GWEN Hildebrand hasn’t looked back since she packed up her Sydney townhouse and moved to Tamworth 15 months ago.
The decision to swap the hustle and bustle of Sydney for the laid-back style of the Country Music Capital has given her a new lease of life.
Sure, as reported in The Leader yesterday, essential goods and services such as electricity, gas and fuel are all more expensive here than in the Harbour City.
But Ms Hildebrand, a practising accountant, said the ledger was more than squared through a combination of vastly cheaper housing and much friendlier people.
“Everyone is friendly and welcoming and I’ve had more invitations here in the past 12 months than I’ve had probably in the past 20 years,” she said.
“I don’t know whether it’s because people are just so time-poor because of the way they live in Sydney that they’re not as friendly.
“But they’re not as willing to welcome new people or include you in things - they see you as a threat - whereas I haven’t had that issue up here.”
The mother of two grown-up girls said she chose Tamworth because of its wealth of easily accessible entertainment venues, such as the Capitol Theatre and TRECC.
“I love music and theatre and all those sorts of things, but in Sydney I couldn’t go to those things during the week because it was just too difficult to get there and back,” she said.
“They had to be restricted to the weekend only, whereas here I can be at the Capitol Theatre in five minutes and home in five minutes.”
Fellow former Sydneysider William Coulston said life in Tamworth had many advantages over that in the capital.
“Yes, I agree we pay more for fuel, electricity and gas up here, however, what I pay here in Tamworth to live in a home with a garden would only get me a shoebox-sized bedsit in inner Sydney, if I was lucky,” he said.
“If I fill my tank up here in Tamworth, that tank lasts me a good four weeks unless I have to drive out of town.
“In Sydney, a tank of petrol would last me a week with all the driving I used to do to get from point A to point B to point C - and don’t start me on the horrendous traffic in Sydney.”