Firstly, thank you.
Thank you for caring about our family through this massive life change. So many of you in the last few months have sent DMs, comments, emails just saying kind things, giving suggestion, sharing excitment and honestly it’s meant a lot. Yes we have our close friends who actually are our support system, the massive weight of support from the online community that I give hours of my days to truly gave me strength and meant a lot!
Well, on July 20th 2019 our family packed our many bags with everything we owned and flew our family from our California home to live with my parents in England! It’s been a quick change that we didn’t plan and a massive shift in…. literally everything. So here’s a little catchup and some FAQs.
Here’s the video post where we announced we were moving – click HERE.
1.Why did you move?
We had no plans to! 2 years ago we bought our ‘dream home’ and did a big renovation on it, renovated an airbnb (story highlight here) and imagined our kids growing up there. Around Christmas time Jared said ‘what if we moved to the UK for school?’ I was shocked! It was out of the blue and not something we’d even talked about. He has a place to study at King’s College in London for his PhD and after thinking he’d study mostly remotely we made the (fast!) decision that it would be a really good thing for our family and his study if we based ourselves close to London. It was a big decision but we wanted to (a) really invest in him studying and (b) keep our family life healthy while he does it and England felt like the place for those.
2.Where are you?
We’re living south of London between London and the coast in West Sussex. It’s an area I spent a lot of time in growing up but not somewhere I’ve ever lived. House wise, we are living with my parents, they have a little home next to theirs which they are letting us live in and it’s a GIFT to our lives. Clayton can walk over to them, and having them close is life changing. We’ve done 5 years of Jared in full time school and work through his masters and with kids… it’s hard. I knew he was going to do a PhD before he did 😉 and it was always my dream that he wouldn’t work while he did it, and here we get that. Being with my parents also means family support while he’s studying and I’m working. It’s a dream and I’m so grateful.
3.Did you sell your home?
Yes! We owned a rental and our home in California and we sold both. It was actually our plan to rent our home but we had an offer off market from a family who had dreamed of owning the home for years and years and it was sweet to be able to sell it to someone who loved it so much.
4.Was it hard to let go of your home?
We’d only lived there two years so yes and no, at the end I got sentimental about it but it wasn’t deeply hard. Honestly letting go of the airbnb was harder. That felt like my baby that we’d poured ourselves into in every detail and renovated from nothing, built a thriving business and loved so it was honestly harder to see that go. Truthfully, I was happy to wave goodbye to 200sq ft of house. I loved the space but I don’t need to maintain that. We’re loving in less pace now and I love that.
5. Is it a permanent move?
I feel like we know nothing beyond this point ha! Jared’s studying in London for the next (hopefully only ha) 3 years so we’re here for that and then we don’t know. Obviously if we 100% knew we were going back to CA we wouldn’t have sold our dream home so there’s that 😉
6.Did you ship stuff? What did you bring with you?
We decided to ship nothing, we looked at the costs and honestly the larger pieces are all second hand and just didn’t warrant the costs of shipping. We just packed suitcases. In the end we ended up with 20. 12 that we brought ourselves and 8 that we managed to send with family/friends. Every week for a month Jared went to Goodwill to buy any big extra suitcases they had. You want sturdy ones, but light ones to be able to fill with the maximum weight!
We got rid of a lot. Anything electrical has a different plug so we sold/gifted and we really just brought clothes, a few sentimental items, books, and life essentials. The kids wooden plates from Timerbchild, our diner mug collection, to go mugs from Miir and Hydroflask, Stasher bags and a few other things but it was minimal! And it felt GREAT.
We’ll rebuy (used) everything we need here. It will be slow but I don’t need my house instantly perfect. I’m happy with the search and slowly building, it’s satisfying to me!
7. How will you restock what you left?
Ooh great question. In short slowly, mindfully, and minimally. We’ve unpacked and purchased nothing so far. We want to see what we really need. Not what we think we need. It’s easy to think we ‘need’ to grab some things quickly but usually quick purchases are harder to source well and buy responsibly. So laundry will sit on the floor a while and our shoes will sit in a heap. We’ll get there slowly. I’m using Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree (like Craiglist) to search for things, and we’re using Autotrader for used cars. We will wait a long time for second hand things before buying anything new.
One things we learned clearing out our house responsibly is that really it HAS to start with what you allow into your home. So as we bring any one thing in we’re thinking about where it came from, what it’s bringing into our home, and where it will go when it leaves our home. Only if we’re happy with all three answers does it get to come through our doors. So it will be slow.
8. Are you still running the airbnb?
We sold the Eco Modern Studio airbnb with the house (it was all one property) but its still running as an airbnb, you can book to stay HERE and I think you get a 20% discount if we refer you so message them and tell them!
I’m also going to write a blog post on what we learned developing and running a high occupancy, super host status airbnb so stay tuned for that.
9. Will you still be on Instagram?
Lol, yes. I’m surprised how many times I’ve been asked this one actually! Yep, I’ll still be here in just the same way showing you our lives living as ‘whole’ as we can with regard to food, health, and our home. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t at all daunting to move when there’s a somewhat geographical element to posting and following our world but I’ll still be here with our lives and hopefully content that helps people wherever you are!
I LOVE getting to share how we live – it’s a lifestyle I really believe in whether it’s our marriage and how we parent to reducing waste, budgeting well to be mindful with our money, or how to make life work with real healthy food. I feel really lucky that I get to share and help in those areas. And by some amazing path over the last 5 years, sharing our online life is actually how I have an income that supports our family. It really feels like a community – especially as I’ve put more of our actual lives out there in the last few months, everyone on instagram has been so kind and involved!
10. Will you still use Beautycounter for makeup?
I know why this was an FAQ from the BRITS! …and I’m really sorry I’m not going to come through for you, I’m sorry! This questions has mostly been from Brits because you want to see what I’d buy in England. I get it. Makeup and skincare detoxing is OVERWHELMING. But for that same reason, I won’t be changing and I’ll still be using Beautycounter. I bought what I’d need for a long time makeup wise before moving and I’ll have people bring things over when I need them. Sunscreen I didn’t plan though and I’m to have to try some UK brands – I’ll start with looking at the EWG guide cos I know lots of those are here. I’d LOVE to have an infinite budget to test things out locally to help but mostly I only get to test-drive what I personally purchase for myself and I’m a minimal purchaser. But anything I do end up researching I’ll of COURSE pass on! Ethique for shampoo bars and Dr Bronners are two go to products for us that we’ll for sure stick with here and are available in the US and UK and I ordered some toothpaste tablets from Plastic Free Pantry so we’ll see how they are.
That means too if you’re in the US or Canada, I’m still here to help you – and I LOVE getting to do that! If you want an occasional email with tidbits of helpful info or deals to help it cost less to switch I send a monthly-is email HERE.
11. Tips for moving kids overseas?
I can tell you what we intentionally did but I don’t know really what ‘should’ be done. I have a post
on jetlag HERE for that piece and a piece about calm travel with kids HERE but in general: We didn’t put our emotions onto any piece but let him have his own. We gave him space to feel but didn’t want to tell him how to. We talked about it a LOT – where we were going to, what we were leaving, we talked through the few days of travel in detail for months so that it was familiar when it happened. In the last 2 weeks before leaving we consciously said ‘goodbye’ to more than people. Trader Joes, the trails, our car, his toys, playgrounds… we took a moment and said bye to each of these things to help him close the chapter out without feeling things had disappeared. We were matter of fact about getting rid of things in a positive way, tell him our time with them was up co we didn’t have space to take them so we were giving them to a new family to enjoy them – but we also took care that he knew his few most precious things were protected and we talked about how they’d be with us every step of the change and journey.
12. Do you have friends in your new home?
Not really! We feel like high schoolers again! We both have a few friends in other places in England but not locally. We left a friend situation in California that was like nothing else. A small group of families who lived like a family and it was here wrenching to leave that – but what we learned in growing together and choosing each other we will carry into making new friends here. I’m an introvert but I’m pulling on my extrovert and I’m going to slowly find my people 🙂
13. Is ‘your kind of lifestyle’ easier there?
Honestly, I find people assume that low waste, mindful, healthy, eco conscious (whatever you want to call it) is always easier somewhere else. English people think CA is the dream and people in California think England must be easier cos it’s not America. Honestly it’s hard everywhere haha! The ‘system’ isn’t set up for low waste, natural living you just have to go without and think differently. You have to find what’s available where you are and work with it! I’ll keep you fully posted on our journey here as we discover what our rhythm will be. A few companies I’m excited about trying are: Milk and More for doorstep glass boiled milk occasionally, and The Plastic Free Pantry for nationwide delivery on bulk goods. I’ve ordered and I’ll keep you posted on both.
14. Is your ebook coming out soon?
Yes! We’ve had The Whole Basics ebook almost ready for a while and I had scheduled to release it before we left the states. More than ever before I decided to prioritize health (and so, sleep) and push back the release time until after the move which honestly I’m proud of myself for doing cos that’s not my history or norm. We also have some technical things I want in place properly on the site before we launch the next book so we can ensure a good smooth experience for you as you buy!
There were so so many questions I didn’t answer and honestly some of them just because I don’t even know the answers myself! But stay tuned and hopefully they’ll get answered as we live life.
15. How does it feel to be in England?
Everything. And nothing! There’s a lot to feel but we’ve also been answering kind questions as to how we feel about the move for 9 months – they really are all kind but we honestly feel a bit emotionally spent and not sure of the answers any more! We feel like we were realists about the move, we didn’t expect ease or for it to be all fun or to not have really sad moments and expectation helps us a lot. But there are a lot of emotions floating around. I love this area and I love being with family, but it was really hard to leave our lives. We’re feeling peaceful though, and mostly we’re trying to stay connected as a family and as a couple and air any emotions and processes there well. Deep down though w’re very very grateful to be able to do this and for everyone’s kindness and help surrounding the whole life change.