It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been a British expat, I STILL get homesick in Australia.
Also, with the current time of the year being December, I know it’s not an easy time for a lot of British expats in Australia.
I’ve realised I get homesick mainly twice a year – always at Christmas and during the UK Summertime. This is because I think about certain moments in time and probably because these times of the year tend to be when England’s at its best.
I remember walking around London during Christmas, soaking up the Christmas vibes and going to many parties and having fun. I also miss the UK Summer light which reminds me more so of times growing up, loving how long those school Summer holidays seemed to last.
Missing an English pub at Christmas time is a given!
So how do I combat these moments of homesickness? I know it always makes me question the following; what am I doing? Why am I living in Australia? And is it really the right thing to do? And I can tell you these thoughts never go away when I’m feeling homesick.
For some people, homesickness can’t be cured with a video chat, and it can make things worse. Also for many, the worst thing about moving so far away is the guilt of being away from your loved ones.
It’s also the small things we miss such as popping over for a cuppa or just generally having the emotional support you can’t get from new people in your life.
I was really lucky to be able to take those rose tinted glasses off and realise that not only were things not as I remembered them to be in England, more than anything I realised I had changed a lot since I moved to Australia. This still doesn’t take that homesickness feeling away even though I know what country I should be living in now.
I’ve also written about what it’s really like when you become an expat in Australia so hopefully it may help people understand the reality of what it will be like before making the leap over here. There’s much more to being an expat than you’ll ever know until you do it.
I know many of you email us to say how much you miss your old life back home so this post is to hopefully help you in some way know that being homesick is something every expat goes through and that you’re not alone.
Here’s some of my thoughts about how I deal with homesickness in Australia and how I get over it for anyone else who’s also in the same boat.
1. How to deal with Christmas
I’m jumping right in there with Christmas because let’s face it, Christmas is Australia is just plain weird (and I’m writing this post a few weeks before the big day). No matter how long I’ve been living in Australia, it will NEVER be the same (you can read more about my thoughts on it here).
Christmas in Sydney in 2017.
When I spent my first Christmas back in England last year, it honestly felt like my first Christmas since I left years ago. I said on that day I would go back to England every single Christmas, yet I’ve already broken that deal I made with myself because of money and all. Rather than beat myself up about it, I’ll just plan for future Christmases going forward.
You know why Christmas in Australia will never feel right? It’s the weather, the coldness, the fact that you have a good two months worth in the lead up of non stop Christmas ads on tele (whether that’s a good thing or bad thing), Christmas tunes in the shops and on the radio, and a Christmas vibe that’s like no other.
Christmas in London 2018. Everyone stands outside the pub no matter how cold it is.
Christmas in England is literally about donning your best Christmas jumper and having a laugh with your loved ones. The pubs are always packed with people and completely covered in Christmas decs that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.
There’s such a buzz in the air that it will never compare with wearing flip flops, shorts & tshirt. It just doesn’t make sense.
What I do to combat Christmas
Christmas in Sydney 2017.
I’ll tell you what, this year must be THE first year ever I felt slightly Christmassy in Sydney. It’s because I went to the turning on the lights at Martin Place in Sydney which was brilliant.
Martin Place Sydney turning on the lights display.
They had loads of stages set up with musicians belting out the Christmas classics, even carol singers on every corner, loads of people dressed up as random Christmas things like presents, and a Christmas market selling random non Christmassy things like ICE CREAM (I say that in caps because you’ll know what I mean ;)).
Pitt Street Mall, Sydney Christmas decs 2019.
But it was brilliant – honestly if you’re missing Christmas go to the turning on the lights in Martin Place in Sydney next year!
I basically watch a load of Christmas movies – Love Actually and The Holiday are my standard English movies to get me by. Oh and if I can find it – my favourite childhood movie was Santa Claus The Movie with Dudley Moore. Such a classic.
This year I went to see Last Christmas at the cinema and nearly cried at the thought that it would have been filmed when I was in London last year.
But what I did remember is that what you see in the movies isn’t quite what it’s like in real life. They don’t show you the hoards of people trying to get on the tube, especially at Christmas time.
I took this image last Christmas whilst thousands of people were trying to get onto the tube platforms in London. Not quite as magical as it looks in the movies is it?
A typical Aussie Christmas lunch consists of seafood and salads.
Also, how do you deal with Christmas lunch? I find myself always stepping in with Steve’s family every year, explaining that no, I can’t have a salad for Christmas lunch. I end up cooking the whole thing. But that’s OK, even if it is 30C. Gotta keep those standards and all.
My brother has THE best Christmas tree I’ve ever seen.
I will get around to one day actually covering my whole place in Christmas decs because, why not? Is it me or do Aussie’s put their Christmas decs up late? And there’s no taking them down on 6 January like they do in UK. I have seen decs up til like March over here. Random I know.
Make New Traditions
Image via Pinterest
We’ve got a Christmas tradition when we visit Steve’s family over Christmas in Newcastle NSW which helps a lot. We always go cruising around the streets to find the best Christmas lights outside of people’s homes. Do this, it will make you feel better just for the sense of starting a new tradition and holding a new familiarity.
Other ways to start new Christmas traditions is to do something that helps others. Go and volunteer at a shelter, it will make you feel way better about Christmas for sure.
Think About New Year
To be honest, the lead up to Christmas might not be great but it’s New Year and January which are absolutely brilliant in Sydney.
I don’t think you’ll get a better New Years Eve anywhere in the world than in Sydney. The biggest fireworks show in the world is undoubtably the best. If you watch it on TV, I apologise to you now that the choice of music with the fireworks is DIABOLICAL. Simply play your own music whilst watching them to get over this technical glitch.
January is amazing in Sydney and to be honest, if I was in England during January, I can guarantee I’d be thinking about Australia. There’s no miserable people in sight complaining about the cold long Winter months and you certainly won’t be homesick in Australia during this time. People continue partying in Sydney throughout January. So party away.
If these tips don’t help
Get yourself a cheap flight back to England for Christmas here. You can literally buy a return for $1000 these days! I’d personally go in December and come back to Sydney for New Years Eve.
2. Dealing with Winter in Australia when it’s Summer in England
Back in England during Summer in 2018.
So like I mentioned before, the only other consistent time I get homesick in Australia is during the UK Summertime.
I scroll through my Instagram feed and see everyone in lovely dresses, going to festivals and of course enjoying the late Summer light. And there’s us freezing cold indoors (let’s face it, it’s colder inside than out in Australia during Winter right?) wishing we were back in blighty.
I find the only way to get through this time is to literally compare the weather on my phone and remind myself it’s technically the same temperature in English Summer as it is in Aussie Winter.
To be honest, when I went back to England this Summer, whilst it was lovely, I think I miss it more than I actually do.
The only way to truely combat the UK Summer blues is to book yourself that cheap flight back from here.
3. How to Deal with Missing Friends & Family
I’ve learnt to go back to England more frequently now.
To be honest, like I said in this post – my school friend who lives in Sydney told me recently, there’s nothing like old friends. Whilst she’s completely right, I’ve found there’s no point in comparing people from back home to my new life.
I always miss my friends loads. I miss having a laugh and probably more than anything, I know I can be completely myself around them.
Whilst there will always be a bit of a lost in translation with Aussies for me (in terms of them getting my personality), it’s something I’ve learnt to accept with my life here. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in but that’s OK because I think I’ll always be British. I still have a strong British accent and still dress like I’m in England, but that’s who I am.
Brits do tend to gravitate towards Brits in Australia and I am guilty of this. I don’t know why, it’s like we just get each other straight away.
How to combat missing friends & family
Back in Brighton, UK in 2019
Since I went back to visit England recently, I am more in touch with my friends now than I was for the last god knows how many years. We used to only get in touch when I went back and we’d have fun for a night or two, and that was it. Now I talk on Whatsapp on a weekly basis.
I find this very grounding and makes me feel that we’re not that far away. Although I can’t just pop round to their home, I found I have much better quality time with them when I visit for a few weeks than I did when I lived there, because life got in the way.
Start planning the things you want to do together when you next visit, or better yet, get them to come and visit you which will definitely help with feeling homesick in Australia.
It becomes even harder when you miss life events like weddings, children being born etc but if it means a lot to you, go back for a visit when you can. I know I definitely regret missing out on friends weddings I should have been there for.
Making friends can be difficult when you move to Australia but you just need to give it time. It will happen.
4. Missing English food
There is plenty of British foods I miss like M&S (obvs) or the massive variety of supermarkets, and of course Pret, Eat and obviously English chocolate.
I find the best way to combat it is to raid the International aisles at Coles and Aldi. Although chocolate won’t ever taste the same, we have to make the best we can. Alternatively, just order a British hamper of all of your favourite foods!
The good thing is, when you go back to visit, you’ll find the smallest things such a novelty. Even seeing English money again for the first time in ages becomes a novelty (well it always does for me!).
5. British Pubs
Missing a British pub is standard in England!
I think every British expat in Australia misses a decent pub. Understandably an Aussie pub will never compare because it won’t have the character or heritage of a British pub. I think one of the things I miss most is a decent beer garden or better yet, being able to stand outside of the pub. I miss this the most.
But you can stand outside of The Lord Dudley in Sydney. If you’ve not been yet, get yourself over to there now because it’s the best British pub in Sydney.
The Lord Dudley in Woollahra is about as close to a British pub in Sydney.
We also love The Duke Of Clarence which was originally a pub in England. They literally shipped it over to Australia and rebuilt it in Sydney. Doesn’t get much better right? Squint and you could be home, a good cure for feeling homesick in Australia.
Also, The Oaks in Neutral Bay is a good substitute for a pub with a decent beer garden. It is also covered in fairy lights and feels like Christmas, no matter what time of year you’re there.
6. And if you want to go home, don’t feel bad about it.
I think a huge thing to remember is if you feel like life in Australia hasn’t matched up to what you thought it was going to be, don’t feel like you’re a failure for wanting to leave.
Maybe you had the big send off and you thought that you were going to live in Australia for the rest of your life. Now you’re feeling like a prized idiot for wanting to go home and wonder what others might think?
To be honest, there’s not many people out there who actually have the balls to do what you’ve done. To make a decision to move your life is huge and you need to feel proud of the fact that you gave it a go. Because if you didn’t give it a go, you’d be sat back home always wondering what life would have been like in Australia.
I remember when we had planned to move to Vietnam after a year long travelling trip around the world in 2013. We knew as soon as we landed in Ho Chi Minh that it was a big mistake. We lasted a week before we came back to Australia. I’m glad we didn’t waste anymore time there because not long after we came back to Australia, this blog was born.
Only you know what’s the best decision for you and hopefully we can help you know that you’re not alone with feeling homesick.
7. Try to remember why you moved to Australia
When you’re having bouts of feeling homesick in Australia, try to remember why you moved here in the first place. Maybe you moved to be with a loved one, maybe it was because you were sick of the English weather, or maybe you wanted a better life for your kids. Whatever it is, know that there was a reason why you moved your life to Australia.
Maybe things have changed for you since then, maybe you’re just a bit bored with Aussie life and miss the buzz of being back home with loved ones. Whatever it is, try and take a step back and think about what it is you’re actually missing and how you can make things better.
I can only say from experience that because I was able to move back to England for six months last year, but it made me totally realise how much I had changed and that my life is so much better in Australia. To have the space, nature, weather and beach on hand is worth so much more to me than ever.
I’ll definitely miss a lot of things about England (I even wrote a post about it here) but I know I can get a fix when I go back to visit which definitely helps when feeling homesick in Australia. If you’re not as lucky to go back for visits, then I hope you manage to find some peace with feeling homesick.
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