small fortune in petrol).
We used to live a very short walk to a bunch of shops, cafes and restaurants. Now if I forget something, I'm mostly in the car for a quick drive to the local Coles.
If the boys want friends over, it's not as easy to organise as it used to be, and there's certainly no time for after school play-dates these days.
If I want friends over, more planning is involved/required. There's no 'quick drop-in' for coffee anymore.
Because the boys still go to school in our old area, Saturday sport is often quite the commute, and if there are any after school meetings etc during the week, a third trip back to our old stomping grounds is required.
On reflection, the decision to make the move was quite a quick one, mostly made without giving the whole thing too much thought. I mean, yes, we did research travel options to and from work and school, we talked to a few people who already made the commute, and we pondered how we'd balance it all. But in the end, it also came down to a gut feeling that it was the right move. I'm a big believer in listening to your inner voice.
So has it been worth it, and did we make the right decision? Completely and absolutely. We haven't regretted our move for a second. And our friends now understand our decision too; most people, when they visit for the first time, say, 'Well now I get why you made the move.'
I've never felt happier than I do in our new home. When the ocean comes in to view as we drive home from school each day, or whenever I take the dog for a walk to the local beach, I can't help but smile and feel myself relax, and then I sigh a deep, grateful sigh that we made the right decision.
Some sacrifices really are worth it.