Jacqui has plenty of plans for their future in the Yorkshire Dales, as she explains: "I was able to take an early pension in 2017, being 55, so it gave us a bit of capital. We plan to have an online tutoring business that can eventually be global in nature. Alongside that, we already tutor some students face-to-face in the local area. I wanted to become more creative, so I have set up a card-making business, where I sell handmade cards and produce bespoke cards to customers' individual requests.
Setting up our businesses is taking a while, initially in what 'infrastructure' we need, such as a website, resources and clients - this is still very much a work in progress, and trying to get enough clients to earn an income from our businesses is taking a while. We know this is the biggest obstacle, so having the buffer of the capital from taking early retirement has been essential. For some people, if they were to make a similar move (in terms of location as well as property types) they would benefit from the vast difference in house prices and maybe even downsizing. We have always rented, so we don't have this as an option, but the cost of renting similar properties here is substantially less than in the south east."
Jacqui has found that local people are very friendly. They are making full use of their National Trust and English Heritage membership, visiting many beautiful local places. Jacqui loves that the roads are far less busy, there's so much open space, amazing views and plentiful wildlife. There's also a strong sense of community in Newsham and Richmond with many local events. It's fair to say that Jacqui is glad she made the move, " what has made me happiest is that everything here has contributed to my feeling well again, and being myself again, having suffered from anxiety and depression caused by our working and living situation prior to 2017."
The last winter was a little challenging but they managed. "Although we had a lot of snow in the winter, we actually found it easier to get around in the car than if we had still been in the Southend area, due to the difference in sheer volume of traffic. The farmers do a wonderful job helping to make roads passable, and there is not the same response of drivers causing gridlock on the roads. A 4x4 is useful, but certainly NOT essential. I would recommend a car engine size of at least 1.4 though, to manage the hills a bit better!
Although we were able to get out and about in the snow, we did set up a cupboard with tinned and dried foods and always have ingredients for bread making etc "just in case". Contrary to what some people may think, there are opportunities up here, lively towns and cities are not too far away, the schools are good, the infrastructure is just as good as the south, there IS public transport up here... and our car insurance is cheaper."
Jacqui give her tips for anyone thinking of moving here: "Weigh up your options, pros and cons for moving versus staying as you are and make a simple business plan. If you have something that remotely looks like a feasible idea, and you like the idea of getting away from the rat race, then DO IT! We haven't regretted our decision a single nanosecond and we intend to remain in these parts for good!"