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Moving to Australia is an exciting yet often heart wrenching decision for people to make

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.

Are you happy where you are?

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.

It’s up to you to make a change

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!

The grass isn’t always greener – but for us it was

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.

You can still be close to your loved ones

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.

Of course there are cons

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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21 Responses
  1. Lyn

    What a lovely & true story.
    We also came here for a better life for our children & have never look back, I have sent your story to my niece who I’m hoping will do the same & bring there lovely family to the beautiful Australia.

    1. Take Me To Australia

      Thanks so much Lyn. Really appreciate your lovely comments. Will be great to hear if your niece makes the same move. Keep us posted. Have a wonderful weekend. Clare

  2. Claire White

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. I can’t wait to come back to Aus & spend forever there with my husband.
    It’s the place of dreams xx

  3. It’s interesting how the same issues & the same fears persist from decade to decade & generation to generation.

    My wife moved to Austr. from Calif in 2010, after a month’s recce in 2009 (I visited her there in 2007), & still misses home, but we visit there almost every year, & she can chat, FB, webcam, even mob-phone for ridiculously-low prices every day.
    Moreover photos & comments flow back & forth as if we were in the next town or the next room.
    She gained a new peergroup & a new social circle, after a lot of work, & didn’t have to work 6-day weeks for $10/hr just to keep her head above water.

    My parents emigrated to Australia, driving overland from the UK via Europe & Asia, in 1966-67, & faced the same struggles & issues in a different era.
    Back then there were letters & the occasional audio-cassette or phonecall (at xmas, etc). There was no email, attached photos, no chat, no webcam, no shared social media. No sense of instant & cheap connection with them & a wider family & friend.

    Apart from my father’s mother, who came every 2nd summer, & eventually settled here; my father’s ex-bro-in-law, & my mother’s sister & bro-in-law, once, we’ve had no visits from any family in that 50 years, despite the ever-decreasing cost & increasing ease of international air-travel.
    None felt moved to emigrate here, despite the better weather, the better social welfare, the doubled standard of living, etc. Somehow all this sunshine & relaxation frightened them.
    Australia, the US & the UK have changed out of sight over that time, yet none of us have regretted the moves. Or in my case being fortunate enough to be born here.

    1. Take Me To Australia

      Thanks so much for your comment Ian. It’s so interesting to hear about your experience and story over the generations. I think it is sometimes fear of the unfamiliar that holds people back. We are very set in our ways in the UK and in my opinion focus too much on the financial aspects of life. I believe we also place big restrictions on our dreams because of money. The reality is, that other cultures with a different focus exist out there for people who want something different in life. You and I are lucky to have found that. I am forever grateful to have made such a decision.

  4. Jacqui

    A great article. I’ve wanted to make the move for years but family was always the issue, and was made worse when my daughter came along; now I’d be taking their grandchild away too. But over the last few years we have felt dissatisfied with life in the UK, and feel, like you, that there must be more to life for us and our daughter. We are now discussing a possible move to Ballina. It’s still a scary prospect and I dread the day we actually tell our families we want to go, but it feels like the right thing to do for us.

    1. Take Me To Australia

      If you move to Ballina you will be moving to the most incredible region (but then I am biased as we live in the Northern Rivers too). Let me know if you need any advice on areas. I would suggest East Ballina if budget allows. The schools in the region offer such a variety of fantastic options. The beaches and way of life are unbeatable in my opinion. Fantastic for kids and families. Another area to consider is Lennox Head which is a little closer to Byron Bay. Whilst it is scary making such a change – I think that anything out of our normal comfort zone is inevitably going to make us feel that way. By trying it you have everything to gain. You can always go back if it doesn’t work out. Keep me posted. I’d love to hear what decision you make and who knows – maybe we will be having coffee together soon.

  5. Jacqui

    Hi Clare, thank you so much for your advice, and the offer of coffee! We will definitely look into those areas. School is naturally top of our list as our daughter is six now and it’s the big worry I have as she has a pretty amazing school here so the doubts I guess are inevitable! I fell in love with Ballina when I visited a few years back and spent lots of time in Byron too. We have family in the region (Bangalow, etc) which would also help! I know doubts and worry are natural and some days it seems like a terrible idea to upset everyone but I know that ultimately we have to do it for us as a family and I am definitely one of those people who goes through life trying new things and taking on new adventures so I’m ready to see where this one takes us!

    1. Take Me To Australia

      If you need any personal advice on schools then please let me know. We did some extensive research into the area when we arrived. Happy to give you my opinion (although it is just my personal opinion). You can always email me via the contact form if you have any questions. Keep me posted and all the best Jacqui. I’m sure you have some amazing adventures ahead of you.

  6. Martin

    This is close to our situation. I have a wife who wants to move and three young children (6,8,10). I have a job lined up in Melbourne and a sponsored family visa all granted last September, the house has just sold and we are good to go in a few months. The only sticking part is my parents who we adore. Problem is my mother has completely broken down, saying I’m going to kill them both taking the grandkids away and us. We are very close, go on holiday together etc. so its hard hitting. They say we will never see them again as my mother doesn’t travel well, they are both mid sixty’s. My wife is upset and thinking they are taking our dreams away. My mother thinks we are taking her life away as well. I’m really worried, we have a good life but this is something we have look at for nearly 12 years. Now it can happen its opened up some very sore wounds.

    1. Take Me To Australia

      It’s such a tricky one when families find it so hard – and understandably so when they love you so much. They don’t want to be without you in their lives. I totally understand how hard it must be for your mother, but I’ve always been brought up to believe you should do what makes you happy. You cannot live your life to please others as ultimately you will sacrifice your own dreams and could end up resenting them for it (I have seen this happen to so many people – it is just not a healthy way to live). I also believe that those around you would want to see you happy. But that’s just my personal view and every person and every family is different. I would love to help with some answers but ultimately you have to do what is right for you and your immediate family. We can’t live our lives for our parents. We must all make our own choices as we are all different people with different needs and goals. Again, that is just my view. I love my parents and I miss them so much. But I am a much happier person since we made the move. Mentally and physically it has transformed my life. It may sound selfish but the only person who can look after you is you. We made the move for my husband, daughter and myself. We Facetime my parents most days which feels like we are in the next room having a chat. It’s not ideal, but we’ve made it work and we are all very happy for each other. When my parents really need me I will be there for them in a heartbeat, just like they have been for me when I grew up. I may even need to move back temporarily at that time. But for now we are living life to the full and making the most of everything out there. I really hope it works out for you. Keep me posted. Sending you my best wishes.

  7. Trevor Ross

    Hi Clare

    This got me right in the feelers. It’s so true you have to do what’s right for you but I’m the type of person who thinks about others probably too much. My family is real small and my mother (father not on the scene) is pretty much on her own without anyone bar her kids. Leaving my mum behind would kill me (as we are a lot closer than we used to be) and I know it would kill her but I know for from her telling me she want’s what’s best for me. Am I happy in the UK, probably not, average at best. And the feeling of moving to Oz is always there no matter what, so much so that I often watch ABC Australia news or view the webcam setup over the Sydney harbour bridge. I have a permanent visa to move over but family is the sticking point for me. And it would just be myself moving over so no one else to rely on or help me.

    1. Take Me To Australia

      It’s certainly not an easy decision and maybe timing just isn’t right for you. I am similar in that I worry about other people but somehow it’s managed to work out well and everyone is pretty happy at present. I hope things work out well for you. In the meantime maybe plan an epic holiday here in oz.

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Welcome from the Editor

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.

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