I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been asked whether it is worth leaving your family to move to the other side of the world. It is a completely valid question, if not the most important question to consider before you make the move.
It’s a tricky one to answer though because I have a very close relationship with my parents, and they are a huge part of my life. I love and miss them dearly and it hasn’t been easy to be so far away from them. I miss our family’s Sunday roast dinner ritual more than anything. But here is why I think the move has been 100% worth it for us.
Warning: Serious overuse of the word happy! Please remember that all opinions are my own. Of course things vary for every person and every family.
For me the answer lies in whether you are happy in yourself or not. If you’re happy and thriving where you are that’s awesome. But for my hubby and I, we just felt that there had to be more to life than the mundane routine we seemed to be living. We had a craving for more in our lives. I don’t mean financially, but more in the sense of living in a way that filled us with excitement and joy most days. We didn’t want to live each day longing for the weekend and a two-week holiday each year. Life is too short.
Back in the UK we both had good jobs, a nice house, a beautiful daughter, and a loving family. So why on earth were we moaning about life? Good question. We just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling that there was a place out there that would bring us more happiness and more time to enjoy being together. Life was passing by and our focus seemed to be on work and financial goals. Whilst both these things are undoubtedly important, neither of us felt that they should be our primary focus in life’s short journey. We wanted a better balance, and firmly believed that this would be possible elsewhere.
My view is that if you’re not happy with something then it’s up to you to make a change. No one else will do it for you. So that’s exactly what we did. We didn’t worry too much about the ‘what ifs’. Lets face it, if we worried about the ‘what ifs’ in life then we would never follow our dreams. We would just accept what is. Now, just to make this clear…I am a big worrier, but I am also a big dreamer. And the dreamer in me won thank goodness!
I remember someone close to me saying that ‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side’. This really frustrated me, as I believed deeply you could make your life whatever you wanted it to be. But not everyone will agree with you. I am so glad I didn’t let this view change my attitude and gut feeling. It’s important you do the same. It doesn’t matter if you are proven wrong and things don’t work out as you had hoped. You can always go back, and you’ll be surprised to see that very little has changed. But it does matter if you don’t try. You don’t want to look back with regret or resentfulness towards those who put that doubt in you.
If you’re not happy within yourself, it makes it difficult to have fulfilling relationships with those around you. I also believe that your loved ones will be happier if they know that you are in a good place (I mean mentally not literally). It’s something my mum always drummed into me and I am forever grateful for her support.
Moving away from family does not mean that you can’t remain close to each other. If anything, missing each other creates an even stronger bond. The time we now spend together is quality time and so precious. I’m not saying that we wouldn’t love our family to be closer, because this would be the icing on the cake, but the reality for us is that we are happier in ourselves.
We are so positive about our life. We have created a healthier environment for our daughter to grow up in; one where mummy and daddy are eternally grateful for the life we now lead, where we spend more time with her and get to do the things we love more often, and we’ve been presented with more opportunities to make meaningful memories. Rightly or wrongly, that’s something that was missing for us in the UK.
Modern technology has been a lifesaver. We Skype or Facetime my parents most weeks and they still get to see our daughter grow up. Of course it’s not the same as seeing someone in person, but it sure does help to keep the bonds alive. Whilst we only tend to see my parents once a year, it never feels like it’s that long with the help of technology.
Apart from missing your loved ones, there are of course negatives that come from moving so far away. You have less support (particularly at the beginning). It can take time to settle and make good friends, but with time and effort this all falls into place. Our friends have become like an extended family to us.
You may need to make some changes along the way, but what we’ve found is a really strong sense of community. There are also many expats over here that totally understand the struggle of leaving family behind. This has been a really big factor in helping us to feel more at home.
When the inevitable happens and people you love are unwell or even pass away, of course this is never going to be an easy time. I can’t even bear the thought of this. But we are living for today and will cross that bridge when it happens. There is no denying that this will be the hardest of times.
So I think you have to ask yourself if you are happy with your life as it is. If you are – then that is fantastic. There is no right or wrong and I’m not saying that moving this far away from your family is for everyone.
But if you’re not happy within, and you can’t stop wondering if there is something better out there for you, then you shouldn’t feel guilty for desiring an alternative life. You’re not abandoning your family; you’re simply seeking happiness for you and your own smaller family. This is so important.
My parents love to see us as happy as we are. In fact I don’t think they have ever been prouder. They tell me so every time they visit.
I hope one day to look at my own daughter and see that she has found her happy place – wherever that might be, and however hard it is for us. Seeing her thrive will be the most incredible gift we could ever wish for.
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Welcome along. I’m Clare, Founder of Take Me To Australia. Having moved to Australia six years ago, I made it my mission to learn more about this epic country we now call home. As we travel across the country to unique destinations, we share with fresh eyes the most extraordinary places we are lucky enough to experience. We aim to inspire others to follow in our footsteps, live their absolute best life, explore what Australia has to offer, and even encourage people further afield to make a similar move. We’ve grown a like-minded community of over 120,000 people. Be sure to join them by signing up to receive all the latest inspo, and connecting with us on Instagram and Facebook. See you soon.