An Emirates aircraft at the airport gate.

Four one-way tickets to Canberra, please

It should have been a big moment. We’d imagined it for years. That fateful, symbolic, final act of booking our one-way tickets to Canberra.

We’d imagined the parallels with those migrants of long ago, booking their steamer passages in steerage, not knowing what would await them in a land that promised a new start, a new life, a new future. Continue reading

Five things to do if you want to move to Australia

Moving to Australia is a lengthy and complex process, and unless you happen to be of Aussie descent, you can’t just decide to turn up — you’re going to need a visa. So, as we near our move date, I thought I’d suggest the most important steps along the way to securing a new life in Australia. Continue reading

All the stuff that’s not allowed

Removals lorry full of boxes

Our move to Denmark was easy but Australia’s import rules are much stricter.

Our move to Australia has resulted in the biggest spring clean that we’ve ever undertaken, but not everything that we’ve ditched was by choice, and we’re still nervous about some of the stuff we’ve elected to take with us.

Why? Because Australia has some of the most stringent rules about what you are and aren’t allowed to bring with you of any nation in the world, and a tiny misjudgement here or there could result in your possessions being impounded at best, and at worst, destroyed. Continue reading

A little bit of politics

One of the most interesting conversations I ever had in Denmark went a bit like this…
Friend: “So what are your politics?”
Me: “I guess I’ve always been a bit of a socialist.”
Friend: “Well you might have been a socialist in England, but are you a socialist in Danish terms?”

It was a brilliant question because I had never really thought of politics as being relative, depending on which country you live in. But of course, my friend was correct. The beliefs that placed me left of centre in the predominantly right-leaning UK, may not have been so radical after all in full-on socialist Scandinavia. In fact, in local terms, my views may even have been right of centre. Continue reading

A cockerpoo dog.

Mr Pup and the quarantine challenge

I’ve always thought that our relationships with our animals reveal a lot about who we are. For me, once an animal becomes part of our family, it stays exactly that – a member of the family, commanding all the love, devotion and loyalty that any other family member would warrant.

Mr & Mrs Pip made the trip from the UK to Denmark.

Mr & Mrs Pip made the trip from the UK to Denmark.

When I accepted a job with the company that originally relocated me and my family to Denmark, I became famous in the HR department as the only person to ever negotiate the international relocation of two rabbits (Mr & Mrs Pip) as part of my contract. So, when it came to planning our move to Australia, our family dog Mr Pup figured large in our conversations. Continue reading

Preparing for the Aussie psyche

When you are first granted a residency visa for Australia, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection very kindly points you towards a couple of documents on its website, suggesting that you give them a read.

Two brochures about Australian life.

Suggested reading for all migrants to Australia.

The first, ‘Life In Australia’ gives a potted history of how the Australian nation was shaped, what its common societal values are, and what life down under is really like. The second, ‘Beginning a Life in Australia’ covers more of the essentials of settling into life there – how to get housing, employment, access medical services and so on, but it still includes a whole section on the values of Australian society. Continue reading

The moment of truth

The reality of our move is slowly creeping up on us. In a previous post, I mentioned that the first big milestone in our journey to Australia was receiving news that our visa application had been approved. Immediately afterwards, we went on a research trip down under, but after that, things pretty much returned to normal.

Things really took a leap forwards about six weeks ago, when we finally received an offer we were happy with for our house in Denmark. After accepting the offer verbally, we had to go into the office of our estate agent and sign all the legal paperwork which would make the deal binding. Continue reading

Telling friends and family: “We’re moving to Australia”

A Qantas Airbus A380 at London's Heathrow airport.

This may be the moment when the emotion of our move hits us.

It’s often suggested that, when you are planning a move abroad, one of the hardest things to do is tell those closest to you about your plans. But I have to say that this wasn’t our experience.

For us, it was a delicate moment, yes, but it was also a very exciting moment too. Our hopes of moving to Australia were no secret, but our “we’re definitely going” conversation really came when our visas had been granted. Naturally, given how hard it is to secure a permanent residency visa for Australia, we were cock-a-hoop at the time and simply wanted to share our good news.

It’s usually at this point that you discover what people really think about your plans.

Continue reading