Christina Kargillis is a third-year postgraduate student studying identity development amongst people who are looking for a ‘sea change’ or a ‘tree change’. That is, people who move from larger Australian cities to smaller country areas due to limited employment opportunities and in search of a change of lifestyle. Christina introduces her blog which describes her research.
I’m a 3rd year Doctoral student at the University of Technology Sydney. I am looking at identity development amongst working people who become ‘sea changers’ or ‘tree changers’. That is, people who move from a city to a regional area looking for a change of lifestyle. The decision for such a move is based upon the limited employment opportunities in city areas and the predominance of natural environments as idyllic ‘lifestyle destinations’. The research blog is: smalltownpioneers.wordpress.com.
The research is very utilitarian in identifying what makes a move sustainable. The study includes a group of ‘lifestyle migrants’ aged 25–54 who attempt a lifestyle change to Noosa, in Northern Queensland. The study finds that the majority of these ‘lifestyle migrants’ fail within five years of making their sea/tree change. Part of the research looks at innovation as a problem-solving approach towards the limited work opportunities. People innovate in different ways. The research covers people working in traditional building and construction trades who have adapted their skills to suit the new regional area where they have moved. The study also covers people who have followed a passion, where passion leads their career development in new pathways, or where they’re willing to ‘have a go’ at a new career path because there’s nothing about their previous careers worth hanging on to. I also look at some of the misconceptions of ‘portable careers’, where people have relocated assuming they can hide away with their laptops and earn good money. Relocation involves personal empowerment. One of the key reasons people leave the cities is to get away from power structures. To a large degree, the insecurity of the new lifestyle destination is the key to promoting innovation and change.
The blog covers some of these aspects as well as some theoretical foundations.
Article copyright: © Christina Kargillis 2011. Published by Sociology At Work. All rights reserved.
Working Notes ISSN: 1838-5214
Article citation: Kargillis, C. (2011) ‘Identity Development Amongst Sea/Tree Changers: A Postgrad Research Blog,’ Working Notes, Issue 2, June, online resource: http://sociologyatwork.org/sea-tree-changers