Five months ago in November 2015 we packed up our house in Leicester and moved 206 miles south to a sleepy village in rural Mid-Devon. Having only visited Devon once before, when we were house hunting that August, it was a pretty radical thing to do. The decision had been a long time coming and wasn't, despite what a lot of people thought, a spur of the moment thing.
People ask if we relocated due to work commitments and normally I just say "we fancied a change of scenery". That is a much shorter answer than "we wanted to live somewhere with stunning scenery, lots of open space, a slower pace of life, lots of outdoor activities and smaller class sizes for when we have kids - nice to meet you".
After several years of dreaming about it, one day we just realised that there was actually nothing stopping us. Leaving my family was the hardest thing and promises of summer holidays and cream teas only went so far in reconciling them to the idea. However, with their full support we made the move and so far I'm ecstatic that we did. Whilst it has not been all plain sailing (moving in during a rain storm, a leak in the kitchen, a longer commute to work etc.) it has exceeded all my expectations.
I constantly find myself surprised. Surprised at how many shades of green there are, surprised that the view out of our window still leaves me in awe despite seeing it every day, surprised that people say hello when you walk by and surprised that we never did this, something that is so 'us', before now. I also find myself smiling a lot more; when I'm driving and see a lovely view or when the noisy birds sing really early in the morning.
I love the "countryness" of life now. Soon after moving in we popped down to the village Spar shop to buy milk and we were followed in by chap in a tractor picking up his groceries. The other day we went out to a church lunch where the conversation centred on re-thatching a roof and growing veg. The ducks could be heard quaking from the garden the whole time we were there.
The best thing for me though is probably how much there is to do. We have a list as long as your arm, several arms in fact, of routes to walk and sights to see. Every weekend we try to get out for a long walk, usually somewhere on Dartmoor.
Never did I imagine myself saying "I'll look it up on the OS map when we get home" or "let's get up really early on Saturday and go and buy some new walking boots".
Our favourite spots so far are the Teign Gorge around Castle Drogo, Meldon Reservoir and Woolacombe beach.
I know these are just the tip of the ice-berg though and that as the years go on we will discover even more great places. In the immediate future is a visit to the bluebell wood at Chenson Farm and a bank holiday trip to Hound Tor and Bellever.
Let's face it, sometimes life is crap no matter where you live. I have found though that being closer to nature and eating more clotted cream, really does take the edge off.
Images blogger's own