What It Was Like To Visit England Since I Moved Back To Australia
Here’s a new update about what happened when I took my first visit back from Australia to England since I left in 2018. This time round, after living back in Australia for eight months, I spontaneously went back to England for a recent visit.
Find out how I felt going back to England and whether I came back to Australia yet again wanting to move back home.
If you follow my gut health posts, find out how I got on in England with what foods I could eat here.
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Table of Contents
I have indeed become a ping pong pom
As you might already know, I’ve become one of those ping pong poms. It’s a term used for Brits who don’t know whether they should live in Australia or England and hence move to Australia, then move back to England, only to move back to Australia again and probably back again.
It’s a confusing process and one that if I could advise anyone thinking of moving to Australia, I’d say to them just think about it long and hard because most people end up having guilt about being away from family and actually never feel they can actually settle in either country once they go down this road.
Most people assume living in Australia will bring them sunshine all year round and think that would obviously equate to feeling like they’re on holiday all year round. What you probably won’t realise is that Australia can feel like a very isolating country being so far away from everywhere else. You’ll miss your family and friends A LOT because although we speak the same language, there’s not much else that is similar between the two countries.
Why I moved from England to Australia
When I moved to Australia, it wasn’t planned. I was only supposed to be travelling for six months and now it’s 2019… so it’s been a while thanks to meeting Stevo early on in the trip in India.
In 2018 we ended up moving to England on a whim during our travels but nothing seemed to align for us and I ended up having a miserable time (you can read about it here.) After six months, we decided to jack it in and move from England back to Australia. This was huge for me. I wanted to live in England with Stevo for a while and what was a dream come true, woke me up to realise that I had actually changed a lot in those seven years and that England wasn’t for me anymore.
So we moved back to Australia in February 2019 and had a great seven months of feeling like I wasn’t longing for England anymore. During that time I didn’t think about England much because well, it wasn’t one of my fondest memories. I did the usual British thing by blocking it out of my memory.
My first visit back from Australia to England
But, in July when I found out my best mate needed some support, without thinking I knew I needed to go back and see her. After spontaneously deciding on it, it dawned on me that I would need to go back and face any fears of that time I had in England. I decided to man up and embrace it because well, not only did I need to, I didn’t want to put it off from visiting England again.
On the flip side, I was also concerned whether I’d come back to Australia wanting to yet again move back to England.
So what realisations did I have when I went back to England? There were a few things that stood out for me this time I visited. Just to be clear, I’ve visited England a hand full of times (if that) since I left in 2011. Every time I’ve visited, somethings have felt the same, others have felt different.
Here’s what I learnt since I visited England from Australia in 2019 and what I learnt when I landed back in Sydney after the trip.
English people handle the heat much better than they think.
I was the only person on the tube with a fan and it was really hot.
Since I moved to Australia, I’ve realised I depend on aircon a lot. One of the first things I noticed in England is that it is stuffy everywhere. The lack of oxygen and pollution is so apparent that I realised English people need to give themselves way more credit than they think.
Most people tell me they couldn’t visit Australia because it would be too hot, yet I’m the only one on the tube with my fan out whilst everyone just deals with it. I’m the only one at my mates house who has to sleep downstairs because it’s just too hot upstairs. I’m the only one in the car asking for the aircon on when it’s 21C outside. And I’m the only one at my brothers house who’s desperate for the window to be open.
I realised that English people just deal with the heat without a fan and without aircon. I on the other hand couldn’t.
No wonder when Aussie’s laugh at the English heatwaves being 24C+ because 24C in England is way way hotter. This is why I wrote this post last year about the heat wave in England here. How anyone dealt with the 40C this year is beyond me.
When I returned to Sydney, it was an unusual and beautiful 25C in August. I was wearing the same clothes I did a few days earlier in England when it was 18C. As I’ve always said, the temperature just isn’t the same.
I have a weird thing about fashion in England
The vintage shops are just too good in England to pass up.
It’s a weird one. Whilst growing up and living in London I had a big thing about fashion. I loved buying a new outfit for my Friday night out, loved shopping every weekend and everything else to do with it.
In Australia I don’t shop at all. Like ever. I’ll pop into Zara, H&M and Topshop in Sydney and I’ll always think to myself, do I actually need this? And I’ll walk out with nothing. I never feel inspired there at all but I know that ultimately that I can save way more money and not buy into consumerism as much in Australia.
And when I visit England, I always think to myself, don’t go on mad shopping sprees, but yet something changes within me. It’s hard to describe but it feels like women have more of a thing about fashion in England, like more respect for other women. I get asked a lot where I got my clothes from and I ask the same in England. In Sydney, I don’t I’ve witnessed think that sort of communication.
Shopping at Topshop in Oxford Circus London is a whole other level to the Sydney Topshop.
Stock is updated daily in the shops and although there’s an obvious sense of mass consumerism in England, I decided in the end that my shopping spree meant I wouldn’t need to buy anything else until my next trip to England.
I’ve noticed people make a real effort to be themselves in England, probably more so in bigger cities but there’s a sense to stand out, to be unique. I find this is just not on the radar in Sydney at all. I saw a dude dressed up as a pirate in Brighton a few days ago, not because he was in fancy dress, but because that was his style. I saw another guy wearing yellow tights and a denim mini skirt. He got a few looks but people just continue on. I thought that was kinda cool, like no one cares, there’s no judging at all.
As soon as I got back to Sydney, my excitement for fashion ended and I wondered why did I buy those clothes for? It’s a proper weird one that’s hard to explain but maybe some of you might get it…
People really are everywhere in England
At a vintage car show in Shropshire.
I know I’ve said it before but people are literally everywhere in England. When I stayed with my friend in the countryside in Shropshire, she wanted to go to a vintage car show in the area. When we arrived, I was so shocked at how many cars were parked up, I couldn’t believe it. We were in the middle of nowhere yet it felt like we had literally gone to a festival.
Waiting for the train at Sydney airport.
Interestingly, when I arrived back in Australia, I was yet again shocked at the lack of people around. When I went to get the train from the airport, it was literally dead. I don’t know why it always surprises me but this is one of the things I do love about Australia. After living in England in 2018, I found it too busy which is one of the reasons why we moved back to Australia.
Eating out really isn’t cheap at all
Although I know a Brit loves a cost comparison of things in Australia vs England (read this post I wrote here), I’ve noticed how expensive it is to eat out in England. It cost me $50 for bangers & mash and two glasses of wine in a pub in England. I doubt I’d have to pay that for the same in Australia. This is just an example but it was the same in most of the pubs or places I ate at.
All of this cost me just £5 from the local market in Shropshire.
On the other hand supermarkets are obviously much cheaper. We did our first shop last night in Australia and I was yet again shocked at the prices. In England I bought a load of strawberries and rasberries for next to nothing at just £5 and yet when looking at the prices at Coles, we were looking at nearly $7 for one punnet of rasberries. Mental.
There’s no way I could lead a healthy life in England
Just putting it out there but I’d find it so hard to lead a healthy life in England. I remember in one of my posts when we first moved back to England I said that I wanted to stay healthy but it really is just too hard. There’s a massive drinking culture or at least a culture that revolves around the pub, it’s too easy to pop into Sainsbury’s and pick up a pizza or chocolate croissant, or pick up a sandwich at Pret, and there’s no sort of internal pressure to think I need to be out exercising.
In Australia maybe it’s because the sun is shining most of the time, it makes me want to lead a healthier and happier life. I rarely drink at all in Aus (mainly because of my gut problems) and I choose to eat much better which is probably because there’s not as many ready meals around.
Australia also makes me want to be the best version of myself. It’s a weird one but something I’ve definitely noticed more and more.
The weather changes massively in England
One thing that I had completely forgotten about in England is the weather. Over the course of the day, it would go from being sunny to raining constantly. I don’t know how I’d forgotten this but it’s something I noticed. The weather apps and weatherman on TV constantly got it wrong as well.
But I do love the late summer light in England. It’s something that I’ve always missed a lot. That soft summer light is just magical and there’s no better feeling than going out for an evening summer walk.
Although there have been some crazy heatwaves it was mostly grey the whole time I was back in England in August. Even my friends would say what a nice day it was but all I could see was a cloudy day with a bit of sunlight coming through. It made me wonder how most English people must get that one week holiday to somewhere in Europe being their only week of the year of Summer. To me, I couldn’t deal with that after living in Australia.
When I arrived back in Aus, the first thing I noticed was how bright it was and how blue the sky was. This is something I had missed and was grateful to see again.
Why can’t we just have English TV in Australia?
Although English people might complain about TV, it ALWAYS surprises me when I return to Australia and watch TV here. This time round I’ve kept mentioning how it honestly feels like we’re back in the 1980’s.
From the programming to the ads, it’s so very dated. After I asked how to get English TV in Australia on the Poms In Oz Facebook page, I’ve found out that a Wonder Box might well be my key to getting all of the English TV channels over here.
I’ll keep you updated about this one as I’m sure many Brits reading this post might be want to know how to get English TV in Australia too.
I felt sorry for people in London
Something I noticed as soon as I arrived into London was how miserable people looked. I mean people looked ill there and all I could think of was how with it being Summer, this is usually the happiest time of the year. I often look at people in London and think if they lived in Australia, how much happier and healthier they would look. I always think this is a good sign for me to be living in Aus.
I also walked around London near to my commute walk to my old job. With this combined with the stress of tube lines being down and how I instantly picked up my pace as you do in London, it was a no brainer that we decided to move back to Australia. To be honest, I don’t know how I actually coped with the often 3 hour commute to work and to try to stay happy in the meantime.
Whilst on the flip side I would see women walking down Regent St looking very hip and with the London attitude, I felt a bit envious and wondered what my life would have been like if I had never moved to Australia in the first place. Could I have been that woman with an awesome job, living the London life?
On the other hand I saw young fresh out of Uni people living the London life and I saw myself in them all those years ago, loving every minute of it. At the same time I realised how much I had moved on from that lifestyle and that Australia taught me to love and crave nature, sunshine, hiking, the beach and a healthy lifestyle.
How I felt coming back to Australia
It was a beautiful day at Balmoral Beach when I landed in Sydney!
So I was actually a bit nervous that I’d come back to Australia and be in that awful predicament of not knowing where I should live, that maybe Steve & I would need to move back to England.
One of the first questions Steve’s family asked me was how I felt coming back to Australia. My response was ‘great’. Understandably I think they were relieved.
Truthfully I realised for the first time in the last eight years, I actually felt like I was coming home when I flew into Sydney. Although I love a lot of things about England that I have to accept is obviously not part of the Australian culture, I can live without them and get my fix when I come back for visits.
This is what I learnt…
I know that I need to come back to England more often. Over the years it’s been tricky to come back to England because I was waiting for my Australian visas to saving for our travels around the world. Now we’re back in Australia it should be easier.
I think if you’re struggling with living in England or Australia, make the effort to go back more often if you can. Flights are actually much cheaper than they were a few years ago and I got mine for just over $1000 when booking a couple of weeks before I went from here.
The lightbulb moment
I’ve missed my friends dearly but you know what I learnt? I learnt that I actually spent way more time with my family & friends in these last three weeks than I did living there for six months last year. This is probably one of the most important things I learnt.
When you’re forced to cram everything in within a few weeks, it’s easy to come back to Australia and think that that would be your life all the time in England. The truth is, people are getting on with their lives and you might not see them as much as you thought you would. Trust me, so many of you have emailed us to say this has happened to you when you moved back as well.
To me, I’d much prefer to live in a beautiful place in Australia and go back to visit family & friends and get a valuable few weeks with them than to actually live back there and see them once in a while for a quick weekend.
This post has been written to show just one person’s perspective since moving from England to Australia. I know many people struggle with feeling like they are in a constant limbo of not knowing where to live so hopefully you may find this post reassuring in some way.
I know after this visit to England, I feel way more at home in Australia than I do in England now but it took me to move back to England to work this out.
I’ll keep you updated with more of my thoughts on living back in Australia soon.
If you’re currently in Australia and want to stay for longer, check out this post I wrote in collaboration with AUREC Migration & Mobility that answers many questions about staying in Australia permanently.
How To Avoid Jet Lag
Somehow I’ve managed to get over jetlag this time since coming back from England to Australia. My hairdresser Stevie English recommended his secret which is to take 1 phenergan on the flight. It helped me sleep almost the entire flight. I also went out and had a few drinks on my first night back in Sydney and I somehow got back into the time difference straight away 🙂