Moving abroad changed my life in many unexpected ways. It's Australia Day and that inevitably makes me think of that gorgeous sunburnt country that we left three years ago. I miss living so close to some of the most amazing beaches in the world. I also miss simple things like a good Aussie breakfast. Sydney cafes know how to make a fantastic breakfast! Obviously we miss family and friends but are fortunate that in our modern world it's easy to keep in touch.
Days like this also make me reflect on our experience so far. The idea of moving from Sydney to London was one we had considered for many years. Paul and I first began discussing it long before we even had children but the time never seemed right.
At the time I was working for an amazing company and was very settled in our life in Sydney. Fast forward a few years and we knew if we didn't do it soon then the opportunity may have passed us by. So in December 2013 we left Sydney with two little one's (plus our dog and cat) and moved to the other side of the world. The move has changed our life in many ways and some of these were unexpected.
These are some reflections on how moving abroad changed my life.
1. The shared experience as a family can build a closer connection: A positive of moving abroad with kids is that I didn't seem to experience homesickness for the first six months. I was far too busy getting our home set up and the kids settled into their new life. When we first moved there were comments from (probably) well-meaning parents wondering why we'd move two children to a new country. People would say it was too much of a change amongst other things. Sometimes I'd get upset by the comments but then I had a lovely Etsy customer who was telling me about her experience of moving with two children. She said her children were now teenagers and that she believed the experience of moving so many times really made them bond as a family unit. I can now see what she was saying. Paul and I had to rely on each other more as we navigated this new way of life.
2. Being out of your comfort zone can lead you down a brand new career path: Being completely out of my comfort zone made me look at work (and life) in a whole new light. I had time to explore and pursue hobbies and then figure out how to make a living doing exactly what I love. Exploring London with my camera made me fall in love with photography. I think sometimes you just have to believe in yourself and take a leap of faith.
3. Your heart will live in two places: It is a blessing and a curse having two places to call home. I miss Australia often but London has given us many opportunities. Two years ago I couldn't even look at any of my old photos of Australia because it made me feel too homesick. Now I know it will always be there to go back to.
4. It's possible to live with less: We no longer have a car and shopping for clothes has become a rare occurrence. Living in a smaller property means we don't have endless amounts of space for items so we have to be careful about what we buy.
Overall our experience has been positive and we'd definitely make the same decision again.