Before we came to Australia, I have to admit I was just so excited to be there that I didn’t really think much about what moving to the other side of the world would actually be like. Living in Australia, if only for a short amount of time, had been a dream of mine since as long as I could remember so to be making my dreams a reality was more than enough for me.
We have been in Australia since January and settled properly since April. It is the most amazing thing I have ever done, but there are also some things that I wish I had known/been told before I came out here, so I thought I would write this for anyone who is thinking of making a big move or who has made a big move and wants to know they aren’t alone.
You realise how many things you took for granted.
Back home when I needed a pair of boots or some new jeans, I knew exactly where to go, how much things cost and which brands I liked. In Sydney, it’s all a learning curve. Everything being new is part of the fun, but walking into a normal looking shop and picking up a handbag that turns out to be $600 dollars is a bit of a shock. Whilst we are still learning the brands here, shopping is a bit of a mission. A mission I enjoy, granted, but I do miss the ease of heading to a shopping centre and knowing exactly where to go.
Be prepared to say goodbye to friends.
One of the best things I did when I moved was join the group Girls Love Travel and attend a meetup. It is from here that I have made all of the friends that I have in Australia and I am so, so grateful to these women for keeping me sane, getting me out and giving me much needed ‘girl time’.
That being said, making international friends is hard. We are all on a visa, some of us on visas that expire before others, some of us only here for a short amount of time. There are already people who I have made friends with that I have had to say goodbye to. It is hard, finding people you click with and building a social circle, only for it to get smaller and change and lose people. I had a pretty solid, longstanding friendship group back home, so starting over again in the first place was hard enough never mind when people then have to leave or choose to move on to somewhere new.
If you’re not there, sometimes things change.
Another friendship/relationship thing I wish I had been warned of was the change that not physically being around people back home brought. For the most part, my relationships have actually got stronger through being away and I have seen how much most people care, but I wish I had been warned that it wouldn’t be the case with everyone. I wish someone had told me to prepare for people to not contact you or not make the effort they usually did, just so I’d have known and not felt as shocked and hurt when it happened.
From talking to the other girls I have met here, the drifting of some friendships when you leave is really common. It’s sad, but it’s not unusual so it’s definitely something I wish I had known before I left.
Homesickness hits you at random times.
For the most part, I have been okay with homesickness. At first we were travelling so much that we were too busy to stop and think about missing things like family events and catch ups with friends. I was told if you can survive three months away without a meltdown then you can survive it all, so when the three month mark came and passed and I was still feeling good I thought I was okay.
I was wrong.
Homesickness hits at the most random times. I can hear an Elton John song in shop and be instantly reminded of my dad, wishing more than anything I could give him a hug. I can see two friends sharing a bottle of wine in a bar and wish I was in The Hop with my friends. The other day I went to a Christmas in July market and could have easily cried. Even though Christmas back home isn’t all mulled wine and fake snow and little chalet buildings lit up by fairy lights, this market still made me think of home, of opening presents in our pjs and wearing paper hats from Christmas crackers whilst we drank wine and watched Home Alone. It made me think of the wrapping up in cosy clothes (something in Sydney I rarely have to do), of going to the German market in Leeds with my family, of seeing my friends for Christmas drinks – all the things I won’t be doing this year. Homesickness is real, it’s brutal and it is random in it’s attack. Prepare yourself.
The longer you’re away, the harder it is to imagine going back.
Jack and I talk about the future a lot, probably way more than we would have had we stayed in England, but with our visa being granted for two years it is hard not to look to the future and wonder what our next step will be. The longer you stay somewhere and build your life there, the harder it is to imagine going back to somewhere else. We have a home we love, we are exploring a city that still feels new and exciting to us and we are building relationships and connections with people that are now a huge part of our life. The life we have in Sydney is our own life, created and curated by us. It’s hard not to look around and feel proud of ourselves for making all of this, even harder to imagine walking away from it.
The biggest draw of going home is the people who we would be with in a heartbeat if we could, but if we were to go home we both wouldn’t want to settle down where we grew up . That would mean moving somewhere else, rebuilding a life and friendships all over again. It seems like a lot to think of and take on, especially when we have already done it here and are really happy with our life right now.
But then you think of the people and how much you miss them and the jumble of emotions hits again!
Things aren’t the same as at home.
In England, things like your tax is sorted for you. In Australia, you have to fill out a tax return. Little differences like that take a while to get used to and I wish I had researched them a little more before coming over just so I was more prepared for what was to come.
I hope this guide has been helpful or at least an interesting read. If you ever want to find out more about moving abroad, feel free to contact me on here on reach out on my instagram here