I left a well paid job in Hong Kong, to move back in with my mum in sleepy Yorkshire. Am I crazy?

Updated: Aug 28, 2020


My mum, looking youthful as always, amongst the greenery of Yorkshire.

This is the kind of thing you do when you're in your twenties for sure, but pushing forty?


I've lived in Asia for the past decade, and I'm so very glad I did. At one point, I remember swearing and meaning it, that I was never going to return to live here in the U.K. Midway through 2019, however, I felt a yearning to return back to the U.K, which surprised everyone, including myself. But, as we have been starkly reminded throughout 2020, things change. They can change exponentially.

Hong Kong's political situation had been on the decline since I arrived in the city in 2014. I took the photo below during the crowds of 'Occupy Central,' when citizens first began to resist screening of candidates by the CCP in the electoral process.

My view of Occupy Central, Hong Kong 2014

I flew out of Hong Kong a week before the infamous National Security Law of 2020 was passed. Hong Kong had endured months of violence on the streets, teargas and police oppression. It was a good time to escape the heavy energy that had settled over the city.

But the civil unrest and violence was not the only motivating factor in my decision to leave. One of my main motivators was that I'd reached that point in my profession where the cynicism had set in, and I was left wondering whether what I was doing, was really contributing to any 'good' in the world. I don't think teaching itself is a bad thing, I just question the amount of pressure the system and we who choose to support it, place upon young people of today to 'succeed.'

It doesn't take a huge leap of logic to see how I moved from questioning the well-being of my students, to questioning the amount of pressure and daily stress I was under myself, and whether I should really be spending more time with my niece and nephew, and my family back home. My other main motivator for the move was my family.

I'd long been questioning what it means to be successful, and had luckily already experienced what it was like to live the jet set life, not worrying about finance and being able to do whatever I wanted, or go wherever I wanted to go. I chose not to have children, and I studied hard for years, so I viewed this as the payoff for those choices I had made.

In 2019, I made the decision to stop working-to take a risk and to go back to the U.K and try something completely new. It was a decision that was completely guided by intuition, and I still feel strongly that it was the right decision to make.

Playing outdoors with my niece and nephew

Which brings me to the present moment. The change in my everyday circumstances is massive. I'm appreciating the greenery, the calm and quiet energy that is totally at odds with Hong Kong. I'm appreciating my family, the chance to renegotiate our relationships and heal rifts from the past. Playing with young children is fantastic; a reminder to live in the moment and see the magic in everything. It's wonderful to have some time to myself, as like many people, I've worked constantly since I was fifteen years old. I'm not ignorant of the fact that some people work hard all of their lives and can never take any time off work, so I consider myself as blessed to have this opportunity at all. I'm using this time to write, teach yoga and hoping to use some of the more painful life experiences I've had, in order to help others.

All of this change is not without its' challenges. I left my long term partner in Hong Kong, as her family still live in the city. I could write another whole post about long distance relationships (and probably will.) I left my friends behind. I had a minor meltdown earlier about money. I am reliant on my pension coming through and bureaucracy is doing what it is best known for doing (driving you crazy.) I keep having to remind myself to breathe through the painful parts. I have to remind myself to take any action I can to help my situation, but relinquish trying to control the outcome of my efforts.

Having made many geographical moves and lifestyle changes throughout my life so far, I have learned to be more patient with myself. I have learned that it often takes up to a year to fully readjust to a new place or way of living. I have to constantly practice gratitude, otherwise it can get very easy to become bogged down in minutiae and lose perspective that actually, just for today; I have enough and I am safe.

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