Seachange, Treechange, E-change

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Something Australian (but no way uniquely) today…

Do you fancy an escape from the rat race and going for a seachange 🌊, treechange 🌳 or e-change 💻?

These terms all describe different forms of migration of people of all ages ⏳, wealth brackets 💸 and professions 💼 from Australia’s big cities 🏙 to provincial and rural areas 🏞️, whether it be for a better quality of life, retirement, financial and/or health reasons, or more room to move.

🌊 A seachange describes the phenomenon in Australia that took off particularly in the 1980s where many people decided to move, for a variety of reasons, from the cities (particularly Sydney and Melbourne) to small seaside towns. The term came about in the late 1990s after the popular Australian drama series SeaChange featuring the main character Laura Gibson fulfilling her escapist desire by leaving the city for Pearl Bay. Actually seachanges seem to be a popular theme for Aussie TV dramas. First there was the Henderson Kids (starring Kylie Minogue and Ben Mendelsohn in their first major acting roles) about a suddenly parent-less Melbourne family moving to Haven Bay, and then the long running and internationally famous soap Home and Away started in 1987 with the Fletcher family doing a seachange from Sydney to Summer Bay (OK, so there’s a pattern with these fictional town names 🧐).

🌳 But not everyone wanting a change of scenery was heading off to be by the seaside. You also had many going up into the hills or to country towns away from the coast. That’s when ABC Radio in Ballarat, inland Victoria, later coined the term ‘treechange’ for this migration.

💻 Lately, with greater internet connectivity, the rise of digital nomads and the subsequent expansion of work-from-home (especially since the Covid pandemic), we now have ‘e-change’. Where before seachangers and treechangers would often seek employment in, or at least be somewhat engaged with, their new local communities, 👨🏽‍💻 e-changers are moving to rural and provincial areas but working either remotely in their existing city-based jobs or as geographically unbound freelancers.

So would you consider taking the plunge and going for a seachange, treechange or e-change? Do these migration patterns have specific terms in your country?

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