Deciding to pack your bags to move to another country is without a doubt going to bring a mix bag of feelings and emotions. Although being brought up in UK, I know I’ve had my share of moaning about the British weather and how miserable it can be but it’s only until once I left that I started to put it all into perspective and I suddenly saw a completely different side to that miserable England I was brought up in.
England in the rain
A good friend of mine decided to make the move to Australia had planned to live over in Sydney for two years. She ended up leaving just a few days ago after living here for six months. Why did she leave? It actually wasn’t really anything to do with Australia itself but more of a personal reason. She did however miss the things you would never have thought anyone would miss about the UK – the cold weather. She found it too hot in sunny Australia and missed central heating and being able to wear her dressing gown for most of a weekend. In reality, she was living in Sydney in the summer and had to have the air-con on all the time to cope with the extreme humidity. She also missed the British sense of humor because I can definitely vouch that Australian and British sense of humor is totally different. British are very sarcastic and witty and I find myself being misunderstood some of the time when I think I’m cracking a joke which doesn’t come across well and I’m left being the only one laughing to what I think is funny. So my friend missed the cold weather which is quite ironic because I think the Australian winter is way colder than in UK because Australian’s don’t use any heating so it’s freezing EVERYWHERE. Actually it tends to be warmer outside than indoors because they blast out air-con all year round (bit like the Brit’s blasting out heating year round in the shops!).
Summer in Sydney
I read another blog the other day about a British blogger living in Sydney who missed M&S microwaveable meals. I can actually relate to her honesty in a way because the food cultures between the two countries are so different. In the UK, I think it’s fair to say that we are bombarded with so much choice when it comes to the convenience of what we put in our mouths. It’s all designed for people on the go and with options like Pret, Eat, Pure and every supermarket to corner store selling pre made sandwiches, we have it all at our fingertips. Australia is slightly more health conscious and it’s rare to find any of these options. I know it takes a while to get used to actually cooking a meal from scratch rather than to just poke a fork in the pakaging and bung it in the microwave. I remember when Steve & I went back to London in July 2013 and we spent 6 weeks eating sandwich after sandwich. I couldn’t take anymore after that yet I rarely ever order one over in Sydney. Fresh food in Sydney is amazing and their fresh produce is incredible. It has to be (obviously after the weather) my favourite thing about living in Australia – I absolutely love that it is so switched on with health & wellness. I even met another British blogger living in Sydney who had no idea how to cook when she arrived a few years before. She found it so over whelming with little choice of microwave meals that she had to ring her mum for advice on how to boil an egg (no lie). She started to experiment with food and her creations proved so popular on social media, she is now a full time health and fitness blogger. It’s amazing really!
So what is it that I miss about UK now I’ve been living away for nearly four years? In no particular order I miss (and now appreciate) the following:
- The long summer nights – it gets dark by 8pm at the latest here in summer
- The British pubs – I miss drinking outside
- TV – I think everyone knows Australian TV isn’t the best
- British people – I actually miss the charm of the British people. I think the difference is Australian’s will go out of their way for you in a second if you are a stranger ie help you if you are lost etc which is a rarity in UK but British people I find are more real. They aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves whereas I find some Australian’s stay in work mode and don’t relax like the British do. I think that could purely be just a Sydney thing though. Australian’s however definitely aren’t afraid to speak their mind if something is wrong. The Brits are so reserved that they will always keep quiet whereas the Aussie’s will speak up regardless if they know the person who is doing wrong which I think is brilliant 🙂
- The British Countryside. Ah man, I miss this a lot!!
- I miss fashion in UK obvs, but it’s not a deal breaker as I find my ways to keep up with the trends
- The London Buzz. London has amazing energy and a great buzz which I miss terribly.
- Being able to pop to another city. You start to realise Australia is huge and the only way you’ll get to another big city it by flying. I miss the convenience of being able to drive to another city so easily in UK.
The British Countryside
I was talking to the guys at Really Moving the other day and they sent me this interesting survey they took about Brits moving abroad. They interviewed over 1,000 people and Australia came a close second to USA for countries they’d move to. What I found really interesting is what they’d miss about the UK and this is what they had to say in the Top 13 things UK residents would miss if moving abroad;
Top 13 Things UK Residents Would Miss If Moving Abroad
1.Family and friends (79 per cent) – yes you can’t beat that
2.The NHS (46 per cent) – Australia’s got a cracking health care system, way better than the NHS so you don’t need to worry about that
3.Native language (28 per cent) – Obvs speak the same language so cross that one off your list
4.The sense of humour (24 per cent) – As I said above
5.Food (23 per cent) – Australian food is way better so again cross this one off
6.The BBC (12 per cent) – You can still get your Eastenders and other British shows on Foxtel (Australia’s version to Sky)
7.History/Heritage (10 per cent) – You wont see many old buildings over here but the Aboriginal culture is the oldest in the world. Incredible stuff!
8.Takeaway restaurants (7 per cent) – You’ll still get all of those over here but maybe not as many Chicken shops
9.Weather (7 per cent) – Can’t beat the Australian weather. It may get cold in winter but you’ll rarely see much rain and just bright blue skies year round
10.Sunday shop openings (6 per cent) – Shops are open on a Sunday but you won’t get shop hours the same as in London. The only day shops are open later than 6pm is on a Thursday for late night shopping til 9pm.
11.Newspapers (6 per cent) – The News isn’t the best in Australia. You will however hear News stories about Australia’s Worst Neighbours and how someone had a fight when they were drunk. It might be pointless news but at least it makes you feel pretty damn safe. It has to be the safest country I’ve been to and I’ve visited over 35 countries in my life.
12.Political stability (6 per cent) – Same as above
13.The Royal Family (4 per cent) – Really? If I actually personally knew them then maybe but not enough to return to England.
Would you miss the Queen?
Here’s the interesting thing…
However, almost half (46 per cent) of UK residents are put off the thought of moving abroad by international moving costs. When asked how much they thought it would cost to move to Australia for instance, 64 per cent of UK residents over-estimated the true cost of moving their possessions abroad (between £3,900 and £4,900 for a typical three-bed house); with 12 per cent estimating it would cost over £15,000! That’s mental!! I was talking to a British expat friend the other day and she said that there are storage companies that cater especially for the Brits and charge them a good rate for when they decide Australia isn’t for them and it’s time to move back to England. I asked her why do they charge so little and she said that the majority of Brits that move to Australia and return to the UK end up realising that they do in fact want to move back again to Australia so the storage company charges them little as they know that it probably won’t be the only time they hear from their customers. So people are moving out to Australia, realising that they miss the UK, then move back only to realise that they do infact miss Australia.
For me the top reason’s why I’m living in Australia is for the weather and the healthy lifestyle. I absolutely love these two things let alone living closer to Steve’s family which is lovely and of course the millions of amazing beaches to choose from. All in all I wouldn’t give that up to live in the wind and the rain that England has to offer but never say never and all… Whatever you choose, the best thing to remember is the UK isn’t going anywhere so you’ll never be worse off taking that plunge as you can always go back.
Thanks for reading,
Londoner In Sydney