Thursday, 3 April 2008

A Possible Alternative to Leaving the Country...

This blog has grown from the seedling desire to leave England and live and work abroad. BUT, one ingredient of the compost which has contributed to its growth, is the need to escape the rat race and search for a simpler way of life.

There are, however, many steps you can take to work less, spend less and establish a better balance of work and life, without making the more dramatic move of leaving England. Over the last few years we have seen the increasing trend among the “upper-working” class to “downshift” their lives, reduce the stress, spend more time with friends and family, work less, and spend less.

Whilst I’m not sure I like the term “downshift”, I do like many of the principles it encompasses, and I love the fact that it indicates a large movement within our society to boycott the consumerist lifestyle which for many, has led to an emotionally unfulfilling dead end.

This month sees the first ever “International Downshifting Week” between 19th and 25th April.

Tracey Smith, creator of National Downshifting Week, received so much support on her campaign over the last three years, that this year it has gone global.

The week long campaign seeks to provide the public with information, and encourage everyone to participate in a couple of downshifting techniques throughout the week. The idea being, if you like the impact it has on your life, you may consider adopting the lifestyle on a more permanent basis.

For more information visit her website:

Tracey has also submitted a petition to 10 Downing Street to “Introduce 'Sustainable Living & Environmental Awareness' lessons to our national curriculum for all pre-school, primary and secondary schools in the UK” – an excellent idea. Click here for a link to the petition.

For people who are considering leaving England in order to adopt a simpler lifestyle, it is well worth considering what alternative steps you can take within your own country first, and Tracey’s website is a great place to start. provides a description of downshifting – as follows:

“Downshifting is about slowing down your pace, finding a better work/life balance, consequently embracing living with less and leading a simpler, greener and happier life!

Downshifting isn't about moving to new counties or countries, in fact, if you are looking to start a 'completely' new life, you'll arm yourself with the best chance of success by 'dipping your toes' into a few of our ideas and making changes within your own four walls, long before you reach for a map!”

When considering the prospect of downshifting as oppose to leaving England – it is worth reviewing your own top 10 reasons for wanting to leave England, and see how many of those issues you could eliminate by downshifting... Click here for a reminder of my top 10 reasons.

Given Tracey's description of the term, it is quite clear that downshifting would eliminate one of my reasons for wanting to leave England: 2. Pace of life

AND I can also see how it could have a knock on effect of increasing community spirit – which is the main point of one of my other top 10 reasons: 3. Lack of people contact

Naturally the movement is also anti materialism – so would provide some armour in your defences against advertising – and help cross another reason for wanting to escape off the list: 5. Materialism...

So... for me – that’s three reasons "kind of" dealt with... hmmm – that still leaves seven!

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