Life in the South-West as far as my own experience has informed me is quite relaxed and easy-going -people here don’t seem to be in a rush as much and you can stop and chat with people.
I first visited in late 2018, I think probably towards the end of September and I completely fell in love with Plymouth. The first thing to cross my mind was indeed how much calmer it felt when compared to the lifestyle I was used to – but then again, Plymouth was often known for its bohemian scene. I remember distinctly boarding a bus and having a friendly chat with the bus driver, which isn’t something you can do in the South-East, you’d just get a simple ‘f**k off’ (a little exaggeration, but my point still stands). I often take the bus to sit on the Hoe, or to just wander over to Cremyll and then Cawsand, Rame and along the coastline – I could do similar things at home, but my options were Bognor Regis, and Chichester; much less eventful. Plymouth was so offset from home that I was immediately entranced, and two years later I’m still here.
The South-East, or for me, home, is a very fast-paced atmosphere and way of life; you work… you die… and that’s what you are. Living costs are high – in fact, all costs are high. My train to college in the morning used to cost me almost a pound a minute, on a nine-minute train journey. I’d never get a seat in the morning, or the evening and it was so cramped you couldn’t move without being unapologetically British, getting ready twenty minutes beforehand to signal you wanted to move somewhen in the impending future, that being if those around you aren’t distracting themselves from the monotony of their day to day work, as did everyone on that train – including myself. When I did get a seat which I believe only ever happened once, my entire day was thrown off course. From that moment I felt something was wrong and had an almost instantaneous dread wash over me.
Everything in the South-East seems to bear a sort of heavy importance and you feel unintentional peer pressure from false traditions that have been created around work ethic and what you should be doing – in my opinion, the South East is for people who want to be working big-name jobs and can afford the lifestyle, not those looking to start families and seeking a place of comfort.
I call Haslemere home, which I’m pretty sure at some point was voted prettiest high street in the country – or at least I was told that as much (as I don’t believe it) – there used to be rumours of David Bowie living there, and I’m pretty sure many famous people probably have, not that it matters. I think the fact that private schools in Haslemere outnumber public schools four to one (as far as I’m aware at least) speaks volumes; but then again, I did live along the Waterloo Line where parking would cost your pension.