Monday was a sad day for us. It was the day the reality of what we’re planning to do sank in: our house went on the market. Tuesday was therefore a day of mixed emotions. We had one viewing, received an offer at the asking price and so have agreed to sell. It’s all happened very fast!

I’ve loved living in that house and it’s been a wonderful place for us to spend the first years of marriage but a wise man once told us that York moves in five year cycles and this is our tenth year and the timing is right for us to leave.

We absolutely adore York but we’ve spent a lot of our married life travelling to and from work rather than being able to belong to this local community. We’ve had great times at university, with friends and in church but the last year has seen several people leave and the Conversations community disperse. And the last 12 months has also seen us doing this crazy split living with my being away in London.

Some marriages might claim to cherish such a lot of time spent at opposite ends of the country but we’d much rather start, and finish, every day with one another. Over Christmas we spent almost three weeks together. It was the longest time we’d been under the same roof since May and it gave us time and space to talk, think and pray about our priorities for 2013.

We knew the year ahead was the least mapped out since we met: that Christine’s job was ending in April (she finishes 12/04) and at that point that my GDS contract finished at the end of March (it’s now 19/04 for me). We also knew that we needed to find a way to be under the same roof and it was also evident that my wife deserves (and needs) a chunk of time away from work.

In spite of the uncertainty it has been clear that we should leap at what might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So in four weeks Christine and I will have wound up our current roles (at least for the time being) and we’ll leave York.

We aren’t certain where we’ll end up eventually or what we’ll be doing when we come back [ed 19/04: we now know that I’ll be coming back to GDS in August] but we’re heading overseas for three months. We’re taking the opportunity and visiting some places we may never get a chance to go back to: we first head to Japan for 12 days, then on to New Zealand for 9 weeks and finish it off with 16 days on a Cook Island beach.

We’re back at the end of July and then we’ll be starting life somewhere new. At the moment that’s looking more like the South than North (as you can imagine I’m deeply troubled by this change and the prospect of losing my Bradford City season ticket).

It’s pretty reckless to take a three month break, spend a chunk of money and come back homeless and unemployed but whilst we’ll build a new home, get new jobs and find new community, we might not get another opportunity to go and see a far flung pocket of the world.

It is the right thing to do and it is the right time to do it but that doesn’t stop me sitting here shaking my head with sadness at the stupidity of our selling our brilliant home and leaving one of the best cities in the world.

Maybe one day we’ll come back…

About Benjamin Welby

Hi, I'm Benjamin Welby. I'm a displaced northerner currently living in Croydon, I church with a group of Christians who meet in a Soho nightclub on Wednesdays and I support Bradford City. I've an academic background in History, Politics and International Development. I work for the Government Digital Service but I left my heart in local government. This blog is infrequently updated and may feature any, all or none of these things...