So a very strange thing happened to me the other day; I hung up my (metaphorical) travel boots and settled down into domestic bliss in a quaint English seaside town.
Ok, let’s backtrack a little.
I became a nomad in August 2015, when I headed to Iceland (the country not the chavy shop). There have been a couple of periods in there of living ‘at home’ (notably just after evicting the tenants from hell) but really it has been more than four years of moving from place to place without an address, pulling an increasingly bulky suitcase behind me.
Being truly location independent is harder than you think. Most people who do it seem to have parents who will take in mail and look after prized possessions, and where they can return from time to time to recuperate.
Not having an address brings with it a pile of complications; where do you file your taxes or base yourself for insurance? What happens when the bank suddenly realise that you no longer live at the address they have on file for you so suddenly curtail all your lines of credit? Where do you leave the few things you can’t bear to part with, and how much can you bear to part with when it costs you £150 a month to store it?
Combined with my various health issues it did seem as if a spell in England would be the easiest solution. It’s a chance for me to earn a bit of money (without my litany of excuses about bad wifi, lack of time etc, etc), harass a few doctors and generally stop for a bit.
Having made that decision, the question was where to live.
I investigated various possibilities of places in the UK that I could live.
My ideal home is somewhere a little bit arty, bohemian and alternative, with active meet-ups and facilities for freelancers, liberal minded residents and independent shops and/or markets (also low prices and a Mediterranean climate, but this is England and I had to let something go).
In the end I moved to Brighton, which ticks pretty much all those boxes.
For anyone unfamiliar with Brighton it is a city on the South coast, around an hour by train from London. It is home to the one serving green party MP, Caroline Lucas, who has been MP for Brighton since 2010 (I feel confident enough writing this, I think the upcoming election is unlikely to change anything here). Brightonians also voted nearly 69 percent to remain in the EU.
The Lanes, and it’s slightly edgier cousin North Laine, consists almost entirely of independent shops (there is also a town centre containing the usual suspects that you find in any city all over the world).
The main disadvantage of Brighton is that on the remotest hint of a sunny day a whole pile of people, mainly from London, descend on the place like a swarm of locusts. Also, on school holidays the place is full of language students; they can usually be found standing in huddles outside Primark.
Brighton is not significantly cheaper than London; you have to travel considerably further from London to see any noticeable reduction in your cost of living.
numbeo.com put housing around 39 percent cheaper than London, which is a significant saving, but I’m not convinced their figures are accurate. Other prices, for example food and eating out, come in about ten percent cheaper and in my experience housing is on a par with that. Living in Brighton is only slightly cheaper than living in London.
Transport is more expensive, but I live near the centre and so only use it once or twice a week. Mostly I walk to wherever I need to go.
So this is an update of how things are at the moment. I have a couple of exciting (exciting to me that is) projects that I’m now working on; more to follow. I have a couple of posts from recent travels in the pipeline (translation: waiting for me to edit). I have another trip coming up at the end of December.
Meanwhile, I am enjoying having a postal address (I’m now able to buy everything I need online and no longer visit shops), I’m enjoying having reliable fast internet and I am enjoying having my things around me (no more having to shop for clothes every time the weather changes; I am now covered, literally).