Did you know that the vast majority of Australians live in our major cities? With 89 percent of us living in an urban setting, Australia is one of the most heavily urbanized countries on earth. While our world-class cities are vibrant and full of life, where do you find reprieve from the frenetic pulse of modern-day living? A visit to the beach has been an Australian tradition since time immemorial and remains a popular way of “getting away from it all.”

A day at the beach was not enough for me. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by the seaside. The salty air and crystal blue waters of the Tasman Sea captivated me, calling me back like a siren call. I had established myself in Sydney, with a house loan, a good job, and a tight circle of friends, but something was always missing. I spent my weekends at Bondi and Narrabeen, but I wanted more. 

Gone South.

One fateful weekend my friend called me and asked if I was busy on the weekend. No, I replied curiously, my friend had a penchant for the outdoors and knew all the good spots. She told me that she was heading down to Batemans Bay for the weekend, the beaches there were stunning and there was plenty of them. I was very excited that night I packed my things and prepared myself for the long drive down. 

The weekend had arrived, the car was packed, and the GPS loaded with co-ordinates. We chatted excitedly as we crawled through Sydney’s infamous traffic. Are you excited? My friend asks, smiling. Yes, I reply, I am keen to hit the beach. My friend laughs and tells me she won’t be surprised if I want to stay down there. I joke that I may just do that.

Great expectations.

After several hours and several hundred kilometers, we had arrived. After 3 hours, I had decided that this would be my new home. I feel in love straight away with the small-town charm of my surroundings. The ocean lapped gently on the shores of the bay, and the air was noticeably cleaner and fresher. For a weekend we explored the Eurobodalla and I fell deeper and deeper in love. 

Monday arrived, and I was back at work, back in Sydney and back to reality. A cognitive dissonance started in my brain. I had fallen in love with the far south coast, but I was stuck up here in the rat race of modern life. I wanted a change, but I was terrified of the ramifications of such a change. I was paying off a fixed rate home loan and had a good reputation at work. What was I supposed to do?

The right move.

Many stressful, sleepless nights followed my decision to make a move. After contacting my lender, they advised me that I could sell my home, but I would need to pay a “break fee.” After some investigation, I decided that I really didn’t want to get another fixed rate home loan, and instead, I will keep my home and rent it out to tenants. Property values have reached ridiculous levels in Sydney, but they remain reasonable the further you move away. I decided to rent down the south coast because I simply couldn’t afford another home loan.

Three years have passed since that fateful weekend trip, and I have never looked back. City life had drained my bank account, greyed my hair, and left me wishing for a seas change. The far south coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and it’s a short drive from our capital cities. If you are like me and wanting more from life than cappuccinos and construction noise, don’t be afraid to make a change like I did, who knows, maybe we will meet one day in Batemans Bay.