I knew when we moved to Australia that we’d get better weather, a bigger house, more beach days and all the usual stuff. I love to travel and I’ve always known that travel experiences are an important part of my life, not just because I’m a travel writer but because I can’t imagine a life where I’m not chasing after the next beach or dreaming of the next epic landscape. Big things happen in life when you face your fears and take on challenges. But, what I hadn’t expected when we emigrated was all of the personal changes I’ve seen in me and my family since we moved to Australia.
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Just as I was getting ready to publish this post and trying to put into words what I meant, I stumbled upon this guest post on one of my favourite travel blogs, Nomadic Matt. It is written by Mark Manson, who is the best-selling author of a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
In the post, Mark sums it all up perfectly when he says:
‘Travel, although a great thing, is just another thing. It’s not you. It’s something you do. It’s something you experience. It’s something you savor and brag about to your friends down the street.
But it’s not you.
Yet these other, memoryless qualities — the outgrown personal confidence, the comfort with myself and my failings, the greater appreciation for family and friends, the ability to rely upon myself — these are the real gifts that travel gives you.’
Just like travel, moving abroad does something to you. It alters you in so many ways, and you will never go back to being the person you were before.
Here’s 7 ways that moving to Australia changed me
1 It expanded my comfort zone
Moving to the other side of the world does wonders for your confidence. Taking such a big leap of faith – and being 100% determined to make it work – teaches you that you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
All five of us have grown and changed in so many ways that just wouldn’t have happened if we’d stayed put. We now all have a ‘can do’ attitude. We’re willing to take risks and put ourselves out there because we know the rewards are worth the effort.
2 It provided new business opportunities
Add some amazing business grants and business support to your new found confidence, and you’ve got an incredible opportunity to set up your own business. I know so many other families that have been able to go freelance or set up a small business in all kinds of niches from tradies to photographers, from writers to scuba divers. Starting a new life in a new country gives you a kick to make every moment of your life count so you stop wasting your time doing unimportant work in jobs you don’t believe in.
I’d been a freelance writer for over ten years before we moved, and although I had a blog for a lot of that time, I never expected that I would start up a website like this with the intention of making it a full-time business. But thanks to the support of the Queensland government, I hope to build this website into a thriving business that helps lots of families start a new life in Australia.
3 I gained new friends that were different to my old friends
You obviously adore your old friends, but there is something special about your new friends in your new country that I never expected. You end up making friends that are more like family. You rely on them quickly because they are all you have, and when you invest that level of trust in someone from the outset you end up with a unique friendship. And if your new friends are also originally from your home country too then you will have a shared migration experience that means your friendship already has a strong foundation as you totally get where each other are coming from. With your new local friends, it’s great hanging out with someone who has a different background to you – it gives you a whole new perspective on things and it helps you fit into the new culture that surrounds you.
Our new friends have helped us put down roots and make Australia feel even more like home.
4 It took me to new places where I could have new experiences with my family
Moving abroad brings with it incredible new experiences. No matter where you live, you don’t tend to explore the local area as much as you should. There were so many places in the UK and in Europe that we never visited. But now we’re living in Australia, we’re determined to see as much of the country as we can (I’m still working my way through my 40 things I intend to do now I’m 40 list!). I never really had big plans for the types of experiences I wanted my kids to have when we moved here (I was just focused on living the outdoor lifestyle and the better weather) but they’ve been lucky enough to hand feed giant sea turtles, they’ve fed wild dolphins (at Tin Can Bay and Moreton Island), they’ve played on windswept beaches, they’ve ridden ponies, they’ve got up close with kangaroos and koalas, they’ve dug for thundereggs…stuff they’d never have had the opportunity to do if we’d stayed in our old safe home. Their childhood is going to be packed full of incredible travel experiences – how lucky are they?
5 It changed our family dynamic.
I knew that moving to Australia would change us. But I hadn’t realised just how much. My hubby has gone from spending his entire career working for one company to now doing a very different job in his industry. He is loving the new challenge and is thinking of taking his training on to a much higher level. Our kids are so different too – they went from being terrified of the water to learning to swim like fish (our daughter was able to swim totally unaided just after she turned three!). They went from having no interest in outdoor activities to now loving hanging out at the local surf club. They went from hating mealtimes to being obsessed with eating food cooked outdoors.
While as a family we may have gone through loads of stress together (and I won’t lie: there were LOTS of arguments as there is so much pressure when you’re moving to the other side of the world), we’ve grown together in a way that wouldn’t have happened if we’d stayed where we were. We’ve been on an epic journey together and not only survived, but we’re come out the other side closer and stronger than ever.
6 It made me healthier
Who knew that moving to a different country would influence me to lead a different type of lifestyle. Warmer weather makes me steer towards cooking lighter meals so we eat less stodgy food now, and I’ve been introduced to lots of healthy foods like chai seeds, coconut oil and avocado on toast. Instead of buttered toast for breakfast, now I often have a chocolate chai pudding made with cacao (honestly!) or overnight oats. Of course, these things existed in the UK, but they weren’t everywhere like they are in Australia. Where soya milk in the UK was difficult to find in most cafes that weren’t big chains, here soy milk (they drop the ‘a’) is available everywhere you go, along with lots of other milk choices too.
For some reason, living somewhere sunny makes you want to live a healthier life and it was so unexpected as I’m definitely not a health food geek.
7 It turned me into one of those weird morning people
I’ve always been a sleeper. In the UK, dragging myself out of bed at 7am used to kill me every day. I only survived with young kids because my hubby started work early so he would look after our early-riser kids and I would get up as he was leaving for the day. Since we arrived in Australia, our kids have gone from waking at 6.30am to now often waking at 5 – 5.30am. I never thought I’d say this, but sleeping in until 6.30 is an epic lie in nowadays! But the thing is, I’m actually liking getting up early here. Some mornings I actually get up before the kids BY CHOICE so I can get some work done while it is peaceful. I never in a million years expected to do that. Getting up to a warm, sunny world makes all the difference.
So yes, moving to Australia is all about the weather and the lifestyle and the open spaces, but don’t forget the incredible life-changing experiences, the new opportunities and the chance to create new relationships that all comes free with the adventure.
If you’re ready to say ‘yes to adventure, take a look at my Trusted Experts page to find the professionals you need to make your dream a reality.