With housing affordability going through the roof in metro areas, and slow living become more mainstream, the idea of a sea/tree-change lifestyle is on the rise.

We moved from St Kilda to Paynesville a decade ago. After an initial adjustment period of three years, we wouldn’t have it any other way. When you live where people holiday, you get to enjoy the magic of the region during off-peak times.

A beauty unfurls across the lake during Autumn and Winter, and the Burranan Dolphins are quite active. Something you miss when you’re holidaying here in peak-season.

We constantly count our blessings that we call East Gippsland home, so much so we shared our story with the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper.

The article focused on regional living and the sea/tree-change movement, which we discussed with the Three Hours From Home Instagram community in more detail.

Posing the question, “Is it better to find a home where your employment is located? Or to live where you want to live, and reverse-engineer your employment to suit?” several of our connections contributed to the discussion.

Innovative thinking and a can-do attitude was all award-winning free-range egg producers, Peter and Deb Hahnemann needed when establishing Forge Creek Free Range.

Deb says, “What about when you live where you want to live & then build your employment where your home is located?! Some would call us crazy!”

We think their craziness is worthy of acknowledgement! It seems that in the Hahnemann’s case, a vision and tenacity is a recipe for success.

On the other hand, Polish-born Australian based artist Aldona Kmiec chooses to live/work in two places, both 70/30, due to personal circumstances.

“It’s totally doable when you’re organised and I’m the proof in the flesh. Although having an already established freelance photography practice in Ballarat and moving to East Gippsland was hard,” says Kmiec.

“Establishing myself again, making new connections and dealing with up and downs of lack of employment and income makes you quite resilient, but it’s not easy – it’s a normal state to be in when you undertake something challenging and new,” Kmiec said.

Kmiec says that website SEO is very important for her business, as well as the need to think differently when undertaking a sea/tree-change, “The world is no longer traditional – we need to adapt and find new and innovative ways that suit us individually.”

It took a while for us to settle into our new community when we moved from the city. Work, school, volunteering or recreational activities are a great way to meet people.

Gippsland-based social media specialist, Erika McInerney of Mac&Ernie, believes a place needs to feel right, “Oh we chose where we wanted to live and the reverse engineered. I think you should find a place that feels good. If it doesn’t feel good then work won’t make it feel better.”

Have to agree with Erika, with work being such a big part of our life it’s important to love where you live.

Phoebe Rae of Faces of Gippsland and Small Town Wanderlust believes that we can make any combination work if the motivation is there.

“I really value being 8km from my current office but do travel around Gippsland for my role in Communications. Today I spent 4 hours in the car but enjoyed the drive through the rolling green hills, zero traffic stress like in the burbs,” says Rae.

“Proximity is a high priority for me after city living and a 1hr/4km commute up Punt Road (and back) I NEVER want to do that again. For eleven years running Obsession Coffee we lived five blocks from work. It was awesome!”

Whatever your situation, you need to be ready to make the move from the city to a rural environment. We initially thought our sea-change move was a sudden phenomenon, however when you look back we must have been ready.

We bought our place in 2005 and when our first child arrived in 2006 we knew we wanted to raise our family in the country. It seemed a natural progression to move to Paynesville permanently in 2007/2008 when our work circumstances dramatically changed.

Learn more about why we sea-changed from St Kilda to Paynesville.  And why we turned our passion for travel & adventure into a peer-to-peer, sharing economy business through Camplify.

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