I’m Laura Hall and I am the Communications Director of Kid & Coe, a family travel website based in New York City with a hub in London.
When I’m asked where I’m from, I find it hard to give an easy answer.
I was born in Brighton with a view of the sea from my hospital window; I lived there for two years with my mum, dad and twin brother and then we moved to Kent. We lived there for ten years before moving to south Manchester, and were there for around eight years before moving to Surrey.
(That is the long answer – my short answer is usually that I grew up in Manchester, the place I liked best).
I’ve always been part of a family on the move. We don’t put down deep roots – we travel. My parents wanted to move when great job opportunities came up for them in other parts of the country, and it was good for all of us.
We’ve never been a clan where we all gather round grandma’s table with aunts, uncles and cousins for a weekly Sunday roast. We don’t have a family hub. That idea makes me feel claustrophobic, but I know a lot of people who do it and love it. It’s just not for me.
As a travel writer, I have spent time all over the UK and the world, and wound up working in Bath and living in Bristol for a good spell of my 20s, after living in Oxford, London and Iceland, for a brief period. Working in the travel industry is a blessing and a curse – fantastic opportunities to travel, but it’s so hard, knowing all those options are out there, to decide where to settle.
I’ve been living in Bristol for ten years and this year my family and I move to the Thames Valley, prompted by work mainly, but also because I feel an inexorable pull towards London. I haven’t had my fill of metropolitan life yet. It’s a reverse move – everyone I know pulls away from London when they have kids, but I can’t quit just yet.
It’s all about the compromise – we can be within easy reach of London for work and also live beside a beautiful canal filled with swans (I’ve never seen so many in my life). We will have playing fields, cricket clubs, the Cotswolds on our doorstep and a simpler, less polluted and congested way of life ahead. I know it will work well for our kids – I have a four-year-old daughter and a baby arriving soon – and for us too.
And living in a cupboard in London isn’t going to work for us.
We’re also closer to Gatwick and Heathrow airports for quick getaways – something I like the sound of.
Our new house is so like our old house – a Victorian terrace, with problems to solve and floorboards that need dusting all the time. I love it though – the sense of history really appeals to me.
We made a deliberate decision to buy a house of the same size despite our expanding family because the location is so great. I don’t want to have to drive everywhere and I know that we’ll spend more time outdoors so it doesn’t matter that our house is on the small side.
Most people move to bigger houses and go further from the town centre as they go on, but I don’t want that for us.
I love the idea of living a simpler life, of downsizing and only having things in our house that we really love and need. It points towards a life of .
I don’t know how easy it is to pull off, but it looks great on Pinterest ; )
My head is filled with ideas of life by the sea, in Cornwall or even back in Brighton. It’s not the right thing for work or family right now, but in my mind a future move is going to be somewhere with a taste of salt in the air and the sound of seagulls in the sky. Melbourne’s pretty great too…I like to think that we have great options out there to explore still.