Trial and error

Gatherings of expats invariably lead to one conversation topic, things you wish you’d done and things you wish you hadn’t.

These aren’t confessions of the stag/hen night variety, but wistful glances back at the process of moving to Australia and learning some lessons of relocation the hard way.

So, for today’s post, 18 months after our move, I’ve put together a list of the best and worst three decisions we’ve made in our journey to a new life down under.

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An Emirates Airbus A380, seen through the glass of an airport departure lounge.

The loneliness of the long distance traveller.

I have just returned to Canberra after the second of my regular working trips to Europe. As a freelancer, one of my biggest concerns about announcing our move to Australia was the reaction of my clients. To calm their nerves about whether the relationship would continue to be workable from Australia, I committed to regular return visits. And, thus far, things seem to be working pretty well.

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A cautionary tale about finding work in Canberra

Researching a move to a new city in a new country is a lengthy and fraught process. The slightest missed detail can have profound consequences for your prospects in your new home.

I’d like to think that we were meticulous about looking into our move to Canberra. Indeed, the only things that have really impacted us have been a misunderstood detail on Mr Pup’s documentation (cost: A few thousand dollars and an extended stay in quarantine) and our decision to hire the Marx Brothers to handle our furniture removal (cost: lots of mess and damage and endless angry phone calls).

Oh, and the small matter of looking into the employment market here.
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The loneliness of the long distance traveller

I don’t quite know what I’ve let myself in for. In a moment of mad enthusiasm, and in a bid to assuage some of their larger doubts, I have committed to my work clients in Europe that I’ll stay visible to them by making working trips to Europe at least three times per year.

When we first announced our move, I felt it was an important thing to do. After all, Australia didn’t just sound like it, it actually, literally was on the other side of the world. “But hey, I’ll still see you every 12 weeks or so,” seemed like the perfect antidote to the initial wave of questions and doubts that followed my revelation. Now, freshly back from the first of these ‘contact trips’, I wonder what I’ve let myself in for.
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A collection of magazine front covers.

Finding work in Canberra

Whenever you make a big change in your life, it’s inevitable that you consider the odds of failure too – of falling flat on your face while others shake their heads and whisper: “I thought that might happen.”

This comes to mind most frequently when friends ask us if we have jobs lined up and waiting for us in Canberra and we say: “No, but we’re starting to look already and hopefully we’ll find something soon after arrival.” At this, they usually raise their eyebrows and the conversation shifts to the Australian weather: “Still, you’ll be arriving in time for summer.” Continue reading