This isn’t specific to moving to Australia, it’s just a few things I’ve learned through my experience. I’m a wise old owl at times.
- Just do it. Wise words but seriously, I think life is to be experienced, don’t let yourself be talked out of doing something adventurous just because it’s a change.
- Don’t pack too much shit. I had 8 huge suitcases flown out to Australia before my arrival (LOL what a princess). Most of my English clothes were useless in the tropical climate, plus the fashion was different so I wanted to buy new things anyway.
- Feel the feels. Allow yourself to embrace your (hugely) changing emotions, and don’t be too freaked out by it. When you make a big move it’s natural to have good days and bad days, it doesn’t “mean something”, and you shouldn’t read into it too much.
- Don’t put a time-frame on it. I sort of had this idea that “Oh I’ll probably be homesick for 6 months but then I’ll be fine”, ha! I have lived in Oz for almost two years and I still get homesick. I’ll be fine for months and then suddenly I’ll be terribly homesick for weeks on end, crying all the time. This is OK, because it is really hard to be away from friends and family, it doesn’t make you weak.
- Remember you can always go home. If you’re truly unhappy, you can go home. Or sometimes, you might just need a break! Remember home is never further away than an expensive flight.
- Take as much money as possible. As I discovered, it’s not always easy to get a job in a new country, so be prepared for that as much as possible. Plus furnishing a house is not cheap, alas.
- Find somewhere to live before you arrive. We did this and it was so amazing. It would have sucked big time to be living in a hotel and searching for a rental instead of enjoying our new city.
- Sort yo visa! I mean it’s a pretty obvious one, just make sure you are entering the country legally, and playing by the rules.
- Transfer money electronically NEVER via cheque. It takes an absurdly long time for a foreign cheque to be approved, lesson learnt.
- Sort out a phone and internet ASAP. Make this one of the first things you do. That vital link to home is all important.
- FaceTime your family. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you’ve been howling crying because you’re so homesick. Even when you’re trying to pretend you’re OK but your bottom lip is wobbling. I talk to my mum on FaceTime every single day and I don’t know what I’d do without it.
- Store copies of all key documents. Passport, driving licence, birth certificate, visa, etc, etc. I can access any of these from my phone or a computer at any time.
- Sign up for frequent flyer programs! Likelihood is you’re going to be doing more travelling than you used to, so you might as well earn some points while you do it.
- Don’t expect an instant squad. Sounds sad, but don’t expect to make a brilliant group of friends immediately. If you’re moving to be with a partner then that helps, because you can meet their friends, or maybe you’ll have a great team at work, but don’t feel down if not, it takes time!
- Embrace your new home. You have two options. 1) Moan about how much you miss home and the food and the weather. 2) Embrace the differences – the weather, the food,the lifestyle. Try to see the good differences not just the bad! You might be a loner but damn you’ve got a nice house – right?
- Don’t rose tint it. I know there is a temptation to make your new life seem perfect, but be honest with your loved ones. Just because you’ve moved abroad with a partner doesn’t mean your relationship will automatically be perfect, you’ll still face your challenges. It can be easy to be worried about judgement – “I’ve moved all the way to Timbuktu for him and now he’s being a dick, I can’t tell anyone or they’ll think I’m an idiot for moving”. They won’t, but they might think you’re an idiot if you brag about your idyllic life. Plus even if they do judge you, you’re probably judging them for getting Kevin’s name tattooed on them…or whatever.
- Home will always be there. Remember that home ain’t going nowhere, and it probably won’t change much either. If and when you return, life will be back to how it was in a matter of days.
- Enjoy it! You’re young and on a huge adventure, don’t worry too much about how long you’ll be here, or when you can go home, just be present and enjoy the moment. Easier said than done, but these memories are what you’ll tell your grandchildren about one day, so make them good!