Why Australia?

Today I thought I’d write about our motivations for moving. Partly to share but also I thought it would he interesting to look back and see if our hopes live up to the reality (if we ever get there!!).

It started out really because my husband had always dreamed of living abroad, either temporarily or permanently. I like stability and home so I’d prefer to move somewhere permanently if I were to move but it had never been a dream of mine. When we talked about it, before we’d been to Australia together, I’d said if I were to emigrate then I would want to live somewhere I could speak the language and sadly, like a huge number of British people, I only speak on language fluently – English. So for my criteria, our options would be America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

We’d both visited America, both separately and together. My husband loves it and would have moved there I think. I like it to visit but wouldn’t consider living there as I hate gun culture, I think it’s so alien to us Brits that pretty much anyone can have a gun! I’m also aware of how behind their healthcare is compared to our wonderful NHS and that they have insanely short maternity leave. Big no from me.

Canada has been a place I’ve always wanted to visit and it seems much more ‘me’ in terms of values. However, while I like winter, what I think of as winter Canadians would no doubt laugh at! A country that ranges in temperature from -40 to 40 degrees Celsius just seemed a little extreme for me.

Australia I had visited before and liked and on our first trip together, my husband and I also visited New Zealand. We liked it and there’s no doubt it’s a beautiful country but we fell in love with the city of Melbourne whereas Auckland just seemed a little less like the cosmopolitan city we were used to (London).

When my husband and I first met we were both really honest about what we wanted out of a relationship/life. So from before our first date we knew that having a family would be part of the plan. Wherever we were going to live had to be somewhere we wanted to raise our (at that point hypothetical) children.

When we compared the UK to Australia we are hoping for the following positives:

– more open space for the kids to run around in (UK is small and a bit crowded, especially near London like we are)

– better weather to enjoy the open spaces (According to Wikipedia, Melbourne gets 139 days of rain and over 2300 sunshine hours a year, with an average temperature of between 11 and 20 degrees C. London gets slightly less rainy days with 110 but only 1600 hours of sunshine a year and an average temperature of between 7 and 15 degrees C.)

– nice beaches (on the rare occasion we do have a sunny day, many of the UK’s beaches are pebble not sand, the sea is almost always too cold to go in and they’re overcrowded)

– better healthcare (NHS is fab but it is underfunded so you often have long waits, in A&E, to see your GP or for an operation. It is also in danger of disappearing altogether)

– better education (the focus in Australia seems less on results whereas in the UK it feels like exam factory central. There also seems like more of a focus on extracurricular activities and also on independence)

– better work/life balance (UK average is 42.5 hours a week compared to Australia’s 37.5 hours a week. My Aussie ex-colleague says in our profession there’s a huge difference and she’s also paid a lot less here. She says she loses the equivalent of a house deposit every year she stays here… she’s here for the European travel!)

– bigger house with better outside space (we live in a v small 3 bed house with a small garden but a huge mortgage and obviously it depends on exactly which suburb we move to, but we could get a house 1.5-2 times bigger with a bigger garden and have a tiny mortgage… this adds to the work/life balance argument as we think I’ll be able to work part time over there as we wont be relying on my salary as much, which means less childcare while the kids are small).

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