Planning to leave a country after 25 years

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Planning to leave a country is very likely an un-imaginable concept for many people. Most people never had to deal with it – or may not have toyed with the idea at all.

I can remember a girl friend whose husband was offered a job in a different town in The Netherlands. The town was less than an hour away and it meant a big improvement career wise.

To cut a long story short,  she could not do it. She could not face the prospect of giving up everything that is familiar. Nor could she imagine having to make new friends and leaving her family behind.

Planning to leave a country – what does it mean?

All the above factors come into play when you move. Even when you move only an hour away. However if the distance from familiarity is merely a short drive away it is not too hard to step back into that ‘other old life’.

It is a different story when you move to a different country. Many more things will be unfamiliar and it takes considerable time to adapt to new systems and ways of doing things. Even nowadays when distances seem to have gone smaller, it still requires substantial effort and ability to adapt to make a living elsewhere.

It becomes a fair bit harder when your new home is on the other side of the world. Take for instance the distance to Australia or New Zealand from Europe.

When during the fifties people were immigrating to Australia it meant you would go forever. You bought a ticket for the boat trip over, took all your worldly belongings with you and set of to create a new life on the other side of the world. Usually you would never return to the home country.

Nowadays it is very different. You can fly in 24 hours to the other side of the world. It may shock the body a little bit but it is very do-able. I think I have done it 15 times forward and backwards. People who make the move to a country like Australia or New Zealand have plenty of opportunity to see family and friends again.

Our emigration to Australia

sydney, harbourview, harbour bridge,
New Years in Sydney 1993. View from Neutral bay

We, my English husband and I, as a couple, made this move 25 years ago. We actually met in Australia as back packers. The emigration was my third trip to Australia. We both applied for skill migration. Keith was an IT professional and I was an experienced restaurant manager and both these professions were ‘wanted’.

It only took 6 weeks for our application to process successfully.  I have to admit I submitted my application from London as I had my doubts about success through the Australian Embassy in The Hague. They had not been willing give me a work permit years before my application, so why would I have a chance to get permanent residence?

We arrived in Australia in 1991 and started building our new life in Sydney where we lived for 7 years. We had two daughters and moved to Queensland. Since 2000 we have lived in Brisbane and raised our girls there who are now 23 and 17.

Planning to leave Australia

leaving, migrating, aeroplane, Australia, planning to leave
Distances seem shorter however it still takes almost 4 hours to fly from Brisbane to Darwin

We toyed with the plan to leave Australia for the first time in 2011 before the oldest would go to University and the youngest start high school. Bad economical and financial situation in Europe held us back meaning we stayed in Australia. Only realising we were committing to a new stage in the life of our kids – uni and high school.

Now 5 years further, that stage is over. Yasmin, our oldest has just received two letters containing the certificates of the double degree she did over the last 5 years. And Zoe has finished the International Baccalaureate (IB) and is keen ,or not, to go online to see her results on January 5th. That is when the IB in Geneva releases the scores worldwide.

That means there is another window of opportunity to ‘call it a day’ in Australia……

Planning to leave a country?

I believe it is a matter of mindset and it may take a couple of personality traits that is not in every one’ genes . Is it a sense of adventure? A wish to start all over again? Exploring the unknown?

I don’t know the exact answer – all the above reasons have an appeal to me. In general I find predictable ‘hard to take’ and I love challenge. Actually I function the best when I am challenged.

When you live in a country like Australia it is not hard to find similar minded people because most people here are migrants or at least the descendants of migrants. Australian only tend to call third generation Australians ‘real Australians’. The rest is all new!

UK, London, view, planning to leave
A view from St Paul’s Cathedral over the city of London on a grey summer day

Every time when we visit Europe we realise that the ‘easy’ attitude we seem to have adopted is not accessible to all. People who have never moved are in awe of our plans – inspired and at the same time horrified. But I know that planning to leave is not something they would do that easily.

There is a first time for everything

They say, it is a first for everything and maybe you get desensitised when you have emigrated before. We went from England to Australia in 1991, back to England for 2 years in the late nineties and to Brisbane in 2000. Only to return to UK in 2001 because there were no jobs in Brisbane but that trend had caught up in the UK as well.

In the end we returned to Brisbane in the end of 2001. Before that I have the experience of moving to Switzerland for work and from Holland to London to live. I am kind off a seasoned migrant and take it all in my stride quite easily. I do realise it is not that easy for many people.

It is remarkable that Australia is the country where I have lived the longest. Time will tell how we will handle the next move……

If you are intrigued and would like to follow our progress, put your first name and email address in the form below and I will make sure you will get my next posts delivered to your mail box!

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