Almost 2 years ago we moved to Newcastle, Australia with the hope of living a local, cycle friendly, beachside lifestyle. During our ride across Europe we discussed for hours on end what was most important to us in a place to live (In fact we blogged about it at one point – Why the Dutch Have it Right). One of the things we loved about Berlin was how all our activities were super accessible and how transport was predominately by bike. This was a far cry from what we experienced while living in car-based Sydney. Jeff Speck in his TED talk “The walkable city” had very convincing arguments on why removing/reducing a reliance on cars increases people’s quality of life. Newcastle seemed to tick all the boxes, so we left Sydney in our dust and here we are.
We love it!
Our inner city suburb is filled with families, has a leafy centrally located park, oodles of cafes and restaurants, many services, and a large variety of fun activities. We are so grateful to be connected to such a vibrant community. It is also an easy 2.5km cycle to a stunning world class beach that still leaves me in awe and slight disbelief that I am actually cycling HOME and not to a campground or holiday house.
To make matters better we have invested in an awesome machine. ‘The Babboe’, a dutch marvel, purchased from the charming Bernie from Metro Cycles.
One unexpected benefit of travelling in ‘Babboe style’ is that it is a great conversation starter! No matter the social standing, the general consensus is that our bike is tops. These little daily encounters make me feel more a part of the local community. It is, as one friend put it, “a lifestyle of awesomeness.” Without a doubt some of the happiest moments in my day are when the kids and I are cruising around talking about what we see or simply sitting silently enjoying the peaceful moment and watching the world glide by.
And so at this stage our plan is to sink further into the wonderful lifestyle that Newcastle can provide, and satisfy our nomadic yearnings by planning shorter trips. Maybe that will work for us for a while. We’ll see. Either way, whether this becomes our permanent home or not, I’m certainly glad to be here.
Loved reading this post! Thanks! I totally concur that the walkable or ridable city has the highest quality of life. We spent a year living in the pedestrian only area of the Albaicin in Granada, Spain where we experienced a wonderful community and got very fit just through incidental exercise of walking up and down the pathways and hills of the city. It has been a shock to the system to be back in car addicted Sydney.
Thanks for your comment! We have really enjoyed reading your blog. I’m sorry to hear your return to Sydney has been a shock (maybe we could convince you to move up here?!!) I think coming home is probably the hardest aspect of living elsewhere or going on an extended trip.
Despite this we are planing our own year in Spain (probably once both kids are in school, so we have a few years to plan!) Granada is currently on top of our list, so we are looking forward to talking to you about that when the plans get serious 🙂
Oh how exciting about your plans for a year in Spain! Happy to help. Our kids are a bit too old now for another year away so we plan to go for extended holidays instead.