Why I love living on the Isle of Wight
I pretty much grew up on the Isle of Wight, give or take a couple of early years on the mainland (I’m not a true Caulkhead) and spent most of my teenage years itching to leave. By the time I reached the age of 18 I could not leave fast enough. Granted I didn’t go far but it was enough to get away from what I deemed to be the ‘boring’ and ‘claustrophobic’ Island.
I lived away for approximately 10 years and during that time took a year off to travel the world. It was this break from normality and seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world that led to Tony and I to reach the decision to return to our beloved Island. We resolved that it is the most beautiful place in the world to live and where we truly called ‘home’.
We returned from travelling with no job and a house in Southampton. It was the height of the recession and we could not sell our house in Southampton and although Tony was able to find employment on the Island I had to commute to my previous job in Eastleigh (about 5 miles outside of Southampton). So began 5 years of commuting for 2 hours door to door each way, yes that’s right 4 hours of travelling per day!
My work colleagues and mainland friends would ask me repeatedly why I commuted so long every day when I had a house in Southampton. This normally led me into a long conversation about the benefits of living on the Isle of Wight.
I am fortunate enough not to have to commute any more having started my own business on the Island, but Tony still makes the daily trek to Southampton each day with travel of 3 hours per day.
So why do we stay here and what makes/made the long commute worthwhile?
Community & Friendly Isle
Being an Island there is so much more of a community feel than I have experienced on the mainland. Being cut off from the mainland by water gives a feeling that we have to look after one another and with our boundary clearly defined people have that sense of belonging to the community here.
Visitors often say that coming to the Island is like stepping back in time and in a way it really is.
Because it is a small place there is no room for selfishness, you see the same people all the time, and with a small population you are bound to run into the same people regularly.
I am sure that there are examples of such community spirit all round the country but people genuinely love where they live here and look after it, and each other.
When you are out walking, no matter what time of day or year, passers by will say hello and make conversation, people want to stop and talk. Unlike some places, for example London, where you are considered a weirdo if you talk to someone on the Tube, it is the norm here and quite the opposite.
Some shining examples of the brilliant community spirit and initiative here on the Island include; Shanklin Theatre, Ryde Waterside Pool & Ryde Ice Rink. In each of these cases members of the community have given up their own time to help to keep these amenities open and available for the use of the whole of the Island.
We are also fortunate over here to have a fairly low crime rate compared to the rest of the UK. For example according to statistics published by the Mirror Website (www.mirror.co.uk) the Isle of Wight ranks as the 7th lowest in the country for Burglary’s. For all crimes we averaged 4.37 per 100 residents giving a rank in the country of 182 out of 348.
Beautiful Scenery from Beach to Countryside
We are lucky to still have plenty of open space to enjoy life and escape the ‘rat race’. The scenery and space give the whole Island a feeling of calm, and even in the busiest times there is space to breathe and find solitude.
Even in the busiest warmest days of August it is possible to find a stretch of beach where you can pretty much have it to yourself.
There are plenty of natural wonders, and the changes with the seasons on the Island make it a truly beautiful place to live.
The Island really does have a slower pace than the rest of the country, there is some truth in the fact that the Island is slightly behind the rest of the country, and this is one of the benefits.
It is calmer and more relaxed, meaning that you can reduce your stress levels and sit back and enjoy life in ways you can’t in a big city.
There is so much going on all year round, and we talk about it a lot on the podcast, but you truly can find something to do every single week on the Island.
Events are diverse and there really is something for everyone, from the huge Isle of Wight Festival, Cowes Week and Bestival to the local village real ale festivals.
You can be guaranteed to find an event for all ages and tastes all within 146.8 square miles.