Tag Archives: moving overseas

Stress – do we always know why and when we have it?

Let’s talk about stress!

Although I think I do not have it, there is something that wakes me up in the middle of the night. As a matter of fact I have not slept well lately and I don’t really know why….

Heaps of reasons for stress!

stress, relaxation, enjoyment,

Feeling totally relaxed and enjoying the surroundings

After an intensive six months in Brisbane of closing a 25 year chapter in our lives I like to think that I am currently not stressed. These 6 months of packing up were kind of crazy. The other day I was thinking about what we actually did. Clearing our Brisbane house and selling everything. Cleaning it to the crazy standards of Australian property managers. Leaving two kids and many dear friends behind……..

And suddenly I got this sense of ‘super stress’ in me.

I never noticed it at the time but looking back I realise I never want to do something like that again. Apart from leaving people behind, one of the worst aspects was the stuff we owned and sold. Why on earth did we have all these things?

If you imagine our house in Limoux, just think of an average historical holiday house. You’ll find everything that you need but there is no clutter. In fact I have already brought several things to the local recycling shop. Some of those bits that I bought at an earlier stage but I did not really like them for myself. So off they went.

In a couple of months and a lot later than promised we have to open our doors to a shipment from Australia. Although we did sell an incredible amount of stuff we still managed to take a fair bit. If you ask me what exactly, I would not be able to tell you exactly. Some things are books, photo albums, pictures, a mosaic table I made myself, clothes and some favourite kitchen items.

Stress, moving, clutter

Some of the ‘stuff’ that will arrive at our door and need to find a place in my now empty drawers and cupboards….

More stress to come?

I am already afraid that it will fill up my drawers and cupboards. I am sure these are items that I like and want to keep but I certainly do not need them. The shipment is also late and won’t arrive before the winter. Guess what, it has all the winter clothes we own or whatever you can call winter clothes if you are from Brisbane.

On top of that, the containers arrives when we are not there and we have to organise storage until we can have it delivered. The reason we are not going to be in Limoux for some time is the arrival of our youngest offspring in Europe. She has set her heart on studying in The Netherlands and somehow we feel that she might need some assistance. After all she does not speak Dutch and has not spent more than a month or so in Holland in her whole life.

Stress for her and ….us?

Quite a big thing for an 18 year old, I suppose, although she seems to take it all in her stride. Off course as parents you feel that you need to offer support. In fact it turns out to be an art to find the right balance between support and backing off. She has been in Australia, safely living with a family we know and who happens to be the parents of her best friend. She turned 18 there and is now officially an adult.

When she comes to Europe she obviously needs our help and advice but also she will feel that she has to sort it out herself. So where as a parent do you draw the line? We have facilitated a couple of things to get her started but for the rest it may have to be just help with the Dutch language.

It remains a grey area. I know several people who struggle with letting go of their children. Who feel they need to keep the family house going because their kids still might want to live there. Those who suffer empty nest syndrome because their kids are off to university in a different city or even country.

One reason why to stress less…

I get all that and I am not sure what is good or bad. My oldest daughter, 24 now, has created a life for herself. She saved money, moved to Melbourne and relocated her part time job. She found a graduate position to fit her degrees and is now planning a couple of months of travelling before the onslaught of the new job. We as parents look at it and are proud and happy for her despite the fact that she lives in Melbourne and we are on the other side of the world.

Off course we hope that our youngest will fall on her feet like that. She has chosen a slightly more difficult path and I am not sure if she is aware of the enormity of it. Time will tell and in the meantime we as parents have to find the right level of interference. One that she sees as help but not ‘sweeping in’ as she once accused me off.

chalk paint, wax, ornate, sepia frame, make over

Interesting times and many reasons for more stress ! For now though, I am looking forward heaps to see both girls in a matter of only weeks. They will both come to UK and for a short time we have the opportunity to be a family of four again. We will pick them up, re-unite with UK family, make some trips, even be part of a family wedding in UK and an old friends’s 40th birthday party in Ghent.

stress, reasons why, kids, moving

Family life for a short while! And Greg…. sorry for using your using your table another time……

I am so excited!


After we settle in to a new place, we tend to stop exploring? I wonder why…

My last two blog posts were a bit of a whinge about things that are currently happening in my life. And you have to know that quite a lot is going on – after all I have just left my ‘home’ of the last 25 years and I am in the process to settle into a new one.

We spent 25 years in Australia and some years ago we decided to leave Down Under and settle in France. This is not as random as it sounds because we did buy a house there some 3 years ago.

What happens when you settle?

settle, exploring, Rennes-le-chateau

Enjoying new places and taking them in with ‘gusto’

My experience is that when you settle in a new place you’re usually full of enthusiasm to learn everything what there is to learn about the new ‘home’. It almost feels like a holiday and you are checking out the place to a much greater dept than when you would do when you live there permanently.

I am sure that many people who move to another country, city or town can recognise this and have roughly the same experience. With that new start comes an energy to want to learn everything possible about the new place. It is an urgency however that seems to fade away when the novelty has worn off and a routine takes place. The hunger for new things slowly vanishes after we settle because there is enough time to do it later….

I have also found out by experience that once this urgency has gone it is hard to find it again. This ‘new home routine’ establishes itself and you suddenly you seem to have less time for exploring. The result is that you stop doing it and just live in the new place doing the things you need to do.

Maybe that is where the difference lies! When you are on holiday you generally ‘don’t need’ to do anything and you have time for exploring. Daily life is full of stuff you need to do! I wonder if you can do both and avoid this transition….

What makes us ‘blasé?

Rennes le Chateau, settle, moving, exploring

The castle in Rennes-Le-Chateau – a place to enjoy views, history and spirituality

The other day I posted something on Facebook about a visit to Rennes-Le-Chateau. This is a little gem of a place near Limoux and it is perfect to take visitors to and to enjoy the scenery. One of my FB friends admitted that she had never been there despite having lived in the area for over 20 years.

That is exactly what I mean. She obviously knows that Rennes-Le-Chateau is not going to walk away and there is no urgency to go and see the village at this moment in time.

There is no problem with that apart from that it is a pity and it may be a little blasé because who says you are ever going to make the time? You may simply never do it …..

settle, Cap Creuz, Palau Saverdera

The view we were rewarded with after a walk at the Costa Brava we had never done before.

We all love to go to ‘far horizons’ for a holiday and and make the most out of our time when we are there. We take more time for ourselves, for our relationships and relaxation. Only to return home to continue the same old hectic life again.

One of the reasons we wanted a new adventure is to rejuvenate that urgency to take time and explore. To make time to do new things and meet new people. In other words to embrace this other adventure.

Lost opportunities?

Looking back at our time in Australia I feel we have taken many opportunities to see things, but certainly not all. I can remember moving to Brisbane and being excited about the at least 7 National Parks in the immediate environment. We had big plans to go hiking and camping there.

And you know what?  We barely saw 2-3 of these NP’s. We were doing exactly the same as I described above. The parks weren’t going away and after all we had the time. We did not need to go there and the result is that we ended up not going.

It makes you wonder how many opportunities we not have taken in our lives? How many things did we not do and dismiss with an ‘oh, well’, you can’t do everything! No need really..

I have decided to put that ‘blasé’ feeling aside and do the things that come in my mind. To make the most of every day and situation I am offered. Sounds good, hey! Well, we’ll see if I can keep it up. So far we have been doing a fair bit of exploring in our new home.

Am I fooling myself?

And to be honest so far it just feels like a holiday. So I may only fool myself that it is indeed possible to hang onto being the explorer and not fall into the trap of only doing things we need to do.

settle, hiking, Roses, Catalunya, Spain

Going for a hike, exploring new territory and getting new experiences near a new home.

Once we get into a daily routine we may find it an effort to drive somewhere and make a 5-10 k walk. Ah, let’s do it next weekend and just relax today. Recognise the feeling? I do but I am also determent not to fall for it this time.

We have bought maps, are exploring the web and plan activities. And every time when we get back home we feel quite satisfied with the new experience we have had. That should give us enough motivation to keep at it, wouldn’t it?

I will keep you posted!



Motivation can come from an unexpected angle!

When you move overseas it is pretty normal to expect to lose a bit of motivation and to have moments of doubts, regrets and maybe even anxiety. I am sure I have it all but I have set myself some rules.

Rule number one is that I don’t allow myself to have any expectations and anticipations. This may sound hard to do but so far I am quite good at it. Every time I feel I get a moment of ‘WTF’ did I do that for, I think of that rule. And believe me the moment just goes…

Rule number two is NOT to blame the new surroundings for anything. A simple example is the weather. We all know or can imagine that the climate of Brisbane where we used to live is close to perfection. Mark my words as I say ‘close’ to perfection! It is certainly not perfect as the summer months can be a hard slug.

If someone tells you differently, do not believe them! They may talk about a one-off mild summer, not about the average steamy one. The Brisbane summer is hot, humid, sweaty and long….. I lived through 17 of them so I consider myself to have an informed opinion.

False expectation and motivation

We arrived in Limoux, South of France and ‘expected’ to get a bit of a ‘late summer’, something like an Indian summer. Well so far, I hardly had to wear my summer clothes and am struggling to find suitable warm items to wear.

motivation, weather, South of france

Dark skies, cool temperatures and possible rain in nearby Esperaza

motivation, Limoux, weather, autumn

Breezy weather due to an active Tramontana wind from the mountains

The locals say it is not normal for the time of the year. Looking at the last two summers it is indeed not the same. So the weather is a bit disappointing and off course the following happens immediately. That nasty little monster called doubt sticks up his head and points out what I have left behind – beautiful almost perfect Brisbane weather.

Not allowed, as I said! It is not the mistake of Limoux that the Indian summer has skipped the town this year. It is what it is! I saw with a hint of sarcasm that Brisbane had already temperatures of over 30 during August and forecast is a long hot wet summer. OMG am I happy not to be there!

An ‘painful’ source of motivation

The other day something happened that stirred up quite some emotions within me. My daughter who is still in Brisbane saw that our family doctor of 17 years had passed away. Quite a shock as he was only 52. Apparently he felt unwell and just died – could have been an aneurysm. Who knows….

It made me realise that life is fragile. We have only one shot at it and it can be taken away so easily. Thinking about my GP made me realise that we need to live life when it is there. We have decided to change our lifestyle because we feel we have another adventure in us. We made the choice after years of ‘umming and erring’ and we will take every consequence that comes with it.

Even a less than perfect Limoux after-summer 😎 .

motivation, Limoux, walking, hiking, hills

At the top and feeling on top of things are great for motivation!

I am really sad about my GP. He has been absolutely brilliant on several occasions that I had a bit of a health scare. This doctor rang me at home on a Sunday night to tell me that I was resistant to the antibiotics he had prescribed. He personally changed bandages for 2 weeks after I had a skin craft as a result of a skin cancer. And he was the one who enquired about my pain management when he found I had a huge white blood cell count due to an infection.

Strangely his sudden death has given me new motivation to make the most out of this new adventure in Limoux or wherever we end up. His passing away makes me realise how easy things can turn. I am shocked and sad about it but it also gives me a boost to take this opportunity with both hands and live it to the fullest.

I just needed to get this of my chest!

See you next time to show off some ‘gems’ in the immediate surroundings….





Reflections on my emigration to Europe so far…..

I am sure that most people would find an emigration stressful. Off course there are different types of emigration and it makes a huge difference if your move is a consequence of free choice or to escape danger. Our move back to Europe is a result of our own decision based on assessing Australian versus European living standards.

emigration, Stradbroke Island

One of the beautiful Australian beaches. I will miss them but their memory is chiseled in my mind.

To be honest there is not much wrong with Australia. Although a couple of nasties are sticking up their head! All over it is a very pleasant country with a stunning scenery. We just have decided that we like a different scene for the near future.

We have had our fair share of Down Under, more than 25 years to be specific. It also helps that both our kids also like the idea of moving to Europe. The youngest is planning to study in The Netherlands and our plan is to attend a couple of open days in November at some Dutch universities.

Funnily as we made the plan to migrate together, so far it has been only me who has made the move. I booked my ticket to leave immediately after we would leave our house as it seemed a logical consequence?? For my husband and youngest offspring there seemed to be some reasons to hang on to Oz a bit longer. As a result they both leave on different dates after they have finished their ‘things’ 😉

Emigration and stress

I just read an article written by a psychologist about moving stress and it seems I am doing naturally what she recommends. As I have some hidden psychology knowledge in me dating from a long time ago some common sense may be guiding me here and there.

It was weird yet good for me to arrive by myself. This way I have only my own feelings to deal with and I can ease into a strange but also vaguely familiar territory. I arrived in London where I lived for 5 years and where my husband is from. There is family there and I had a place to stay. The same goes for The Netherlands where I do the round of friends and family.

emigration, Bunne, Dutch country side

Bunne. Flat as a pancake but oozing with charm. Very pretty surroundings for walking and cycling.

I suppose from that point of view it is very different from other migrants. So far there has been no stress to find a place to live and fortunately I have people to talk to. Furthermore I speak all the languages of the countries I visited so far and they are familiar to me.

Despite this both England and The Netherlands do not feel as my home. I am not a citizen in either country although I am Dutch, I am married to a Brit or own a house in France. I have no immediate rights in these countries and really at this stage I am just a tourist.

Resident status

Officially though I am still a resident of Australia. From their point of view I have just left for a holiday. There could be an issue to get back into the country as I left without having a re-entry permit. I tried to apply online before I left but the immigration website was being a pain so I gave up. The girl at the border mentioned it but we both knew I am able to apply for an Aussie visa when I am abroad.

emigration, moving, stress

Limoux – view of the bridge and the church tower in the centre of town

France is the place where I intend to become a resident but so far I have not really an idea how to go about that. This is also important for my husband because Brexit will throw a spanner in the works for him. However as my husband he has European access and we only have to make it official. This again is strange territory but I am sure there is an answer.

The joy of emigration

It all is exciting and to be honest slightly daunting but that makes it also a challenge. I love challenges…! Every official thing I manage to accomplish feels like a small victory and gives me confidence. I am not a novice at migrating either. Australia was the 4th country I lived in for longer stints and there were several more where I spent shorter periods. Norway and Greece are amongst those.

There is a difference off course to live a short period somewhere and to remain a citizen of your home country. It is not the same as leaving officially and to become a citizen elsewhere. I suppose we fall into the last category with this emigration.

While I am writing all these things and am busy contemplating the above issues, I realise it helps writing about it. Everything becomes quite clear and easier to oversee. I suppose writing is about delving into your inner feelings and thoughts and expressing them somehow in words. It makes you step back and assess not only the situation but also your way of thinking. It definitely helps me putting things in perspective.

My emigration rules

Therefore my rule at the moment is to have no expectations, to live every day as it comes and enjoy consequently the proces! I have just spent a lovely week with my sister and I am in the middle of catching up with three long time friends. I am enjoying these moments and will make the most of it 😀

emigration, Groningen, outdoors, coffee and cake

Enjoying the summer and outdoor living in Groningen.

Most of all I like to thank the people who have opened up their houses for me and made me feel comfortable. I hope I can return the favour in our house in Limoux, France

Feel free to comment, express opinions and share experiences about emigration. I am sure those considering a move may benefit from it.

See you next time!

emigration, happy, at ease