Ping Pom Merrily Goodbye.
Sorry about that, just trying to keep it Christmassy. You see, the phrase being used is ping-pong poms; Brits moving back and forth between Australia and the UK.
As you can see, my title is completely different (ahem!). The BBC article is very long and also has a follow-up article to go with it. I’m going to try and keep mine short.
I’ve read both articles, and popular opinion is that these are the reasons why people leave Australia:
- Missing friends and family.
- Lacking a real sense of belonging.
- Getting lonely living in the suburbs.
- The lack of the drinking culture after work.
- The TV is terrible.
- Too hot.
- Too many flies.
- Having to cover the kids in suncream.
- The lack of culture and history.
- Not living by the beach.
- Australia is not competitive enough.
- Australia has become too expensive.
- The cost of petrol has risen.
- The cinema is too expensive.
The follow up article tells the story of 10 people who quit Australia to return to the UK.
These were some of their reasons:
- The dullness and isolation of living somewhere like Perth.
- We both loved it but our families were back in the UK.
- I got fed up of being an outsider.
- The health system turned out to be a nightmare of rules (from a health worker).
- I never really had a sense of belonging
- I missed the seasons, the food, the cultural attachment to Europe…
- I moved my family back to the UK 18 months ago so my kids could know their grandparents.
The three reasons I missed out were too specific to be relevant in my view. Lack of educational support for an autistic child, but that was back in 1987. Things are a little different now.
A plumber was shocked at having to retrain to qualify to be an Australian plumber. I’m surprised nobody told him. It’s the same for electricians and many other tradies as well.
And the most bizarre of all; Australians just aren’t British anymore. They are cultivating their own culture.
And these are some of the reasons why expats 10 stayed down under:
- We have a better lifestyle than we could have afforded in the UK.
- I’ve made better, longer lasting friendships now in Australia.
- The kids love the outdoor life.
- The sunshine and pace of life.
- The standard of living and proximity to Asia.
- We swapped a Yorkshire Terrace for a house on five acres. (2001)
- I’ve made some exceptionally welcoming friends here.
- Would miss the laugh of a kookaburra.
- It’s a beautiful, safe country full opportunities.
- Lots of things to do that do not cost money.
But the article isn’t just about Britain’s quitting Australia to return home, it’s also about Australians quitting the UK to return back down under. Surely, in many instances, this is a natural thing to do?
I don’t think it signifies success or failure. It simply shows that people like to try something different now and then and sometimes, when they have tried it for a while, they’re done.
I advise you to read both of the articles and you can read them in full by clicking these links:
It’s worth checking out all of the comments as well.
What do I think?
This is a fascinating subject and one I can talk about for ages, but I promised I’d keep this short. So I’ll try and sum up.
The story is based on figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) who say that just over 7,000 UK citizens permanently left Australia in 2009/10. Record numbers, apparently.
But in 2005, over 5,000 people quit to return, so it’s hardly a massive rise. And nobody, not even the ABS, knows the real reasons why these people are leaving Australia.
So all the reasons given are just conjecture, or individual opinions.
Also, have you noticed how the reasons given by each group can often conflict?
Those returning say they miss their family and friends, those staying say they have made better friendships.
Those leaving say it’s too expensive here in Australia, those staying say they have a better standard of living here than they could have dreamed of back in the UK.
And I love that whilst some miss the closeness to Europe of the UK, another think’s it’s great that Australia is near Asia.
How confusing for any of you considering a move to Australia. Could it be that “life is what you make it”.
Missing family and friends.
Of all the reasons given, I suspect the only ones that may truly affect people are missing family and friends along with the sense of isolation and loneliness. I don’t see any of the others as valid reasons.
Well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Make new friends! Put yourself about a bit, get involved and simply replace your old friends with new ones.
And guess what? You can even replace your family. Yes, really, you can!
The answer is by making friends with expats. Because all the expats who have moved out here are also missing their families. This is where you can meet your neo-brother, your neo-sister, even your neo-mums and neo-dads!
I suspect you can also meet a neo-grandma and a neo-grandpa if you want to, although I haven’t bothered.
I’m too old to have those.
Besides, your real family can always come out and visit you. But will they? Find out here.