Moving and settling into a new home

20 August 2018
I received an email from a reader last week who is packing to move to a new home. They are moving because her husband has been promoted and the new position is in another state. She is concerned that she won't like the new home and as she's put a lot into her current home, it's making her anxious. She asked for my thoughts on moving, so here they are.

In the 42 years I've known Hanno, we've moved house 22 times. We had two years in Germany, 15 years further north in Queensland, 21 years here (in south-east Queensland) with the rest of the time in one place or another. I loved moving then. I was younger and wanted to see new places, meet new people and the thought of settling down in one spot didn't interest me at all.  I've completely changed. Now I see permanence as something to be cultivated and I hope to breathe my last breath, right here in this house. Truly.

Many of us are not living in our ideal location. There is always greener grass just over there, if only we could get to it. When we were moving around, I always thought our next move with be THE one where there would be many opportunities and everything would be easy. But in reality, when we arrived here, when I was 49 years old, what I found was a changed mindset instead of an ideal location or beautiful home. When we arrived here, I slowed down enough to see what was around me, I got involved in my community and slowly settled in.
If you're in this position and are constantly on the move, I offer you these small thoughts:
  • Forget about what others are doing - follow your own map
  • Adapt your home to suit yourself and your family
  • Use the land you live on
  • Be a part of your local community
  • Don't expect everything to improve immediately
Finding a house that will suit you for your lifetime isn't easy. Often you find a house you like but you don't like the location, or vice-versa. One thing is clear to me, buying a house is not like buying any other product. A house has to suit all its occupants and it has to change over the years as everyone grows up, evolves and matures. So don't worry if your house doesn't feel like your home when you buy it because you will grow into it, you'll learn what it needs to be your ideal home and slowly, as you change your surroundings to suit your family, your home will change you too. 

The first time I came to this block of land we live on I felt I'd come home. I didn't like the house, there were no fences, no garden, no solar panels, no tanks, no driveway but I loved the land. That rainforest out the back that hides a permanent creek cast a spell on me that made me realise our search for "home" was over. We had a good deposit, the house, compared to house prices today, was incredibly cheap and I knew we'd be happy here. This land and the work it took to change the house changed me too. I didn't know that would happen but I can see now that it was the most valuable gift.

If I'd been commercially savvy and had looked for potential, amenities that were close by, and all the things we're told we should look for in a home, I probably would have passed by this house. Instead I looked for a good annual rainfall, a council that allowed me to have chooks, level land where we could grow a garden, sunshine, clean air, markets and supermarkets that were close but not too close and a quite street. We have lived the most wonderful life here and I thank my lucky stars that we were in the right pace at the right time and I bloomed where I was planted.

Additional Reading:
Finding Home