Taking a chance and beginning again is not just reserved for starting new careers. Today, I interview Rachael who began again in a new location. Read why she moved to the country.
Can you please introduce yourself, tell us what you do and where you do it?
I’m Rachael and I work in public relations for a national charity in England. In my spare time, I also blog over at my blog Rachel Stray
You moved to Lincolnshire, which is a very rural area and not something that you were used to. Can you tell us why you moved?
I moved four years ago to Lincolnshire, England to start a new job and career – a reporter at a local newspaper. At the time I wanted a change both personally and professionally and this move allowed me to do both.
In my blog, I write a lot about trying new things and people who start over. Moving to Lincolnshire was such a big change for you, especially since you moved by yourself. How did this make you feel?
At first, I was really excited. I’d never lived away from the North East before so it was a huge change and challenge. Apart from the people, I would be working with I didn’t know anyone else in the county and my family all live in the North East. I didn’t have any friends nearby either so I was really doing it on my own. As time went on the homesickness did kick in BIG TIME and my heart ached to be back in the North East where I felt like I really belonged. I got quite annoyed with people poking fun at my accent and pronouncing my name as Rita for some peculiar reason. I also missed fellow Geordies and my beloved Gregg’s stotties.
(For those of us not from England, here’s a translation from Rachael: People from Newcastle are known as Geordies. Stotties are a local delicacy – A stottie cake or stotty is a type of bread that originated in North East of England. It is a flat and round loaf, usually about 30 centimeters (12 inches) in diameter and 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) deep, with an indent in the middle produced by the baker. You can’t buy them outside of the North East.)
Can you tell us some of the things that you did to meet new people and get used to living in this new area? Was this also how you met your future husband?
I was a reporter so I was always out and about meeting people through work. I deliberately chose a house share so I could at least know a few people outside of work. I met other people through the girls I lived with too and enjoyed going out in town and local pub quizzes etc with my housemates (in the beginning). I also joined a local gym and took part in classes.
I met my now husband through a mutual friend at work. We met on a night out celebrating our mutual friend’s birthday and hit it off straight away. At the time he was the group editor of our rival newspaper titles so it felt a little bit like Romeo and Juliet at times!
While you were living in Lincolnshire you left your dream job of journalism and moved into public relations. What prompted that job change?
Increasingly it was getting quite difficult personally for me to continue in my job. There wasn’t one reason why I left but several really. I felt that the pressure of the ever-increasing and changing demands of the job were getting too much for my own mental health and that it wasn’t worth all of the tears and stress. The long hours, lack of sleep and stress were just getting too much.
There was also a huge conflict of interest for a lot of things because of my relationship with my future husband which did put some strain on my job. We couldn’t talk about stories we were working on until they’d been published and we couldn’t attend work events with each other either. An opportunity to get my feet under the public relations table came up and I took a leap of faith.
Four years after the original move you and your husband decided to leave your jobs and move back to the North East of England, back to the city. Why did you decide to do this?
It was a big decision that we carefully considered together. My husband is Lincolnshire born and bred. His family and friends live in the county and he’d been in his job for 15 years. It was a massive change for him. Also at the time I really enjoyed my job and we had bought a home together but we felt that if we didn’t make the move then it wouldn’t happen ever.
We both wanted a better work-life balance and unfortunately, due to the rural and small nature of Lincolnshire, opportunities for my husband were somewhat limited. With my heart really belonging to the North East and my family and most of my friends in the area we decided to try to relocate.
Fortunately for us, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place quite quickly. My husband landed a job in public relations in Durham and I in Newcastle. We put our lovely home on the market and it sold within a day. We found a little place to rent in the middle of the two cities; we packed up our worldly belongings and made the move up the A1. So far things are going really well and we do go down to visit his family and friends when we can and we’ve had visits up here too.
Are you settled now and what are you currently doing?
We are getting there! We don’t do things by half and my husband has actually just started ANOTHER job due to a promotion which is fantastic. I am settling into my role and we’re in the process of buying our (hopefully) forever house. We’ve enjoyed catching up with my family and friends and because Newcastle has great venues for live gigs I’ve booked lots of tickets. We’ve seen the Killers and next year we’re seeing Ed Sheeran, the Script, and Sam Smith. So we are full of busy!
Looking back to when you made the original move on your own, is there anything that you wish you’d done differently or anything that you wished you knew about before you moved?
The house share I moved into wasn’t as great for me as I first thought. We were different personalities and at different stages in our lives. I was working shifts and some of the girls were students or working opposite shifts to me, so I was often disturbed during the night and I also realized I was too old to be living with four other girls! In hindsight living with fewer people would have been wiser but I wanted to make friends and I was really short on time to find something (I had to move quickly and only had a day to view houses) so I did what I thought was the best thing at the time.
I wish I had known just how rural Lincolnshire is. Public transport is not reliable and I hadn’t passed my driving test. Getting around the county was sometimes difficult as public transport is hit and miss. I had lived in Newcastle my whole life with fantastic public transport links so I never had a reliance on a car so this was a shock for me.
Did you get any advice or help from others while embarking on your new career in a new place? What is the best advice or assistance that you got along the way?
I asked people I did my journalism training with for advice on the job and moving away. I also asked friends who had moved away for work for any tips.
I think the best advice I got about journalism is to make sure you remember: who, what, why, when and how and to practice shorthand as it really is invaluable. I always have my copy of McNae’s close by too in case I want to check anything for legal issues.
I think the best personal advice I have had is if it won’t bother you in five years’ time, try to stop wasting time worrying about it now and everything happens for a reason.
And to go along with that question, what advice do you have for someone looking to make a move for their career?
Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Do your research on the career and the company you are applying for. If you’re moving away like I did – research the city and county as much as you can before.
Have faith too. I was gutted when I decided to leave journalism but actually, the opportunities that have come my way in public relations have been fantastic. I have been so fortunate to work with some amazing people and learn lots of new skills and grow professionally and personally.
I don’t regret moving away to Lincolnshire or that it didn’t work out for me in journalism. I made some fantastic memories and friends of course during my time at the newspaper. I grew as a person living away from everything I have loved and known and I met my husband and his amazing family and friends too. I also found a career I love and my passion for growing professionally sees no sign of slowing down. I also have a much greater appreciation for my family and friends and my beloved Newcastle and North East since I moved away and returned back home.
It is possible to move away from all you know and start a new career somewhere else and Rachael offers some good tips to think about before taking the leap. Here are the links for Rachael.
(All Pictures used in this post were provided by Rachael Stray and used with her permission.)