Coastal and Rural Retreats

With Covid-19 dominating our lives in every conceivable way and self-isolation being our norm, what has become readily apparent is the difference in the quality of life in isolation that coastal and rural living allows. Confinement in high density apartments, or residential blocks within medium density suburban living presents numerous issues:  working from home isn’t that easy for many, others have lost their jobs completely, there might be children to keep occupied and of course, exercising within social distancing guidelines can be tricky.  Navigating all this can be a nightmare and the level of stress caused by these and numerous other factors is understandably taking a toll on the emotional wellbeing of so many. 

Cut to the coast and country where less people and larger blocks and an abundance of fresh air make for a more relaxed, less-stressful lifestyle – in beautiful surroundings no less!  With many city-dwellers owning coast or country weekenders, often rented out as b&b accommodation, many of those properties, in the absence of holidaymakers are now being utilised full-time by their owners who have decided this period of isolation would be more ‘enjoyable’ in the more relaxed ‘weekender’ environment – and much safer to boot, as the greater physical distance afforded by larger blocks and less people reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19. Additionally, time spent at the weekender has delivered the opportunity to attend to those numerous maintenance tasks that just keep piling up. Everyone’s a winner!

I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with a number of these ‘isolation migrants’ over the past few weeks with many viewing this largely enforced change of scenery as a gift; a life-affirming event that has become the genesis for a far-reaching re-think of life’s priorities and needs.  Now enjoying a deeper relationship with their local communities, many are realizing that the Hunter/Mid-North Coast has everything they need: shops and services, schools, a wealth of tradespeople, decentralization of urban businesses, excellent telecommunication and transport infrastructure (equal if not better to the cities) and that wonderful sense of community that small town living offers, especially in a crisis.  And now that working from home is viewed as acceptable, viable and (surprisingly) beneficial to overall productivity, many have made the decision to either sell or lease out their respective city homes and turn their Hunter/Mid-North Coast ‘weekender’ into their permanent home.

While a permanent exodus to the country is not for every city dweller, over the past few weeks I have been fielding enquiries from many urbanites looking to purchase a country retreat.  I’m sensing that this desire is not simply to enjoy the benefits that coastal/rural weekenders offers, but part of an underlying desire not only for a ‘safe haven’ should pandemics such as this be more constant in our lives, but one that in other times can yield an attractive b&b accommodation income stream and let’s not forget that once restrictions start to life, holidaying locally is a theme of governments and tourism bodies.  It is evident that the escape to the country theme has taken on a whole new, and wonderful meaning!