Search for what's real: new seachangers crowd out the old

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by Michaelangelica, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Search for what's real: new seachangers crowd out the old

    Post-summer holiday blues and the desire to up and move to the sea or bush are symptomatic of a deep longing for authenticity and belonging to a community, says QUT PhD seachange researcher Nick Osbaldiston.

    But it is so common a reaction now that the original seachange towns such as Byron Bay and Noosa have been "loved to death" and are no longer havens for those wishing to live away from it all.

    "Some places have lost their aura of being a regional town and have become mini metropolises which for some 'original' seachangers becomes a problem," Mr Osbaldiston said.

    "Some are even resorting to moving to other areas, depending on their economic and social resources."

    Mr Osbaldiston has studied the motivation and experience of "seachangers" - the people who leave the city, downsize and simplify life - across Australia and internationally for the past three years.

    "At its heart, seachange is about a deep rejection of 'the now'. People are actually searching for congruence between their own values and their lifestyle," he said.

    "They are rejecting cities as they seek less cluttered environments and to be involved in a community where they know their neighbours."

    But developers and local councils in regional areas had "caught on to" the seachange phenomenon and had set about providing city-style infrastructure to attract more of them, he said.

    "They think 'this is what we have to give them' so these things are allowed to arrive. But the first seachangers who arrived back in the 1980s and early 1990s in some areas now find their idyllic locations too commercialised and lacking in authenticity," Mr Osbaldiston said.

    "Also, many of the original residents are being pushed out by the influx of development spurred on by seachangers. It's a phenomenon, not limited to Australia, which is being researched in North America and Europe."

    He said a seachange task force had been established by local councils in seachange areas to investigate environmental and social sustainability issues.

    "For some areas such as part of the northern New South Wales' coastline, research into issues such as housing equality and rental affordability has come too late," Mr Osbaldiston said

    "There is no clear cut answer to this. If local councils continue to allow development and seachange continues, eventually housing costs will impact on rental prices making life difficult for those once 'traditional' residents."

    Mr Osbaldiston's earlier research found many seachangers had a starry-eyed view of getting out of the city.

    "Many seachangers admit to taking "leaps into the unknown" in their rush to enjoy the romance of a simple life outside the city," he said.

    "Not only do they risk financial security but they also risk stepping outside established social networks in the city because country communities are, at times, quite remote and also not always socially welcoming."

    Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT
     
  2. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Like many who have been seduced by that evil program The Good Life and subversive magazines like Earth Garden, Mother Earthand Grass Roots, I made a sea change throwing over a promising professional career.
    Older and wiser now I have learned many lessons, though perhaps not enough to get me to the next level of Buddhist Enlightenment.
    Firstly the money and banks. Australian banks like lending for homes. They don't like lending for farms and rural businesses. So, you have to get business finance for your county paradise. problem #1 double the going interest rate.
    It is sad that we penalise business in this way in Australia yet provide low cost finance for unproductive housing

    Secondly holidays. You don't need them your on holiday already? No? After working 80+ hours a week for a few years you go bonkers without a break. So who looks after your plants/crops/livestock/animals? I had a plant nursery-- almost impossible to leave unattended by someone who does not know what they are doing. So the solution? get bigger so you can hire someone to take over and give you some time.

    problem #3 unless your employee is earning for you about 8 times his/her weekly salary he /she is costing you money. It is almost impossible to do this without massive capital/machinery outlay. You have to create an environment for your staff where they can make money. Macdonald's does this as do many franchises by developing a system that enables people to make their wages+ some. There is little money in growing things unless you are huge.

    problem #4Becoming successful
    (to be continued --any questions?)
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Occupation:
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    warm temperate - some frost - changing every year
    I have a question!

    I have a question MA - Does this have a happy ending? Owning nothing is very liberating and easy to do - just give it all away. Just look at the birds in the sky, they want for nothing and yet they have so little.
     
  4. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    Jump in feet first. You will always either sink or swim.

    My seachange - Ive been visiting this place for 20 odd years before I fell in love with a woman. she lived here so I moved here. that was 6 years ago

    Only greed can change this place - the greed where idiots sub duvude their vegie plot and bild a house on it - one of the massive houses offered as a prize by Boys Town was once a vegie plot. Two houses behind me used to be just one.

    Idiots who make the move and then realise they cant manage without their BMW Guccis, or who must have a thousand dollars a week as throw away money - they are the ones who ruin the place. If theres anyone out there googling seachange - unless you want to change drastically as a person, you will help ruin what you are moving to.

    The place I liive in is a sea change community - in the 60's it consisted of 30 houses, in the 30's it didnt exists at all. It has 1500 people living here each census night and thers 10% of the hosues standing empty for most of the year. When the millionaires from Brisbane come up they brign all their combined families with them so houses built for two have a dozen people crowded into them.
     
  5. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day All

    A very interesting topic, and one that is close to my own area of research interest.

    In a similar vein, but this time on the subject of the tree change phenomenon, the following articles make for interesting reading:

    When the tree-change dream turns to dust

    Increasing numbers of Melburnians are fleeing the stressful grind of the city for what they dream will be a peaceful country retreat. But tree changes do not live up to the harsh reality of life in rural Victoria, a new study has found. In fact, 90 per cent of those surveyed say they are so disenchanted they plan to move on — to another town, the coast or back to the city — within five years. Most say they are stressed by high living costs, poor work opportunities, a lack of services and the effects of drought. Many feel unwelcome and isolated.

    Rural life not so sweet

    Frazzled treechangers are disappointed by the stress of rural life and not being made welcome by the locals. A majority of those who moved from Sydney to the bush faced more negatives than positives in their move, a new study has found. "About 50 per cent felt they didn't fit into the community, that there was a sense they had to have several generations born and buried in the area to be a local. They didn't know how to connect with locals and some didn't try, they didn't know where to start - so they moved out or stayed in their new house and then felt isolated. Many would like to move back to the city, but can no longer afford it and become quite disgruntled about that".

    Angela Ragusa's study found that only 2% of the people interviewed actually researched their intended place of relocation. Another finding was that only 14% moved for 'environmental' reasons (maybe they were permies?). Most moved because of 'stress', only to find that life in the bush is not exactly stress-free.

    I look forward to the publication of Ragusa's comprehensive report, and I will provide a link in this thread upon its release.

    So, if people who make the tree/sea change are finding that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence, what to do? Part of my research is to look at ways of making the urban locales more appealing to those that seek 'a better life'. Many people state that they make a sea/tree change because they want to feel 'more connected' to their local community. Surely then, rather than packing up and moving to the coast/bush, these very same people could find ways of tapping into their local community, and thus save themselves (and the coast/bush) a lot grief?

    Why is it that sea/treechangers feel that the coast/bush will be a panacea to all their ills? Thanks to the work of Ragusa and others, the push/pull factors associated with 'amenity migration' are now well known. What is little known however, is what will pull these very same people (90% of the sea/tree changers) back to the urban districts, and keep them there? I suspect it will be the feeling of 'community' that can only come from living in a village-like atmosphere. My work will focus on the barriers to the creation of urban villages, how we can overcome them, and how we can provide opportunities for the sea/tree changers to re-migrate back into the urban environment.

    So, what do you think? If you have made a sea/tree change only to now find yourself just as (if not more) miserable than before you made the shift, what would it take to make you happy living back in an urban environment?

    Cheerio, Marko.
     
  6. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    and Desert Change....

    the consistent theme is 'fleeing the population centres',,,the rest is just flavour.....it may be flavour born of socio economics, eccentricity, etc.
    in fact, getting consensus among 'the self exiles' is difficult....

    hats off to MA and others that suffered the 'opportunity cost' of escape....so often the cost is wealth and 'success' in the other camp.

    it is so much harder because you are pioneers....the pioneering of the rural regions abandoned for the cities a generation or more ago....
    you are the avant guarde.......gotta smile,
    else you'll cry.

    love
    kimbo

    ps....i have a hunch that sea changers don't have dreams about Cataclysmic Oceanographic Events......massive waves, from a mediocre metorite, that leave the Geophysicists and Oceanographers going ' shit, we didn't see that one coming '.......i do, hence the desert, hence the high ground.
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    I guess i started the telling of my Tree Change so others might learn from it.
    I did that becase I listened to an ABC talkback late one night (early morning?) on people who have made it "off grid'
    Quite a few had; quite a few hadn't. Some tried and failed and were bitter about the 'promise."
    It is important not to make a life decision like this when wearing rose tinted glasses.
    Last night i saw a movie were the old hero said to a yonga'n;- "When you get old you have regrets. The ones you regret the most are those were you know you had a choice."
    PP Does my story have a happy ending? I don't know yet.
     
  8. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    There also seems to be a Green Change trend, where people decide to "green up" their life without moving. They convert the empty backyard into vegie patches and a chook run, plant some fruit trees, get water tanks and grid-connected solar power, etc. They also start to get more involved in their local community, try to buy local food, and generally reduce their carbon footprint.

    While not as drastic as a Tree Change or Sea Change, which both involve moving house and often changing career, I think it addresses the same fundamental yearning for a place to belong, for contact with neighbours, and to get in touch with nature. There's a growing general recognition that modern society has gone too far, and that humans don't thrive in such a disconnected environment.
     
  9. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    For me the tree change was something I felt I had no choice in...

    I couldn't go on the way I was because pretty much most of popular culture/society just grates on my nerves. Even the things I really enjoyed, were things my conscience chastised me about to the point of not being able to enjoy them any more. I have never really enjoyed working for The Man, I didn't even enjoy going to school for The Man. I have racked my brains trying to think of a 'job' that I could do - because in many ways working in a job is the easy way - but too no avail. I just feel like there is no place for me in mainstream society. The Man just feels like imprisonment to me. So to a certain extent I have dropped out of that world and am now adding my energy to the sub-culture. Who knows maybe one day I will be part of the mainstream and the new kids will be telling us a better way. But all I know is that if I don't do this NOW, mine would be a death by a thousand cuts. The difficulty is that The Man now 'owns' pretty much everything and that makes it all the more challenging. And The Man has had us in the clutches of addictions for so long, people inevitably have withdrawals - going cold turkey is tough...

    I also think this... That we must be the change that we wish to see in the world, not so that we will ever see the change, but so that we are being authentic to ourselves (I think this is where true happiness lies). I am conscious of the possibility that I may never see any change, in fact I imagine this will be the case, and yet that doesn't diminish the need to BE the change. In this way I may die a poor man lamenting the fate of the world, but I will have lived a life of a rich man rejoicing in my daily efforts, I will die knowing I did all that I could.

    Mike, I don't think it matters if your story has a happy ending so long as you find your source of happiness in the NOW. If there was more happiness now it would echo out into the future. ;)

    Yours truly Mahatma Grahame lol
     
  10. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    ooooo Grahame - I got tingles down my spine reading this.... Can I quote you elsewhere?
     
  11. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Go for it Eco.
     
  12. krule22

    krule22 Junior Member

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    “Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Ghandi
    Great words, imagine the world.
     
  13. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    dam it G, sign and date that shit....the American declaration of independence had less in it than this baby....
    and for the record, the complete text - surely a nominee for the annual PRI Forum '' tears of the free award "....has been stolen and appropriated by mrwcub/communications/propaganda/....

    we love you for this
     
  14. krule22

    krule22 Junior Member

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    "Tears of the Free".....great song title!!
     
  15. springtide

    springtide Junior Member

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    Way to go Mr G, i think a few of us have simalar reasons but no where near the eloquence... something more to learn
     
  16. dannyboy

    dannyboy Junior Member

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    Great post Grahame.

    I think going cold turkey might be too much for me and my family. I want our move to the country to work and hope to avoid a freak out so I'm changing incrementally. I find that I'm examining everything I do and like and asking myself, do I really like this? do I need it? can I do with out? is this a way I really want to spend my time/money? Have I really just been conditioned throughout my life to like these things?
    I feel I've been corrupted.
    Why was I never taught how to provide myself the basics for my existence - food/water (identifying, growing, raising and slaughtering animals, cooking (very little taught), preserving, storing), shelter (how to build a simple dwelling of adobe, timber, etc), warmth (well I was taught how to build a fire luckily).
    I've been raised and trained to be a consumer.
    Made to feel I want things.
    It's not just the school curriculum, worse, it's family! Without the knowledge or skills to pass down through the generations we just keep sending our kids off to school to do the same thing. and with mum and dad busy working their arses off to pay for an enormous mortgage and the latest snazzy cars and gadgets, the whole thing just perpetuates.
    It's bloody ugly.

    Anyway, as was inscribed on a cup given to me by an auntie at my birth:

    Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life
     
  17. Mechandy

    Mechandy Junior Member

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  18. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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  19. dannyboy

    dannyboy Junior Member

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    sorry the link didn't work.

    But who benefits from such commoditization if people get there then realise it's not for them and leave again? estate agents perhaps but is that it?
     
  20. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    Nothing new in flogging 'the rural idyll'.

    Here's a blurb from the good people of 1870s Gatton:

    Or if to art one is devoted... If to be a poet is one’s desire... or if music hath charms for him listen to the wild bird’s melody... Or... you may be a botanist or a naturalist. This is the place where ye can revel to your heart’s content... We are a simple and contented people, we clear and plough and sow and reap, and tread our even paths, unmoved by those enticing vanities...

    Source: ABC Centenary of Federation - Gatton Rural Idyll
     

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