Moving From UK To Australia (again) As A British Expat Update
After a crazy six months back in England, we made the extremely difficult decision and decided that moving from UK to Australia again would be the best option for us. This meant that I yet again was about to become a British expat in Australia.
Find out what I’ve learnt since we moved back to Australia from UK.
I can’t believe it was only a week ago when we were on a 40 hour journey, moving from UK to Australia again! It feels like ages ago since we left Mexico and dare I say we’ve had zero jet lag as well!
Table of Contents
Where have we been?
To recap, we left Australia on 4 January 2018 and had a trip of a lifetime traveling around 15 countries in 13 months.
During our trip we also decided to move to England. Originally we decided to stay for a couple of years but as time went on we realised things weren’t working out; the job, the living situation… everything!
In the time we’ve been away from Aus, we’ve learnt a lot about what we want and don’t want in life.
Why we’ve moved back to Australia
Personally I think living in London was amazing in my twenties. If you’re ambitious and want an excellent career, then London is the city to live in. I couldn’t believe the amount of global companies hiring when we went back there after living in Sydney.
London also has a brilliant pub culture and an abundance of things going on all the time.
So, what random things have we noticed in the short week we’ve been back in Australia? We’ve slotted right back into life and it feels like our final trip to Mexico was ages ago.
I’m so glad we got ourselves into a routine during the last few weeks of our trip to Mexico because we’ve been able to continue it on since we got back to Australia. Our day would consist of yoga, breakfast, work, lunch, swim, dinner and Netflix.
As we’re currently staying with Steve’s family in Newcastle (2 hours north of Sydney) we spent the first few days staying in Sydney in an airbnb before we jumped on the train and headed to the smaller beach city of Newcastle.
Here’s some of the immediate things we’ve noticed since we arrived back in Australia just one week ago.
I know most British expats will say that English supermarkets are way better than they are in Australia because there’s so many more to choose from, but for us, we’ve always thought the opposite.
So our first immediate thing we noticed when we came back to Australia is the cheap supermarket chain, ALDI. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but we became ALDI converts a few years back.
After shopping at ALDI a few times, we finally got over the randomness of the supermarket with the sometimes awesome / sometimes bizarre mix of products they sell right in the middle of the store between the food isles. Once we got over this, we became one of those advocates for this store and always tried to persuade non ALDI converts to join the gang.
I’ve always raved about ALDI to my brother in England and although he wasn’t convinced by it, we decided to continue shopping there when we moved back to England for six months.
Now, England might have loads more supermarkets to choose from, but after we shopped at Asda (the cheap supermarket), our food bill became even lower when we shopped at ALDI. Asda was costing us between £80-£100 a week whilst ALDI cost us just £60 a week. It was a no brainer.
But, ALDI in England wasn’t a pleasant experience as were many other stores. Most of the shops always looked trashed with products all over the floors on the aisles, and ALDI was no exception.
Sometimes we’d buy fresh fruit or veg and by the next morning it had mould growing on it. The random sometimes awesome / sometimes bizarre products were really bad as well. Had we just missed out on the good stuff or was there never any good random products to buy?
When we came back to Australia and did our food shop back at ALDI we were so shocked at how amazing it was, we posted some insta stories and had so many of you send us messages about how you love this supermarket too.
We couldn’t believe how amazing and fresh the veggies and fruit looked (and massive too). Finally we could see proper fresh food again and we were literally like kids in a toy shop.
The veggie and vegan products are also brilliant, finally veggie burgers with just real food in them, even the coconut milk was literally just coconut milk instead of the % of stabilisers and god knows what which they sell in England.
The random products are also much better quality and had things like a keyboard, guitar, a chest of drawers and other random things I thought we *obviously needed* and would probably actually buy. The main point is, these items actually looked like quality.
Also, the store was quiet and really clean. Finally, back to an amazing supermarket in Australia!
Now you might wonder how much we paid because we all know Australian supermarkets aren’t cheap. Turns out we paid £109 for that shop which is nearly double to what we’re used to, but we actually bought more, and for the quality, I wasn’t bothered at all.
2. Where are all the people in Sydney?
We honestly couldn’t believe how quiet Sydney is when we arrived, from the lack of people to generally quiet streets and roads. As the biggest city in Australia, we were pleasantly surprised.
We really loved that we were seeing Sydney with fresh eyes. There is this calmness and quietness in the air, we were so surprised by this and wondered why on earth we even considered living in England.
Most of all, it just felt easy in Sydney. Maybe it’s because we’ve been traveling to new countries, but it just felt like this really easy city to live in. No dramas, no aggressive people in sight, just a nice, quiet and beautiful city.
Steve’s mum came and met us at the airport and as she lives in Newcastle she finds Sydney too hectic. It’s amazing how we adapt to living in certain places and then have a surprise when we go somewhere bigger or smaller.
3. Getting confused with things in England vs Australia
When we got to Australia, I was thinking about how we could pop to Pret to get something to eat and then I had to remind myself Pret doesn’t exist in Sydney. In the first few days, I kept saying we should pop over to Tesco Metro to get a few things and I had to remind myself again it’s Woolies, not Tesco.
Also with paywave / contactless, in England you can use contactless on your bank card up to £30 whilst in Australia it’s $100. I asked a few waitresses if that was right thinking to myself I was sure it was less when we were last here. $100 seems a lot.
4. Things being on the *wrong* side
Why is there this sort of universal thing around the world and then one country changes it? Whether it’s driving on the wrong side or working in miles instead of KM or whatever, we’ve found two things that have confused us to no end:
Indicators – every time I go between England and Australia I get the indicators mixed up. Back in Australia we’re trying to turn right and up comes the windscreen wipers. WHY??!!
What side do you stand on the escalators? This one totally confuses me when I switch between London and Sydney. And then I see angry looking people (especially in London) trying to shoo me out of the way. MUST STAND ON THE LEFT IN AUSTRALIA!
5. What the actual is going on with TV in Australia?
So we made a deal with ourselves that we wouldn’t watch any TV in Australia because it is so bad, only Netflix it would be.
I remember how angry both Steve and I would become over watching terrible TV but now we’re staying with Steve’s family, we don’t get a lot of choice. So it’s I’m a Celebrity blaring out of the TV most nights at the moment. What baffles us is how terrible the presenters, the styling, the scripts and so on are. It’s literally like watching caricatures of people at their worst.
So as minor things as it is, this is something that we can just avoid so we can enjoy all the best parts of living in Australia.
6. Bye bye passive aggression
If there’s one thing I really wasn’t a fan of in England it’s the obvious passive aggression that seems to be in the air all the time. English people seem to be angry a lot. This might have been to do with the fact that I lived in the most populated part of England in the South East. The amount of fights I saw every single day between strangers, business men and so on was unbelievable.
I remember when it was summer, England’s hottest summer on record and I said to Steve “this is the happiest you’re going to see people here” and he was shocked because they didn’t look happy, and it wasn’t because it was too hot.
But I must say, I salut English people for their patience. I have never seen anyone in a Western country with more patience than I have done in England and I’m talking about with the terrible public transport.
I was always so shocked at how people put up with the trains, the delays and short carriages that you’re so squashed, standing up for 2 hours to get home on your £500 monthly train ticket each day isn’t fun at all.
Now we’re back in Australia, we can finally say bye bye passive aggression because people generally look happy… and healthy… and don’t look like they want a fight at 7am.
The only thing I have to remember is Australians have a lot of patience with Australian Post. Ordering anything from the same city can easily take a week to arrive here. I’ll miss that I could order anything from the internet in England and it arrive within 1-2 days.
7. Hello happy people
As soon as we landed in Australia both Steve and I instantly wanted to get fit and healthy. Maybe it’s got something to do with the weather but there’s just something in the air here.
In the mornings we’re by the ocean going for a run at 7am and it’s packed full of people. You’ll see everyone congregate at the beach first thing in the morning.
Even when it was hot in England during the summer (it got really hot that I wrote this post about it), I still couldn’t get out of bed before 9am. Even 8am was a struggle pre-working in London. But in Australia, I seem to wake up early everyday and am out and about enjoying what the country does best, the beach.
Most of all, people generally seem happy here in Australia and we’ve had a fair few random people say good morning to us. We are in Newcastle rather than Sydney so one imagines people to be friendlier when away from the major cities but nonetheless, it’s something that has definitely surprised Steve more than anything.
8. Accepting what Australia is all about
As I mentioned before, we realised that we just wanted to live a simple life with the beach and nature around us, rather than living in an overpopulated country. I became way to claustrophobic in England and didn’t cope well with the lack of space. Even if we went for a country walk, there were always a lot of people around.
Now we’re back in Australia, we’re absolutely loving the access to the most beautiful beaches and space. It always blows my mind that as soon as you leave Sydney, there’s just so much space for miles and miles. You can go on a hike, find a wild swimming spot or a beach right near Sydney and there won’t be another soul in sight. To me, this is perfect.
Although these aspects are brilliant about living back in Australia, I’m having to accept that we won’t have the world’s best shows, gigs, events, festivals or art exhibitions on tap anymore.
I know I’m going to miss the pubs in England, but more on a social aspect. I loved going to the pub in summer in England, not because I could get a decent Pimms & Lemonade or a decent cider, but because it’s like a social event. Everyone chats to each other and I loved standing outside the pub and taking in the atmosphere. This is something I just have to accept which doesn’t happen in Sydney, but I’m OK with that right now.
9. Why can’t people drive properly?
We always knew that people are rubbish drivers in Sydney but it’s been a bit of a shock remembering that no one is going to let us into the road, that people will overtake when they really shouldn’t and they’ll will drive right up behind the back of your car without giving you any space. Let’s not get into the whole slow, middle and fast lane chat because we all know they don’t matter in Australia.
At least Australian drivers don’t speed like they do in England. Although they might be mental drivers, I didn’t see many crashes on the road. In England we saw so many when driving down the motorway, it was kinda scary.
10. Australia has best food in the world!
I read another blog that mentioned how they missed being able to find any cuisine in London because there’s a lack of diversity in Australia. But I can honestly say that so far eating out in Australia is the same cost if not less than eating out in England and it’s a hundred times better.
There might not be every cuisine on offer in Australia but at least we have some bloomin’ amazing Asian food. I remember paying £45 for a packet sauce Thai meal for two at a restaurant in Brighton and couldn’t believe how terrible it was. Now we have the best asian food on tap. Steve even reckons the Thai and Vietnamese food is better here in Australia than in their own countries!
11. The humidity and sea temps
When we arrived in Sydney after spending the last month in Mexico, we couldn’t believe how humid it was. The lack of air at night time has been difficult to cope with.
How can housing not be set up properly in Australia? After spending time in Mexico, everywhere we stayed had ceiling fans but not from what I’ve seen here. It feels like we’re just boiling hot in summer and freezing in winter due to the lack of insulation and zero double glazed windows.
When we went for our first swim yesterday, we were surprised to see how cold the water is. Maybe we were just used to the water in Mexico but it’s pretty cold here. I must remember that the water doesn’t really heat up until March. Maybe I’m wrong but we will find out in due course.
12. How did my accent change already?
I can’t believe we’ve been back just a week and my accent has already changed. What the actual??? To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of hearing Brits with Australian accents. It always seems so forced. I’ve always tried to maintain my accent and when we were in England I got all cockney within no time.
As soon as we landed back in Australia, I ordered a cup of tea in the most polite English accent “May I have a cup of peppermint tea please”. I even felt like a tourist ordering it. Within one week of being around Steve’s family I’m already pulling out the ‘on ya mate’ (OK I lie, but near to). How did my proper British accent get muddled so quickly?
13. Realising that we’re now home
It’s been an amazing experience traveling the world again with Steve this year and to have been lucky to live back in England as well. As soon as we arrived back in Australia, we both knew instantly that we’re now home.
Here’s to more updates about our journey back in Australia and to sharing more amazing places to visit around Sydney and the rest of the country!