The end of the beginning


WordPress tells me that it’s exactly two years since I started this blog. At the time, I was living near Copenhagen, contemplating a leap into the unknown as Mrs CBRbound and I planned a new life for our family in Canberra.

In the four months leading up to our move, I explained our reasoning, our hopes and our fears about the move. Since arriving, I’ve detailed the bumps and bruises as well as the celebrations that have punctuated our time in Australia’s capital.

At the heart of my posts has been the constant wrestle to know whether we were doing the right thing, whether things would have turned out better than if we had stayed where we were; whether our great leap had furnished our two sons with a sense of adventure that would serve them well, or whether the disruption had caused them irreparable harm in pursuit of their parents’ folly.

I think Donald Rumsfeld, in his uniquely opaque phraseology, would determine this to be ‘a known unknown’. The question is there to be asked, but it is impossible to ever know the answer.

A display plaque at CMAG.

In the year and half since we’ve lived in Canberra, we’ve been charmed by its many attractions, wowed by its liveability and identified shortcomings that we could never have anticipated from afar – chief amongst these, I think, is the poor build quality of the housing here.

In discovering all of these things, and comparing them to the life we left behind, commenters have occasionally suggested that I perhaps cannot let go of our old life, and that I should stop harking back.

It is possibly a fair criticism, and I’d respond by saying our old life is the only life we have with which to compare our new life, however irrelevant that may be.


There’s a kernel of an idea in those comments though, which perhaps has never been articulated, which is that, in continuing to compare our old life and our new, I am continuing to weigh the decision we made rather than fully embracing it: that through all these ruminations, I am possibly seeking to justify or find grounds to reverse our decision to move to Canberra.

All of which leaves aside an important point which I hope I have made clear throughout our story – that Australia had been calling us for a long time. That this was an itch we needed to scratch. That whether permanent or temporary, this was an adventure we needed to go on.

Australian flag

Having said that, after two years, there is now probably very little that I can add to the story of moving to, and beginning a new life in Canberra. We completed our preparations, we moved here, we lived in rented accommodation for a year, and eventually found a place to buy and call our own.

We made new friends, settled our kids into new schools, and wrestled with alien concepts such as top-loading washing machines, sunshine that can cause serious damage, and animals whose first instinct is to kill you—and I’d include Canberra drivers in that last category.

So, we’re not migrants any more. We are Canberrans.

All of which makes this second anniversary of the blog feel like the end of something. Perhaps, as Churchill once said, it is just the end of the beginning, but it feels like an appropriate place to stop writing about starting a new life and to actually just go and live it, before my objectivity becomes dulled by familiarity.

Australian Immigration passport stamp.

I may post occasionally in the future, and I will still respond to comments on the existing posts, but I’m going to wind things down now and turn my attention to a few other projects that have been demanding my attention.

I’d like to thank those of you who have been with me for the journey, who have offered advice, practical help, words of encouragement, or have challenged my logic from time to time. It’s true that these have largely been ramblings about my inner transition process, but externalising them and sharing them has helped me immensely. So, thank you.

I’d also like to acknowledge that, for some loved ones back in Europe, this blog has been a handy way of keeping up with our adventures. I’d like to say that we will continue to stay in touch via other means, but this particular story has reached its conclusion.

But mostly, I’d like to say something to anyone contemplating a new life in Canberra: You will be excited, I know. You will be scared too, as we were. You will have days when you wish you could stop everything, unravel all that you’ve done and go back to how things were. And you’ll have days when you stand atop a mountain, breathe this place in and congratulate yourself on being brave enough to do it.

I can’t tell you whether to do it or not. But I hope that, in places, this blog helps you in some way. Canberra is a wonderful place, and it might just be the place for you if you let it.

So, for now, from me: thank you once again, and goodnight.

photo 2


10 thoughts on “The end of the beginning

  1. Kobi says:

    I Remember around a year ago stumbling upon your blog whilst carrying out a Google search on Canberra as my family like yours had decided to call Canberra our new home…

    Problem we had was that apart from my wife’s occupation being on a skills shortage list, a job offer from Canberra hospital and a few reports claiming Canberra being the best Australian city to live in, we really knew nothing about the place and struggled to find any meaningful bits of information.

    However your blog/posts proved a great deal of help and provided us with an insight and also in many ways helped to prepare us for what to expect…. The shipping of containers, insects, weather, footie (rugby) raiders etc.

    When I came across your blog, I read through about a years worth of your posts in that afternoon, I was so excited I even sent a link to the wife advising her to have a read too.

    A very valuable and enjoyable blog to read ( this is the one and only blog I’ve ever followed ).

    Thanks for the hard work you’ve put into your blog, YNWA

    P.s you were right about winter, it really does hit you in the stomach….. And hurts your bones for good measure too!


    • Thanks Kobi. It’s been lovely having you aboard for the journey. I hope Canberra is being kind to you and the wonderful days outweigh the difficult ones. And yes, things look good for the Raiders right now, and even better for the reds with Klopp in charge. Take care and stay warm. Best, Mark


  2. Like Kobi, yours is the only blog I’ve ever followed—valuable and enjoyable indeed. Although I’ve no desire to move to Australia, you speak to all of us who have made the decision to uproot home and family to embark on such an adventure. I could relate to all the ups and downs, and found wisdom in how you and your family processed and handled the many unanticipated obstacles one faces as an expat. Best wishes to you all!


    • Thanks Sporty Girl. It’s a strange thing to wish such upheaval on yourself isn’t it? But we learn a lot about ourselves in the process of learning to call a new place home. Thanks for your company and good wishes along the way xx


  3. Pat cooper says:

    It’s been great to follow the trials and tribulations of the CBR bound family and I will miss my regular updates


  4. I’m sorry to hear you’re finishing this Mark. I’ver really enjoyed sharing your journey with you. Though you probably wouldn’t know it by how late this comment is. I was on the road the second half of July, then came back for a week or so, and had to go back to Sydney for family business. It’s been go go go, and my blog reading fell off the perch. I wish you and your family all the best for your continued living in Canberra, and do hope you give us the occasional update!


  5. Thanks for the time and effort you made to share your thoughts and experiences with us. Both the missus and myself have enjoyed your writing. We’re a bit late to the party but anyway, the information is still valid and we’ve taken note of all the weird, nice, exciting and sometimes depressing things you encounter after migrating.

    We are on our own journey and we will arrive in Canberra mid-January ’17. Looking forward to the big skies, the Roos, discovering the City, camping in the bush and the sunny weather (I know it can be cold but finally we will get rid of those long grey winter days of ours)

    I am not looking forward to crappy internet, crappy houses and crappy heating (and all expensive too…) But you can’t have it all 😉

    If you’re interested you can follow our adventure on


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by. I’ll definitely take a look at your own blog to see how things work out. In the meantime, the very best of luck to you. And if you ever want to ask any advice, just drop me a line. Best wishes, Mark

      Liked by 1 person

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