An Aussie living in the UK. Not quite the cliche you would expect

The Wandering Darlings- how I ended up in the ukAn Aussie living in the UK. Pretty cliched really, however, the story of what got me here isn’t your run of the mill gap year tale.

I’ve now spent a 3rd of my life living in England and to be honest I’m really not sure when or if I’ll be heading back to my island home anytime soon. Over the years I could have racked up some pretty good frequent flyer miles but alas foresight wasn’t my strong suit. I’ve flown backwards and forwards from Australia to England almost 20 times.

Most Aussie’s will venture to the UK as part of a gap year before Uni or for a year out after Uni to enjoy the last of their freedom before a working career prevails. It’s the perfect base to explore Europe, live in London, try and meet the Royal Family and wind up some poms about the cricket. Usually, the time living in the UK lasts for 2 year which is the common visa length, however, some just end up embracing the grey dreary weather and the way of life and stick around for a bit longer. This is me.

The most common question I have been asked (and still get asked) is ‘Why are you here when you could be in Australia’ and it’s a fair question Australia is paradise but the real answer is-  I was always meant to end up here.

So I promised above that mine isn’t your run of the mill moving abroad story so hold onto your hats here it comes…

When I was young (much younger) my parents took part in an international teacher’s exchange which meant that they swapped jobs, cars, houses and lives with a family in England. They went to our small town in the Snowy Mountains in NSW and we came to their home in Somerset in the South West of England for a whole year and here is the kicker- this is where I now live- in that very same village. Some 25 years later.

I was 10 years old and my life’s path was in motion and I had no idea.

My sisters and I went to school, we made friends, we got to live in a two-storey house, we even got cute English accents. We loved our life in this foreign country.

My parents also made friends and when it was time for us to move back to Australia we all kept in touch. As it was the 90s this was mostly through being pen pals! We had some of these friends come out to stay with us and the relationships remained as strong as ever. One set of my parent’s friends had a daughter my age who was my best friend so it was great that when they came to visit our friendship remained and still does.

We then, when I was 16 ventured back to the Northern Hemisphere as a family and went back to our little village home. We all caught up with our friends and also made new friends. I had my first pub and clubbing experience. I was sucked into the British life then and there and wanted so much to stay and live in England. My friends back home in Australia even knew after this trip that I would always end up back in England.

While I was in my final year at school my best friend from England came to stay with my family for 3 months and then when it was time for her to head back I packed my bags with her and started my gap year back in the village. I worked in the local pub, made an even wider set of friends and fell for a few boys (standard). I embraced my English life wholeheartedly. I didn’t have any Aussie friends or family around and weirdly felt at home.

Sadly by being on a gap year before uni meant that I had to go back home AGAIN. I didn’t want to at all and I remember my parents telling me that when they picked me up I was miserable and just complained about how bright and sunny Australia was (silly girl- I totally wouldn’t do now).

For my 21st birthday, I went back again for a two week holiday. I just couldn’t stay away. Then when the time came for me to finish my degree, there I was back at the airport with my blue suitcase ready to move to England till I was done living there. That day just hasn’t come yet.

I am still friends with those I went to school with, I have other friends who I call my school friends but never actually went to school with them, I’ve made friends who are now considered my family, I have history in the village and can remember when the florist was actually where the old swimming pool was, I play ladies football for the village and actually feel like a local. When people would tell me how brave I was to move abroad  I always thought I wasn’t actually that brave or adventurous as I  was just moving to my second home. Which is actually a pretty awesome feeling to have. One of my favourite quotes at the moment is.

‘You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place’  Miriam Adeney

I often wonder if my parents didn’t do their exchange would I have still ended up here. Would my life have been on this path anyway or would I have never made it to England? I do find it funny that I’ve basically moved to the other side of the world to live in a village so very similar to where I grew up and all I wanted to do growing up was to move out of our small town to a big city.

Life is a funny old thing and you never know with the decisions you make where they will eventually lead you. I’m just pretty damn lucky my parents took the gamble and brought me here to my home away from home all those years ago.

Do you have an interesting tale of why you ended up living abroad but would love to hear your stories if you are a fellow expat so do leave them in the comments below or get in touch?

Pin for later

The Wandering Darlings- how I ended up in the uk

Back to the future- How social media and technology has changed for expats and travellers in 2017

When I left Australia in 2006 there was no Facebook. Yes NO FACEBOOK! No, Twitter, No Instagram, no Pinterest, no snapchat. Well, they may have been in existence in the US but it was early days. I don’t even think smartphones were a thing. Pretty sure we were all still rocking the flip phones.

Gosh, I sound really old.

I remember New Years Eve 2006 my friends were talking about this new website which was coming to England and It was set to be better than Myspace. That you could upload photos to, find friends (but better than friends reunited which let’s be honest wouldn’t be hard) and to send messages to friends over the internet with no charge. There wasn’t even an app it was just a website.  I also remember when I first signed up and no one I knew in Australia was on it. I remember wondering if it would even catch on.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently just how different living away from my family was only 11 years ago to how it is now. Which in itself has had drastic changes. Then I was thinking about when my parents moved our family to England in 1992 and just how different and hard it was for them. The world has changed a lot in 25 years!

In 2017 the Harris sisters meeting up in an airport would have been a Facebook status update but in 2007 it was just emailed to the parents. Oh we were so fresh faced

For me, in 2006 I probably spoke to my parents on the phone (always on a landline!) once a month as it was extremely expensive to call. I would have emailed a few times a month but would be completely out of the loop as to what was going on at home with the family or with friends. I wouldn’t see pictures of my family as again picture messages were very expensive and it was just a bit difficult to get photos from a camera to a computer to then email. Even sending an email I would need to go to the library to use the internet there.  I always felt quite disconnected with the goings on at home and it made it really tough emotionally. I always would get jealous of my friends who would go home to see their parents at the weekend and I wanted Australia to be just that little bit closer so I could pop home for a weekend break.

In 1992 my parents must have felt like they were on the other side of the universe rather than on the other side of the world. The contact with their parents, friends and family was few and far between.  International phone calls cost the same as a small car, there was no Skype, cameras still primarily used film, mobile phones were still bricks and could only keep 10 text messages at a time and you were charged by the number of letters. Areograms were written and received often, postcards of all the places we went were sent back and took like a month to get there. Nothing was instant. To get information on either side of the globe took time and for that year they were only able to get snippets from back home. For all the amazing experiences they had they couldn’t really share them with their parents or if they were missing home they just had to suck it up and wait till they were back on Aussie soil. They wouldn’t have even been able to see their own parents faces for a whole year!

Grainy family photo due to having to scan it in from a printed picture. The challenges of 1992. They obviously didn’t have razors in 1992 by the state of dads beard

Fast Forward 25 years and now  I can face time and speak to my parents face to face and even better I can  feel like I’ve been home (especially when my parents walk me around the house or perch the iPad up at the breakfast table like I’m there in the flesh), I have a group chat group  with my parents and sisters and with my besties so we can share the goings on in our lives as it happens. I can be on the other side of the world and still feel like I’m only an hour down the road from them.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I wrote a letter or postcard home but I could tell you where in Tasmania my mum has just been, through her Instagram and blog or i could tell you what my sister did after she finished work today. I can keep up with their fitness through runkeeper, I can see what my sister is planning for her wedding from her Pinterest board and I can know town gossip at the same time if not before my mum knows. It really has made those thousands of miles in between us seem so much smaller.

It’s not only changed keeping in touch with home but it’s also hugely changed how I view travel. I can now go on a website and find the best flights for my travels and not rely on a travel agent. I can stay in someone’s home on Airbnb rather than a hotel room. If I am going somewhere new I can look on Instagram to see what it looks like or the best places to visit. I can get a guide of what to see in any given country from Pinterest. We can read reviews on trip advisors or learn from other people through their blogs about their experiences and the good, bad and the ugly parts of destinations. We can get annoyed at the Begpackers on social media asking people to pay for their ‘journey of self-discovery’ , we can tag ourselves into places on facebook to show just how fabulous and awesome our travels are. I mean can you imagine how only 10 years ago we couldn’t upload the standard ‘my Monday is better than yours’ status update accompanied with a picture of a beach or beautiful view. The horror! We get an endless supply of wanderlust worthy travel photos on Instagram and that those hidden gems of destinations are just not as hidden as they once were.  It’s opened up the world both for the good and the bad.

I’ve read about how social media can make people actually more lonely than if they were interacting with ‘real’ in the flesh people. One website even said this was higher in expats as they are in a new place, still making friends and getting used to adjustment and changes in their life. I can see how this could be true especially if you don’t know ANYONE or if there is a language barrier but I’ve never felt like that. If anything it’s given me a greater connection with home which has allowed me to interact more in my day to day life as I’m  not sat around missing home. I used to get massive FOMO as I never really knew what was happening at home whereas, with technology and social media the way it now it feels like I’m closer to home, I can get involved in family activities by face timing, social media or just a simple WhatsApp message. I’ve met and maintained new relationships and I’ve had friends in similar situation help me through the tough parts of living abroad as they have done it themselves. So whilst I agree the rise of social media and new technology does have its negatives and downfalls I’d much rather have it as it is now than what it was like in 1992 or even 2006.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like in another 10 years. I’m hoping for teleportation pods but we’ll see…..

Have you noticed how social media and technology has changed for you either travelling or living abroad? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Like me? Wanna pin me? 

Should I stay or should I go? 

Don’t get excited family members reading this. This isn’t a question for me. I’m not coming home………  just yet.

I’ve spent a long time living in the UK with little to no face to face contact with others from down under. Well very little in the flesh, I’ve obviously spent a lot of time face timing friends and family. The last 2 years however my antipodean circle has widened. I hired 3 southern hemispherians (pure coincidence I promise!) and another girl from NZ joined another team within our department.

It’s been great they know what milo is, say words funny like me, help share the pain when Australia plays England in the cricket/rugby, share funny videos that our British colleagues just wouldn’t get, spend too much time in walkabout and they just sound like home. They were all there about the age I was when I first came over and whilst they all have completely different situations, plans, lives and loves they have started to have to make some big decisions about what happens next like I did many years ago.

Last week we were sitting in the sun drinking 1 too many proseccos discussing living abroad and the decisions that come with this at each stage of creating a life on the other side of the world.  I’ve lived away for 10.5 years (or 11.5 of you count my gap year) both times I had an ancestry visa due to my grandmother being born in England (hilariously she’s from Birmingham and her name is Sheila) and that allows me to have 5 years to live and work in Great Britain. I was lucky most Aussies don’t get that opportunity and the best they get is 2 years.

My 2 friends are in this situation and both of their visas are up before the end of this year. Talking to them about what they are planning to do was so different yet so similar to what I thought, felt, spoke to my friends about when my own visa was coming to an end.

For me, I never ever considered not applying for residency when my ancestry visa was due to expire. I don’t remember calling my parents to discuss it or ask their opinion I knew in myself that I wasn’t ready to go yet. I wasn’t ready to leave my friends, my boyfriend, my career or the life I had here. Because I had a 5-year visa I had been home most years and when I didn’t make it home my family had all been out to visit or stop in to see me on their travels through Europe.

Talking to both of my friends who are sadly a bit younger than me and they are so much more conflicted. They both have friends, boyfriends, jobs and more countries to tick off their lists but also long to be home with their families and not ready to commit to a life in the UK. They’ve spoken to their parents at length and luckily one of them is able to apply for her own ancestry visa but the cost of this is much higher than when I got mine all those years ago so it puts extra pressure to fund that and support two lives whilst being out of the country as the application is processed. One thing that stuck with me was one of their parents could tell they weren’t ready to go back to a land down under and even said ‘your adventure isn’t up yet’.

It’s hard being away from your parents and family but as I’ve learnt and experienced no matter how far away you are from them they just want to you to be happy.
My other friend has to leave the country when her visa expires. She doesn’t have the option of another one. The decisions for her are different as well as her and her partner need to work out what it means for them in the long term. If they continue togethere but long distance or if he makes the journey over with her. Falling in love abroad is really tough!
My one piece of advice was so not to stay here for a boy (or girl). I love my fiance dearly but I’m here for me and not him. This is the independent women in me coming out -Beyoncé would be proud. Falling in love is really hard when you are away. The problem is if you stay for them to run the risk of it all going tits up and then you are here for the wrong reasons or worse could end up resenting them that you only stayed for them. It puts a weird balance on the relationship. The relationship should, of course, be considered when making a decision to stay but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be the sole reason. See normal couples who are both from the same country don’t have to worry about this sort of thing.

For both of my friends, I don’t know what they’ll do. If they’ll stay or if they’ll go. I don’t think they even know for certain yet.  But one thing we all agreed on is that living and working abroad is one of the best things you could ever do. You grow so much as a person, you see the world through different eyes, you meet amazing people, you learn more about yourself, you develop a deeper love for your homeland (and weirdly the junk food of home) and most importantly you realise just how much crap you can accumulate over the years when all you arrived with was a suitcase!

Forget your year 6 school trip experiences here is 10 reasons to visit Canberra now

My sister has lived in lots of places both in Australia and overseas over her lifetime. She lived in our rural country town,  experienced the bright lights of Sydney, spent a semester in Sweden, lived in the midlands of the UK  and she even lived in the Italian Alps for a year when she didn’t know a word of Italian.  Her husband and she relocated from Birmingham a few years ago (he had never been to Australia and yet moved without hesitation- but that is another story for another day) and after a brief stint staying back with the parents, they made the move to Canberra.  Yes, Canberra. You can probably hear me roll my eyes when I say this.

I seriously don’t mean any disrespect to Canberra or its residents but really my only memories are of  school trips, roundabouts so many roundabouts, stopping for a Macca’s on the way to my grandparents on the way to the coast or a brief end of school girls trip when we weren’t even really old enough to do anything fun so just shopped and visited Telecom tower.  I also slightly resent Canberra as a whole as it’s close to Mum and Dad so they spend a lot of time there visiting my sister.  I know the inner 16-year-old version of myself is coming out.

My sister, however, has been constantly trying to encourage my other half and I to 1)move home and 2) move to Canberra.   I even got a Canberra tea towel from her one birthday as if that could tempt me further.  Nice try Sissy.

In her bid to promote Canberra as a place I could move to I asked her to send over 10 reasons why people should visit Canberra.

If you aren’t familiar with Canberra it is the capital city of Australia and located in the Australian Capital Territory. Australia has only two territories and these are the ACT and the Northern Territory (NT). It’s home to Parliament House, National War Museum and was a purpose built capital city that lies directly equal distances between Sydney and Melbourne.

So here are Canberra’s Best Bits according to my Sissy..

1.     It’s the bush capital


Canberra strikes a great balance between having all the amenities and convenience of cities but a small population and large open spaces.  Within a five minutes drive of her high-density apartment complex,  she can be in the bush with no sign of development.

If you want a true bush experience there is the Canberra Nature Park (30+ separate areas) across Canberra allowing you to walk and hike in the bush.  Plus you can hike up Mount Ainslie, Black Mountain or Red Hill for great views of the city.  And if you’re really keen, there are plenty of bushwalks just outside of Canberra (such as Mount Tennent or Mount Painter). If you’re keen to see Australian wildlife, it is pretty much guaranteed at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

2.     It may not be on the water
Unlike most Australian states and capital territories, Canberra isn’t located on the coast.  However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any water fun to be had.  In the middle of Canberra is Lake Burley Griffin neatly dividing Canberra into south and north (with a fairly competitive rivalry to accompany it).

There are also smaller lakes in the some of the Canberra districts – Lake Ginninderra (Belconnen), Gungahlin Pond and Yerrabi Pond (Gungahlin) and Lake Tuggeranong.

There’s also plenty of swimming locations.   Casuarina Sands (swimming in the Murrumbidgee River) is highly recommended but there is also Uriarra Crossing, Kambah Pool, Cotter Dam/River, Gibraltar Creek (with some nice waterfalls) and other spots to be discovered.

3.     It encourages an active lifestyle
Due to the large open spaces, Canberra encourages an active lifestyle.  Not only are there cycling tracks all around the lakes, there are plenty of shared off-road paths and on-road bike lanes linking the main areas of Canberra.  And if you get tired, all the buses come equipped with bike carriers so you can just get the bus home!

You can also row, sail, kayak, stand-up paddle board on the water and cycle, walk or Segway on the 40km path surrounding Lake Burley Griffin.

4.Seasonal experiences
It’s a rarity in Australian states and territory capital cities (excluding Melbourne with its four seasons in one day and Tasmania) that all seasons are fully experienced in Canberra. What’s even better are the events that accompany the seasons.  No matter when you travel to Canberra, there is likely to be something on.

Summer events
Summer kicks off with Christmas markets and light displays.
Canberra holds the world record for largest number of Christmas lights on a residential home and also the world record for most Christmas lights on an artificial Christmas tree.
Canberra has a free New Years Eve concert and fireworks (though don’t expect them to be anything like Sydney’s).
Free Australia Day concert
Multicultural festival – three-day event that is massive – sort of like Tumbafest on a bigger scale with daytime drinking encouraged
Ignore Summernats – highly recommend avoiding Canberra on this weekend

Autumn events


Autumn may not be what you expect – in March the days are still warm (often getting up to 30 degrees) with cool nights. From late April (Anzac day onwards) the temperature drops, but the days are generally sunny and bright.
Enlighten and the Night Noodle market in March
Canberra Day – public holiday – second Monday in March
SkyFire – Random Saturday night of fireworks over the lake – in March
Balloon Spectacular – nine days balloon festival near Lake Burley Griffin – in March
Anzac dawn service at Australian War Memorial
Canberra District Wine Harvest

Winter events
Truffle Festival
Sports – rugby union, rugby league, AFL GWS
Corin Forest – skiing, snowboarding, sledging and snow activities 45 minutes from Canberra
Ski fields  – the best ski fields in Australia are less than three hours from Canberra

Spring events
Floriade
Night Fest (part of Floriade – comedy shows, drinks, music, cooking demonstrations and imaginative light display
Canberra Nara Candle Festival – Nara (Japan) is the sister city of Canberra – over 2000 candles with Japanese music and other Japanese-themed events
Oktoberfest

5.     Markets
In addition to your typical shopping centres, Canberra has thriving markets.  You can get your food for the week or crafts and clothing.
*Old Bus Depot (weekly) – has food, clothes, craft, art etc
*Hall markets (monthly)
*Canberra Handmade markets (quarterly) – the very best products from independent designers, artisans, craftspeople and gourmet food makers. Categories include – Art & Photography, Skincare & Grooming, Things for Children, Fashion, Food, Homewares & Textiles, Jewellery & Accessories, Paper & Craft, Furniture, Pets and Christmas.
*EPIC Farmers Markets – every type of produce you could imagine.

6.     Dinner and drinks
When we used to go to Canberra as a teenager, we always ended up eating in  Manuka as that was the “Canberra eating area”.  Thankfully, (and while Manuka still has good restaurants) Canberra is undergoing a transformation and other areas have developed.

*Braddon has led the trend of hip and quirky nightlife.
*The Bentspoke Brewery brew all their beer and cider on the premises – they have up to 18 different beers on tap at any time.
*The Hamlet – Food truck venue and bring your own alcohol (with a bottle shop conveniently across the road)
*Mandalay Bus – Canberra institution
*Frugii Dessert Laboratory – amazing ice cream in a strange variety of flavours
*Grease Monkey – used to be a mechanic shop, now does amazing burgers

In addition to Braddon, Kingston Foreshore, New Acton and Civic are highly recommended spots for great food.

If you’re in the mood for a pub experience, the Old Canberra Inn is the oldest pub in Canberra and predates Canberra itself by over 50 years (although it was a home for a large amount of that time).  It’s an amazing old building that is very cosy and does amazing food.  It only serves craft beers and always has different beers on tap.

Canberra has also joined the trend of concealed, laneway bars.  Molly is an amazing underground (literally) whisky bar, Suke Suke is a Japanese cocktail bar that’s also underground (and down a dodgy looking lane), Highball Express is a Cuban themed bar up a fire escape and unlike most laneway bars is very airy and spacious, Hippo Co is another whisky bar, Bar Rochford has a lovely open fire in the winter.

7. Breakfast
The most important meal of the day and you’re bound to be impressed by the breakfast and coffee available in Canberra.  A Canberran barista has won the Australian Barista Championships for the past two years.

The freakshake trend started in Canberra at Patissez who incidentally do amazing ricotta pancakes.  Another place where you can get a side serve of diabetes with your breakfast is Ricardo’s – their display cabinet is a rainbow coloured delight.  The Cupping Room does great breakfasts and quite often has a queue outside the front door.

8.The iconic Canberra experience

Forget about your year six excursion to Canberra, some of the main tourist spots are fascinating.

The Australian War Memorial is incredible and depressing; Questacon is just as fun as when you were a teenager (and I highly recommend the adult only nights – science and alcohol!?); the National Gallery of Australia currently has Treasures from the Palace of Versailles on display; there is a lot to see in Canberra and you may as well roll down the hill at Parliament House while you can (they’re building a fence).

9. Jervis Bay
Jervis Bay has the most amazing beaches in Australia and the world.  Part of Jervis Bay belongs to the Australian Capital Territory so that the capital has access to the sea.  The Booderee National Park is part of the Jervis Bay Territory has truly incredible beaches and campsites.  Murray’s Beach is probably and all time favourite beach.

10. She lives there and its closer to home than I am currently
Do I need any other reasons??

The Hard Part of Living Abroad 

Dear 2006 Me,

You’re about to move to England. Big step but it feels right and you will have the right mix of apprehensiveness and excitement. You don’t realise it yet but this is a pivotal point of your life.

At this point your thinking you’ll be away for at least 2 maybe 5 years as that’s when your visa runs out and by then you’ll be 28 and ready to come home.

This is not the case- 10 years in and you’ll still not be sure when or if you’ll move back.

When you step on the plane you’ll be thinking of the adventures your going to have, the people you’ll meet, the countries you’ll go to and the new life you’ll have. What you won’t be thinking about is what you’ll end up missing out on at home while your away and rightly so in your mind your only going for a couple of years. Not much will happen in that time. Although it’s glaringly obvious, you forget life will go on even if your not there.

You’ll go home almost every year and funnily enough more times than your sister but you can’t be there for every occasion. When your sister gets married, your best friend has a baby, a family member suddenly passes away you’ll be there and reminding yourself that the worlds not that big. But the longer you’re away the more things you start to not be able to be there for like when your grandad is ill and needs to move into a home and your grandma needs support, when your family get together to celebrate anniversaries, significant birthdays, random off the cuff weekend catch ups, meeting friends new partners, engagement parties and town celebrations.

A few weeks ago it was Dad’s 60th birthday and you won’t be there for the party. Yes you saw him a month earlier on an amazing family holiday and celebrated with everyone then but you miss out on being there now. You’ll facetime (FaceTime is amazing just you wait) and talk to everyone and see how much fun they are having together and they will laugh at how rugged up your are when it’s so warm there and then you’ll hang up and smile but that smile will fade into tears. Tears of sadness that your not there, guilt that your not there and longing as you wish to be there and not in your lounge getting ready to put the washing away.

Im not writing this to you to stop you from going or to create any further guilt as you need to go. You need to live your life. But you need to know these things as your going to have to be strong. Really strong. No one will ever tell you about this side of living away (only all the practical points of living abroad) and you do learn how to cope with it even if at times you won’t feel like you can.

You need to make sure you enjoy every moment and every new thing you see as this will shape you and make you into the person you are meant to be. As much as you’re longing to be at home with everyone they will be looking at your Facebook, text messages, Instagram and feeling envious that your having a weekend in Paris or that your off on another girly holiday to somewhere fabulous in Europe. They’ll want to be there for you when you have a bad day, hospital appointments, celebrate the promotion you got or even take you out for dinner when you get engaged (yes you get engaged!). This is just the way it is.

It might sound all doom and gloom but it’s not. It’s amazing – you have so many friends who are your extended family, you fall in love, you see things you never thought you would, you have a great job, mum comes to celebrate your 30th, you even get a pet rabbit and most importantly you have the most amazing family that are there for you regardless of the miles or oceans between.

Home is where the heart is and your fortunate enough to have your heart on both sides of the world.

Be strong and enjoy!

X

oh and look out for a guy that gives you a jar of vegemite on your first date. He’s a keeper and will always make you smile when your missing home

Welcome home -sort of 


This time last week I was here….  on the other side of the world, in the sun, seeing new things.

However today I’ve just had two days back in work, freezing my butt off in the cold and wistfully looking at holiday snaps trying to believe it’s not over.

I’ve put together 9 things I’ve noticed about coming back to reality and routine after a long and amazing trip.


Jet lag

Anyone whose been on long haul travel knows the joy of jet lag. Wide awake at 4am and then fading fast come 4pm. Your body and mind are lost in some weird time loop. You don’t know what day it is, how to function or even who you are. Trying to function at work is ok for about 2 hours max.

‘how was your trip’

EVERYONE will ask this regardless of if they care or are just being polite. The thing you need to remember is you probably have a minuet if not less to respond. Not everyone is going to want to know all the details. Pick one funny antidote and form a quickly reply. Save the indepth synopsis of your trip for your besties.

‘bet your glad to be back’

Like ‘how was your trip’ in the first couple of days you’ll hear this just as much. Don’t roll your eyes and slap them. Just smile and say yep. Then walk away, get your phone out to look at your holiday snaps and cry. Quietly you don’t people to think your weird.

Forgetting slightly what you actually do

Once you’ve made your cuppa, had a few chats with co workers (see points above) you finally sit down at your desk and stare at the screen racking your brain about what you actually do. Give it 10 min and then with a bolt it all suddenly comes back and you start questioning should you really have returned. Or you get onto to booking the next trip.

Looking out the window isn’t pretty

Usually while your trying to get back into the swing of things you’ll find yourself looking (note staring) out the window wondering when the world became so grey. Gone is the endless blue oceans, green green trees, glaring sunlight and the freedom of the big wide world.

Officewear

Yes you need to put a bra on. It’s usually ideal to slap on some make up and even run a comb through your hair. You don’t want to .. but your back in the professional world now and the flip flops, shorts, messy hair and bikini top just won’t cut it. It’s sad but true

You aren’t with your travelling companion

If you’ve travel with a friend/partner or family you would have most likely spent all day everyday with them. They were their for the amazing, the not so good and also the ugly. Having those first days back in reality without them is WEIRD. When you suddenly remember something funny they aren’t there by your side laughing and if even if you were looking forward to a bit of time on your own you just miss them.

Internet

In a positive note you have Internet all day everyday. You phone isn’t just a camera you can use it properly without having to search for free wifi or debate with yourself if the data roaming charges are worth it.

Cling film

Now I’m almost positive this doesn’t happen to everyone but.. sometime your work colleagues will like to remind you why you went away in the first place. My team wrapped my desk and everything in it in cling film. Yes the entire desk


Hopefully if you’ve been in this situation you can relate. It’s been a tough couple of days but it’s all worth it for the amazing time I had.

One of my favourite quotes is ‘don’t be sad it’s over but glad that it happened’ and over the last few days it’s become my post trip mantra. Well that and Dory’s ‘just keep swimming’

X

Australia Day 🇦🇺


Today is Australia Day (although technically due to time zones I’m a little late) anyhoo in the UK it’s still Australia Day.

I’ve had as an Australian Day as possible considering I’m on the other side of the world when the temperature only just slipped over 5 degrees. I’ve eaten timtams, twisties and rum balls, gone to Walkabout with fellow Aussies, watched Crowded House’s recent concert at the Opera House and listened to Hamish and Andy’s podcast on the way to and from work. I know so Australian 😂

I love Australia Day mainly because I’m fiercely proud of my country and where I am from.

It’s a day when I think of my home among the gum trees (clothes line out the back, verandah out the front but sadly no old rocking chair) on usually a cold and chilly UK day. I get jealous of the public holiday, the sun, the lamingtons, the BBQs, the fun everyone is having loving our beautiful country. However I know that Australia Day isn’t the same for all Australians. Especially our indigenous Australians its the date that represents when their land was taken and when they were invaded.

And for that I am sorry.

This is why I’m dreaming of days on beaches like this and with so much respect, understanding and hope that one day that all of Australia can celebrate our beautiful island home together on a day that causes no pain only pride for ALL in our nation.

Xx

UK Heatwave*

* I use this term very loosely

As an Aussie kid I know a thing or too about summer – and I mean a proper summer not this one day (or week) of sun.

We swam in creeks,  weren’t allowed out at lunch unless we had a hat on, didn’t have air con managed to not only function like a normal human being but also NEVER mutted the words ‘it’s too hot’. 

Now imagine my surprise that after 10 years of living in the UK I have now become a climatised as what to expect for the great British summer, And that the one day it’s over 30 degrees I’m there with my pommy  friends struggling to cope. 

Today I’ve eaten 3 ice lollies, let my team finish early as it was too hot to keep them working, had the aircon in my car up full ball, taken a photo of the temperature gauge (obvs), checked on the weather for the rest of the week (like 100 times) to see if this will last longer than a week, faked smiled when 20 people said ‘your Australian you should be used to this’ and  then struggled to actually do anything constructive- Because. Of. The. Heat(!) 

Ugh.

Who am I ?!
England just isn’t equipped to cope with this sort of weather. There was actually news articles about how bosses shouldn’t let people work if it was over 30 degrees. But it is really is so lovely when it’s nice. The shackles of the grey doom and gloom melts away and everyone is in the parks at lunch and after work, everyone is out walking/cycling/sporting, tescos runs out of ice lollies as all the work places are buying them, fan sales sky rocket  and everyone just looks… Happy. 

So yes I’m dissapointed that my Aussie bred body is struggling like an English rose but you know what if our summer for this year is just going to be this one week of heatwave then I’m going to bloody enjoy it. As I’ll only be complaining about the rain and lack of sun before to long. 


  


Curing a bout of homesickness 

Having lived away from home (and when I mean home I mean the every inch of Australia) I have lots of different techniques to get me through the homesickness.

Last week this was my perfect cure- cocktails, good friends and maps of my great Island home.

Thank Skippy (God doesn’t really feel like the right person to thank) for  Walkabout Pubs 😂