We sat down for a chat with our rather fabulous Art Director Bel Moretti, to find out why she chose the calm of the coast over the rush of the city in her big move to Bournemouth.
When I first moved away from London, I was filled with the usual fear that someone gets when they leap into the unknown. Is there enough here for me? Am I destined to live among retirees because I want to live by the beach? Will the lack of underground raves and roof top mini-golf make my soul dry up, until there’s nothing left but what I’m having for dinner and a half-respectable tan?
Well it’s two years later, and in retrospect, I haven’t felt such unnecessary fear since my GCSEs. After a minor initial meltdown, (in which I bought kitten heels and not the good kind), I feel pretty good about my decision to be here. I expected Bournemouth to offer me more space, some fresh air and some pretty phenomenal landscapes, what I didn’t expect was the creative community, a thriving digital industry and a place to meet some pretty inspiring people.
It’s not my intention to knock anyone’s choice to stay in London. It is however, my intention to say, if London’s not for you, and you still want to pursue a creative career elsewhere, it’s going to be okay! When you wake up one day and you realise that what was once your weekend escape is now your everyday, it’s a pretty good feeling.
Outside of this, if your dream is to freelance your way through daily coffee shop hops until you’re on the verge of heart palpitations, Bournemouth supports an immense community of independents that influences the more boutique areas, to vibes comparable to Bristol’s Southville area.
It may be fairly obvious to comment on Dorset’s natural beauty, but there’s nothing quite like a cliffside sea view to help you forget that brief that momentarily ruined your life. Rent a two-person kayak and paddle away those traumatic memories of whatever email-related fury you felt that day. It works, and you could probably walk there straight from the office. Therapy is free in Bournemouth and most importantly, it doesn’t have to be retail-related. Let’s not be that guy, no one buys great shoes when stressed.
Come the weekend, all those places you want to visit that look so bare and beautiful are only a short drive/train/ferry away. Discover tiny beach hut cafes, foraging adventures, vast hills, sea caves, pop-up restaurants and beach parties. Have all your meals alfresco, and avoid large bar bills buy taking your Friday beverages to the beach.
It may not be everyone’s ideal, but if like me you’re greedy and want it all, you can have exciting career prospects, great bars and the city village feel without having to compromise on your salty hair dreams.
So, if you want a life where your beach towels have pride of place at the front of your wardrobe, right next to your brogues, it may be worth considering some genuine hidden gems that Time Out won’t get to first.