Easy……Move to Australia.
If that sounds overly simplistic or as though it’s some kind of joke, for me, it isn’t. Moving to Australia really did completely change my life.
And in December’s issue of Australia and New Zealand Magazine, that’s what I wrote about. If you didn’t buy your issue, you’ve almost certainly missed out now as they will all be sold out. But at least you get to read my article right here, right now, for free.
Before I print that article though, I have to tell you about the slight piece of luck I had with it. You see, the deadline for this particular article was 23rd of August and although I’d already written five articles before, I wasn’t keeping track of when they actually appeared in print.
It just so happens that in this article, for the first time in any article, I mentioned Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Turns out the article I wrote back in August was appearing in the December issue. Maybe, I don’t know, but maybe the people over at the magazine for one small moment thought I was really smart.
No, I’m not. Just lucky. And that luck continues because it’s now time to reprint that article here, just as Christmas approaches.
So there you have it. Lucky me, living in the lucky country, being lucky. Here’s the article…….
Article 6 – It’s Life Changing
At some point, and I’m not sure when, I realised that my life and my lifestyle had totally changed since moving to Australia. It is generally thought that you are who you are, wherever you live. It’s not true. Living in Australia really does make a difference.
Here, the sunshine sucks you out of your house, often when you least expect it. For example, Boxing Day. Boxing day is where you get to eat a big fat turkey roast and then flop out on the settee watching telly and quaffing wine. Well not here.
Very popular here in Australia is to spend Christmas Day and or Boxing Day on the beach. That’s exactly what we did the other year. This led to three “Boxing Day firsts” for me. First, I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol until 8:30 PM when we got home, because I was driving. Second, I swam in the sea. And third, I had fish and chips on the beach for tea.
Since then I have been sucked out of my house for entire weekends to enjoy the outdoors. And I don’t think it gets anymore outdoorsy than camping. Yes, I’ve been to Kmart, a major Australian store, and bought a tent, sleeping bags, gas stove and some torches. We are campers!
“Camping! You can’t be serious? What about the snakes and the spiders? Surely you will die!” Yes, that was the first involuntary thought I had when somebody mentioned camping in Australia before I moved here. I didn’t voice it, of course, but I did think it. But you only have to live here around for five months to realise what nonsense that is.
Camping makes for a fantastic weekend break. We will often take Elizabeth, our six-year-old daughter, out of school early on a Friday. We’d be all packed and in the car by lunchtime and make off to a campsite somewhere around an hour to 2 hours drive away. And we’d be back home by six o’clock in the evening on the Sunday.
We’ve been camping at Mount Tambourine among the lush green hinterlands of the Gold Coast. We’ve been camping 30 seconds from the beaches at Mooloolaba along the glorious Sunshine Coast. We have hopped on the one hour car ferry ride to Stradbroke Island and camped next to the beaches and among the wild kangaroos and koalas.
We have always gone with our close friends Ben and Stacey who have two young daughters of a similar age to Elizabeth. Together, the three girls just love camping, being outdoors playing, sleeping in tents, using the torches and of course, going to the beach. For the whole weekend it’s as though the television does not exist.
Even better, mobile phones often don’t work, Internet connections are impossible and the whole weekend becomes technology free. So it really does feel like a break, a break from everything.
Well, not everything. It’s not a break from my family and friends, it is spending more time with them. People often talk about “quality time” and as I remember it back in England, we didn’t seem to get too much of that. I don’t know why it is, but here in Australia that has all seemed to have changed. Australia seems more geared to having fun at the weekend. Doing nothing doesn’t appear to be an option. And when you choose to do something, all the family does it too.
So if I were to sum up what I think is so different about my life here in Australia, I would say simply that I spend much more time with my family. I wasn’t expecting that to happen but it is a massive added bonus of life in Australia.