I was born by the beach. Unfortunately, it was Southend.
Every summer my parents used to drag me down to the beach and make me swim in it. “There must be better beaches in the world than this.” I thought. That was way back in the early 1960s. I went on to live for almost half a century in and around the Southend area.
At the age of 40 though, I pondered the question “Will I live here all my life?” So I asked my wife “Will we live here all of our lives?” She said she hoped not. She explained that she had always had a dream that one day she would live in the south of France.
Now there’s a thing. You see, that’s where my Mum had lived for most of her life until she moved to England to marry my Dad when World War Two came to an end. Well, they were allies!
“Okay, let’s do that then” I said. And with that was born in the five-year plan. So in 1998 we agreed to move to the south of France in 2003.
Then in 2000 my wife’s brother moved to Australia, taking with him his two daughters (as you would) aged four and six at the time. This was crushing news to my wife. She doted on her nieces and they were being taken away from her. Taken thousands of miles away from her. There were tears and plenty of them.
All they left behind was their dog. Baggy was now ours.
We resolved to visit Australia at least every two years, and that’s what we did.
Our first trip to Australia was mostly about my wife visiting her nieces (oh, and her brother) and far less about visiting Australia. We stayed in Brisbane all of the time and just did days out.
Elizabeth was born in March of this year and we decided to take advantage of my wife’s maternity leave by flying out for a four-week holiday when she was just four months old.
Again, it was more about visiting the relatives and showing them our new daughter rather than visiting Australia. And again we hung around Brisbane.
We were also holidaying in France during this period with a mission to find our new home town. During our holiday in December 2004, we found it. We were going to move to Pezenas. We loved France and especially the Languedoc Roussillon region we had chosen. It boasted 300 sunny days a year, had a great Mediterranean climate, and was sleepy and relaxed.
I think we had half an eye on retirement (way too early) and another half an eye on the cheap French wine. It was seven hours door to door to get back to England, very convenient for keeping in touch with friends and family. And we really loved Europe, we’d seen a lot but had some more we wanted to see. For us, Australia was still just too far away from home for us to consider.
Then came our third holiday to Australia.
December 2005 – Jan 2006
The BobinOz logo image comes from this visit. Here’s the original.
This was Boxing Day in the pool with my wife and daughter and our two nieces. This was the holiday that changed it all. Elizabeth was 18 months old and she was a little action girl. All of a sudden France seemed too sleepy for her. I talk more about this holiday in the first part in my post Moving to Australia – An Idea
Yes, this was the holiday in which we fell in love with Australia and changed our minds about our futures. Our five-year plan, which had already become a five-ish year plan had now been extended further. With France we could have just moved, with Australia we had the small matter of a permanent residency visa to sort out. You can’t just turn up.
The rest is all well documented in my series How to Move to Australia and today we are very happy with our decision to come here instead of France. In fact, we couldn’t be happier. Moving to Australia has changed our lives. I decided I wanted others to know what it was really like to move to Australia. So Rob Kiernan, who used to live in England, launched BobinOz from his new home in Australia.
Ha ha some of you may be saying. No wonder you settled in Australia so fast, your wife’s brother and his family had been there for seven years by the time you arrived. You just latched on to all their friends, right?
Our daughter was just 3 years old when we arrived, their two girls were both older, one a teenager and the other almost one. Most of our friends have young children and most of their friends have teenagers. The two just don’t mix. We see them on family occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. So we socialise with them just a few times a year. They have their friends and we have ours.
So each and every one of our friends we have made from our own efforts. It wasn’t hard but it was (and is) great fun meeting new people. Originally, Australia seemed a move too far, a move that was too final and maybe even a move that was too scary. 11,000 miles away from (virtually) all your friends and family. Today, we are so glad we cast aside all of those fears and jumped feet first into our new life.
This blog is all about how we took that leap and how our lives are now that we have done so.