“What would you want to move to Buxton for??”
This is a question I’ve been asked quite a bit since I moved here four months ago, back in October. I think people mean well when they ask this, but there’s usually some genuine confusion attached due to the difficulty I’ve seemingly placed upon myself that many would view as unnecessary, so I’ll do my best to try and explain…
There must have been a moment of clarity, somewhere down the line when I realized that I’m not attached to any particular place at the moment. Unlike a lot of people my age, I don’t have a family, wife, kids or any of that usual stuff that keeps you in one place.
I work in Macclesfield. That attaches me there somewhat, and I’m happy working there for the time being… but there’s nothing actually forcing me to live there; only convenience.
For those not familer, Buxton is a town just 13 miles up the road and crosses the border into Derbyshire. I’ve done a LOT of running over there these past few years and I decided I really like it there. It’s not that far, but I just felt like I needed a move out of Macclesfield after five years of struggling to make ends meet.
I’ve had some hilarious conversations with people back home, trying to explain my mind-set (which I don’t always totally understand myself). These conversations usually go something along the lines of this:
“So why Buxton?”
“I dunno, training reasons, life reasons. Just… reasons.”
“It’ll get cold up there in the winter?”
“… Did you know sometimes in the snow, the main road closes and you can’t get your car through”
“That’s okay, I don’t have a car.”
“Oh right…… wait, hang on… YOU DON’T HAVE A CAR!!?? How on Earth do you get here then?”
And then a different conversation begins; usually resulting in being told.. “you won’t be able to do that in winter” – I’ve actually lost track of how many times I’ve heard variations of that sentence.
I don’t think people are deliberately trying to be negative, or say it can’t be done; it’s just like a knee-jerk response to hearing the word ‘Buxton‘ from Macclesfield.
….. SCANNING BRAIN….. 2 FILES FOUND.
“Impossible to get to in winter”
Here’s what it boils down to…. That’s a 27 mile round trip with 2,500ft of climbing each day.
… It is quite tiring to be fair.
The Decision One Year in the Making
I actually made the decision to try and move here last November. It’s taken the best part of a year to get myself into a position financially where I could actually do it.
I do like it in Macclesfield; I’ve lived there most of my life. It’s a great place to live and work, but for all sorts of reasons, it had become a place synonymous with failure for me. I’d occasionally feel completely miserable for no reason . Well, I say no reason – Broke, dead-end job, rising debt, seemingly unemployable – I did need to pick myself up somehow…
It felt like taking matters into my own hands when I finally decided to go freelance as a personal trainer (at a significant further financial cost I might add). Literally hundreds of recruitment people all over the UK, had very successfully been ignoring my CV and job applications for over five years, but they couldn’t stop me from employing myself.
Unfortunately, the sudden additional overheads from qualification repayments, gym rent, insurance etc… put the idea of a move on hold for a while as business slowly developed. To make ends meet, I lived in a caravan for a short time, before eventually moving back in with parents. Not ideal, but at least it was a step in the right direction. Sort of.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that money doesn’t buy happiness. However, watching your bank balance go backwards every month with a less than minimum wage job and a less than decadent lifestyle is also not particularly conducive to happiness either. Money was not the motivation for this change, but something had to be done!
So back to the subject of ‘why I moved?’ Every now and then I still get a bit depressed about money not going forward enough, or things not going as well as I’d like in some way; what I tend to do reflexively in this situation is go for a walk, or run somewhere. It puts my mind at ease a little and I remember I don’t need money to do this at least. I quite like the fact that now when I do this, I’ll be nowhere near where I work, or where I associate all the earlier failures.
Bottom line then, for the question of “why did you choose to move further away from where you work, in a place that’s notorously difficult to get to, and you can’t afford a car or public transport yet?” – I dunno… cheaper rent, nice area, good for training, all good reasons I suppose… That said, the bike commute has been a bit hazardous at times I’ll admit; particularly the ones late at night. It’s a dangerous road, in thick fog and there have been multiple storms (and there have been some scary moments), but I’m still here, still surviving, and probably stronger for it long term.
Above all, it may still be a work in progress, but a fresh start somewhere new has definitely improved my self-esteem, and surprisingly, my ambition also seems to have returned, which I’ve not had since university. Whatever the reasons, I reckon I must be doing something right and it doesn’t really bother me if people think I’m weird.