Sea Change Stories

Insights and tips from the unique and personal stories of sea changers, tree changers and major lifestyle changers

From ‘No Idea’ to Complete Sea Change

How baskets became the key to Andrew and Matthew’s Sea Change Success

When Andrew came home from another grueling day selling real estate in Melbourne, he’d finally had ‘enough’. With the GFC in full force, the pressure was relentless and he and his partner Matthew knew it was time to action their sea change Happiness Plan.

They’d talked about moving to a warmer climate and after considering other options, they chose Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The only problem was that Andrew had no idea what he was going to do for work! Matthew successfully negotiated a remote working arrangement with the company he works for in Melbourne. But for Andrew, the move triggered a whole new direction and a brand new career.

A Small Town with Plenty to Do!

Living in regional Victoria, boredom and loneliness are optional

With a population of just over a thousand, the small town of Yea lies between Seymour and Alexandra, 110km north east of Melbourne. If you’re passing through on the Melba Highway, you’ll notice a pleasant main street with most of the usual things you’d expect in a small country town.

After surviving the Black Saturday fires which wiped out his beautiful stone house at Buxton, John and his partner were ready for a new start. Having grown up in Healesville, John was already familiar with the lifestyle that comes with living and working in Melbourne during the week and escaping to the country for the weekend.

A semi-retired, freelance journalist and publicist who happily describes himself as ‘professionally unemployed’, John has a wealth of tree changing experience. I recently caught up with him to discover his secrets for choosing a location and settling into a new town.

Pack your bags – It’s time to live abroad

What it’s like to live and work from… anywhere

Many people harbour a dream to live and work overseas. Yet the fear of living in a foreign country far from family and friends often stops us dead in our tracks.

Last month I was contacted by someone who’s done it, made it work and loves it! Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to find out how he made it happen.

Connor’s experience and practical advice show that a ‘living abroad’ sea change is more within your grasp than you may think.

The following story of how an expat Pom came to call Buenos Aires home shows that it’s easier than ever to sea change abroad.

Tree Changing – what it’s really like to move to the country

‘Give me a home among the gum trees…’

We’re all familiar with John Williamson’s catchy tune and if you’re like Max Hyde, you may have a rosy picture of peaceful country living. But when reality sets in, things aren’t always as we imagine and hope they’ll be.

Max is the owner of Hyde Media and publisher of a range of rural publications including Town & Country Farmer magazine. He recently moved from the leafy outer suburbs of Melbourne to Tallarook in northern Victoria, a lifestyle change that has brought some unanticipated challenges and the realisation of a long-held dream.

Everyone Said We Were Mad!

When John, a 38 year old successful banking executive decided to throw in his high paid job.

His parents said it was downright irresponsible, while his CEO couldn’t understand why or how he could walk away from a secure and solid corporate career to run a charter boat business in the Whitsundays, his family, friends and colleagues were shocked….

We didn’t realise what NOT making the move was costing us

Malcolm and Genevieve, both in their mid-thirties, had a relatively good life, living in Sydney. Malcolm was a self-employed plumber and Gen worked for a city based legal firm.

The daily commute was a real grind for Gen and Malcolm was finding that being stuck in traffic on Sydney’s congested roads was costing him too much time travelling between jobs..

It’s a Cold Place – don’t underestimate the challenges

Making a sea or tree change is a big undertaking. You can’t always anticipate what it will be like and the reality is often a long way from the dream.

I caught up with Mike, a tree changer who faced some interesting challenges. While he couldn’t have foreseen many of the implications of his tree change, there is much to learn from the benefit of his hindsight…

A Freedom Plan converts a dream into a reality

33 year old Jeni had been with Qantas for 15 years and when she was offered a redundancy package, it seemed like the perfect time to do what she really wanted.

With a passion for travel, she had 2 choices – either work with a friend who owns a travel agency or see if she could make it as a freelance travel photographer…

It was like landing on Mars!

After 12 years living and working overseas, David and Anna decided it was time to return to Australia. Their 3 young children were being raised in a contrived expat lifestyle and they wanted them to have a more normal upbringing, closer to family.

While they had travelled extensively and had wonderful experiences, they were also ready to put down roots. The only problem was they didn’t know how or where..

Adam and Karen

What does a happy collection of chooks, ducks, geese, sheep, pigs and alpacas, and a successful IT consultancy servicing clients in Finland and the U.S. have in common? You’ll find them all on the rural property that Adam Donnison and Karen Chisholm call home in Redbank.

The couple made the move five years ago to escape the suburbanisation of the Dandenong Ranges. They wanted more land around them, and also dreamed of starting a cider-apple orchard and cider mill with heritage varieties.

“We moved from the edge of the Yarra Valley wine district to the Pyrenees Wine Region,” Karen said. “And if you want to live near a winery with some land around you, you won’t get a better deal than coming to the Pyrenees.”

Sarah and Ian

Relocating from the inner city buzz of Brunswick to the stately heritage charm of rural Eurambeen Homestead is a journey that has thrown up plenty of surprises for Sarah Beaumont and Ian Glover.

None the least of these was discovering the potential for business ventures.

“As a serial entrepreneur, I see many golden opportunities here,” Sarah said. “For investors, the entry cost of property is low and the returns are good. It is possible to positively gear here. City property investors tend to steer clear of regional areas as they believe that the capital appreciation isn’t there. I don’t think this is true and eventually, they will realise what great opportunities they are missing out on.”

Carmichael and Vera

Long stints away from home whilst working between Ballarat and Beaufort began to take their toll on Carmichael Stabbins and his partner Vera Cerna.

The solution was an easy decision to make. Last year Vera and Carmichael bought into the very affordable Beaufort property market. Already they are enjoying the produce from their new vegetable garden on their bigger-than-average town block. They hope soon to start renovations to their miner’s cottage to make it even more comfortable.

“I work as part of the landscaping team for the new Western Highway Duplication project,” Carmichael explained. “I have always loved the sense of achievement of the job, but now that I get to come home each night to spend time with Vera in the garden, it’s even more enjoyable”.