Why I’m Moving Back To Australia After 6 Months In England

In this post I share why I’m moving back to Australia after only 6 months in England. It’s a very honest post and I felt it was right to share with you why I decided to make this decision.

I can’t believe we’ve been back in England for six months. Sometimes I think it’s flown by, but most of the time I think it’s been a long and incredibly hard journey.

To give you some context if you’re new to my blog, I lived in Australia for seven years with my Australian fiancee Steve, left in January 2018 to travel the world and moved back to UK in June 2018.

We’ve now decided to jack it all in and move back to Australia.

Here’s what’s been going on over these last six months.

Be warned, this is probably one of my most personal blog posts I’ve ever written. Please think before you judge on this one as I’m purely writing this to show what my experience has been like for those also thinking about moving back.

Ultimately everyone’s experience will be completely different, but here’s mine for anyone wondering what someone else’s was like.

Did we ever want to live in Australia?

<em>We went back to that same <a href=httpslondonerinsydneycomfinding inner happiness at tushita and meeting the dalai lama>retreat in India<a> where we first met in April 2018<em>

Firstly, living in Australia was never actually a plan, although I did have a feeling I’d end up settling down with an Australian. I left UK in 2011 to travel for six months and randomly met Steve, my Aussie, when I was least expecting it at a meditation retreat in the foothills of the Himalayas in India.

We ended up moving to Sydney and after seven years of living there and doing a few around-the-world trips, we decided to leave in January 2018 to embark on one last world trip before settling down.

Although I appreciated every single day living in Sydney, I always felt like I couldn’t really connect with many people there as my heart was always in England. I missed my friends and my brother and I missed the charm of the people in general. So coming back to live in England for me was an absolute dream and when Steve mentioned we should do it two weeks before we actually made the move, I was incredibly excited.

It’s funny when I look back on some of my other posts about our thoughts on moving back to England, my first being optimistic and my second maybe not so much. Now it’s my third and I can say there’s a few things I’ve not mentioned before.

The first few months back in England

Since we arrived back in England we’ve been struggling with the idea about whether it was the right thing to do. Ultimately a lot of things are much different to how I remembered, who I am now, and what living in England has made me become as a person.

<a href=httpslondonerinsydneycommoving back from australia to uk 4 month update><em>Moving back from Australia to UK 4 month update<em><a>

Things were brilliant the first two months, it was the best summer England had ever seen, people were friendly and we were still in the travelling mode. After the first month, money was running out fast and I had to get a job because Steve was on a six month tourist visa and couldn’t work, so the pressure was on.

Why my job in London broke me

So I landed a fantastic role at a big radio company right in the middle of London which made me feel like I’d hit the jackpot. I couldn’t wait to get back into London life and work right in the middle of it all and to be around fun and creative people again.

<em>I spent most lunchtimes walking around Regent St and Oxford Circus which I loved<em>

Although to be honest, within the first few weeks of starting that role, things rapidly started to change. I had a massive shock when I started to be treated so badly by other colleagues, that I was actually going home with tears rolling down my face.

As a woman in her 30s, I was wondering what on earth was going on and why a company could let people treat each other in a way that I can’t explain it as anything else other than bullying. I quickly realised this wasn’t a job for me

<em>The commute to work started to take its toll fast when faced with scenes like this everyday<em>

The awful 2-3 hour train commute to work and the same back home each day wasn’t helping that I started to burn out fast. But I had decided to live in Brighton which I knew had one of the worst commutes to London, something I thought I could stick out.

Within three weeks of starting that job I didn’t only become one of those miserable people I used to see on the tube (which is one of the reasons I left London in the first place), I was now getting sympathetic looks off other miserable people which made me wonder how miserable I had really become too.

We saw England to be a different country than we remembered

<a href=httpslondonerinsydneycomcost of living comparison between england and australia><em>London vs Sydney living comparison costs<em><a>

Not only was the job bad but both of us were seeing England in a totally different way than we had seen it before. Everything seemed so expensive compared to an average person’s salary, that we both wondered how people manage to live in this country. I even wrote a blog about the price comparison which made me realise that maybe we were better off in Australia.

We also had moved to England thinking we would be able to have some great weekend getaways in Europe but the reality was very different. It would take me most of the weekend to get over the week’s worth of commuting and stress of the job so we didn’t actually do very much at all during the six months.

Although flights are cheap to European destinations, we were so shocked to see how expensive these places actually are to visit, that a weekend a few times a month to a different country seemed less feasible than we originally thought, especially after the shock we had on our trip to Croatia during the Summer.

I also became really claustrophobic and felt like I didn’t have any space to myself at all because not only were we living with our airbnb host but there are so many people in the country, it’s hard to get away from it all at times.

Australia made me fall in love with nature, with the hikes and beaches and I really felt like I needed a life that involved the two. Living in England without a car definitely made it hard to do anything and to feel like I had any space.

On a rare occasion we hired a car for the weekend and managed to actually go and see Durdle Door in Dorset which we loved!

Maybe it was because we were living in a crowded part of England but I definitely felt like there was tension in the air all the time and people seemed to be pretty aggressive. They were unpredictable and I often saw fights or people shouting at each other most days. I never really felt that safe living in Brighton.

I can understand now why some English people last only six months

I heard about my friend’s friend who came back to London and lasted six months because she not only hated the commute to work but also experienced a bullying work environment that she got back on that plane to Sydney.

From what others have told me, it seems that my job wasn’t a one off toxic environment in England. But, I can admit I had some pretty awful jobs in Australia too, just not on a level to what I’ve experienced in England with people being that cut throat.

Another friend has returned back to London from Sydney to be confronted with his extreme fatigue he had before he moved to Australia. His doctor thinks it could all be because of the lack of sunshine for months on end here.

I had another reader contact me who lived in Sydney for five years before returning to England because her family and friends kept telling them how much they missed them. Since they’ve returned, they’ve not seen them as much as they thought they would because ultimately people are getting on with their own lives. They now 100% regret not getting their PR in Australia.

Ultimately… visa issues


Overall, because I have a PR in Australia, we knew we could only spend a few years in England as we’d have to get back before the visa was cancelled (you get 5 years from when it’s granted to be back living in Australia permanently, otherwise the visa gets voided). We also started to think more long term and in reality, given the chance we were lucky to choose between the two countries, ultimately we’d want to bring up a family in Australia.

If I had an amazing job, lived in a part of England I truly loved and saw my friends more than twice in the last six months, then we’d 100% want to give it a go. I know six months isn’t long enough to settle at all and that I could have changed my situation in a few months time with a new job and I could have cut out that commute, but unfortunately this time it didn’t work out for us.

We felt it all wasn’t worth us being apart for at least 4 months whilst Steve went back to Aus in the new year and waited for his spouse visa to come through.

When we decided to move back, we were in Cuba at the time and didn’t have a lot of access to the internet. We thought the visa process might be similar to the defacto visa I applied for in Australia where I could go in on a tourist visa and then apply. In England it doesn’t work like this.

We actually found it almost impossible to speak with anyone from immigration in England because the information they gave us differed every single time we spoke to them, (and you have to pay like £1.50 a minute to call them) so we found a migration agent who told us what we’d actually have to do.

Just to be clear, the situation we were faced with was; Steve had six months on a tourist visa with no permission to work. We decided I would try to get a job to help support us both whilst we figured out if we wanted to go ahead and stay.

After six months, Steve would then have to return to Australia to apply for the spouse visa (you can only apply in your home country). We would also need six months of work payslips from me for the application, and seeing as I got a job two months into us moving back, Steve would have to wait an extra two months in Australia for the final payslips to come through before he could send off the application.

It would then take at least another two months for the application to be approved. This means he would have left England on Boxing Day and wouldn’t be returning until at least April, maybe May time. With my awful work situation, we didn’t know if it was really worth going through all of this, knowing that we would be returning to Australia in a couple of years time.

If you’re in a Aussie / English relationship and thinking of moving over, I’m going to write about the visa process on this blog very soon.

I’m glad I moved back to England

<em>One of our happier moments in the beautiful <a href=httpslondonerinsydneycom9 reasons why i was wrong about yorkshire>Yorkshire<a> during the Summer<em>

I was devastated it didn’t work out for us in England this time, but I’m not surprised really when I look at the factors I was faced with. I think if you’re moving back to England, make sure you pick the city wisely that’s close to friends or family and a city that you’ll like. I’ve read on similar related Facebook groups that a lot of people recommend moving to somewhere new when coming back because these places change but more importantly so do you.

I will miss a lot of things about England but I hope I can move back to Australia and actually settle there now rather than wonder what life would be like back home. We’ve definitely learnt a lot with this experience about what we want and don’t want and I think if we were to make the move again, we won’t be doing it on a whim next time and will plan everything much better.

I’ll be making sure I visit England much more rather than once every few years, but given the opportunity, I feel Australia has much more to offer for our future. I will definitely miss the buzz of London, the countryside and of course a good Sunday roast and a cream tea!

For now, we’re off to travel a bit more on our way back to Australia. Here comes Georgia, Spain and Mexico as we spend some time planning out our future. As a generally positive person, I can’t wait to get back to living life to the full again.

In the meantime, you’ll see loads more blogs coming your way about living in England, more things to do in Australia and more about our trip around the world this year!

Moving Back To Australia From England


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  1. Annie, I am a Poz. I am loyal to both my countries, the UK for a brilliant education, Oz for the opportunities to use it. During my working life I took holidays ‘home’ but now I am retired I have a different solution. I have bought a tiny, cheap retirement flat and I visit UK for the milder season to avoid the NSW winter. I am close to the international ports and airports, and can take trips and cruises. I don’t have to pay out for those overpriced accommodations in the UK. I have eaten into my retirement fund but hey ho to that. I agree with your observations entirely but I need my annual fix of green, of pork pies and sossies, of proper Marmite. I love the many local theatres and parks of spring flowers. I guess I have been fortunate (until the money runs out).

  2. Hi there! Im also living in Oz ..still waiting for my PR visa to come through..its been nearly 3 years already..and Im getting fed up. My husband is English like me..but hes lived in Oz for 50 years and is a PR. However..he just retired and all we want to go home. But how to start… we need visas..I mean weve both still got a current English passport..and Ive been here 4 years now. Im wondering if i should continue to let my visa come through….or whether to cancel..?

    1. I’d personally wait until you get your PR. Then you’ll be able to leave for up to 5 years so you can go home and see if you want to stay permanently.

  3. Yes.. decided to let it keep going..because i can be in UK if it comes through. I dont want to move back to Oz .. im going back to UK to be with my family.. mum.. kids and grand itll be a permanent move. I just wasnt sure whether to let the application continue…but given that its cost me a fortune so seems daft not to?

  4. Moved back in 2018. I was also bullied here in the UK when I started work – by an Australian no less! But my English manager let her get away with it. Hoping we can make enough money to go back and buy that overpriced house in Sydney

    1. Oh my god, that’s awful! Maybe the Australian simply wanted to return home but couldn’t so they took it out on you? Such a shame though, no one should be bullied in the work place. x

  5. I’ve been living in NZ and Australia for 25 years but originally from the uk, london. Firstly Brighton is a bit of a dump these days to be honest, lots of drugs,alcohol and homeless fighting in the streets, litter everywhere!
    Anyway I came back to Melbourne a year ago after I went back for a couple of years to london. It was pretty miserable generally, people are much more aggressive than they used to be. It’s much more crowded too. Most of my friends and both my brothers were always busy with family and the regular catch ups that you thought would happen just didn’t. Nor did the endless weekend trip to the continent, it just didn’t happen. It just sends up exhausting and expensive no matter how cheap the flights are!
    Fundamentally the uk has changed and I’ve changed too. Australia and NZ have changed me, mellowed me probably and I found the constant emergency vehicle sirens and constant airplanes overhead taxing. So I came back. Still not sure if it’s the right decision as my parents enter their 80’s now. But I think that most people who have lived in a different country, especially uk to oz or NZ, for a couple of years has difficulty missing things about home. I don’t think it ever goes, but I’ve found going back every other year or every year usually does the trick. You get thar dose of central london in summer, the parks, the pubs, the bustle and the friends and family then return to an ultimately nicer place.
    Best of luck with you future and thanks for the blogs.

    1. Hi Rory, I think we’re on the same page about how to decide on where to live. Although it’s hard right now to go back for visits, I can’t wait to go back and see everyone. It’s difficult to be able to properly settle but I definitely know Australia is my home. And yes, Brighton has definitely changed a lot in the last 10 years or so!

  6. Thank you so much for this post we are a UK and Aussie couple that have been looking for visa guidance and if we should try living back in glad I found yoursite! Kindest regards El from Melbourne.

    1. Hi Elle, getting a visa for UK is really hard. Best to apply before you leave for UK! You’ll need a lot of savings to support the visa too. Good luck!

  7. I feel strongly that many people mistakenly continue to regard their country of origin as ‘home’ rather than fully embracing their new home. I too was born in the UK but have lived in (and loved) Australia for over 30 years. All my family, except my son, are in the UK, but I have never looked back. Yes, I’ve gone back to visit a few times but I miss nothing about the country, although I occasionally miss Europe. Australia certainly has its problems and still needs to ‘grow up’, particularly in respect of its appalling attitude to its Indigenous population, but overall it’s a great place to raise a child, who will have just as many educational opportunities in the public system as a child in the UK. My son did primary school there and secondary school and university here, so we have first-hand experience of both. I now have an Australian granddaughter, so my family and my heart are well and truly here in Aus. Six years ago, I went back to the UK for the last time; I’m over going back to the same country to visit family and friends who never attempt to make it here. If I travel again, I’ll spend my money on places I’ve never visited. Life’s too short to keep living in the past!

  8. Glad to hear you know where your home is. It’s a shame that many people go through the same as you whereby friends and family don’t make the effort to visit. Hope you get the opportunity to visit some new countries when they open up flights out of Australia again!

  9. Hi Annie,
    just wanted to say I’ve followed your blog for a while and I come back to many of your articles again and again when I’m feeling a bit lost. I’m from the north of England but lived in Sydney on two occasions. Like you I returned to the uk feeling disconnected from Sydney people and missing many things about home. But after being in the uk for a year and hating my job because of toxic people, I returned to Aus… it’s definitely not easy being stuck between two countries. Sometimes my heart is still torn between the 2 worlds but I definitely feel like I remember England with rose tinted glasses and with a childhood nostalgia lens. Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s difficult to open up to friends who have never lived overseas.

    I’m currently travelling around Australia and getting to explore the country beyond the confines of Sydney which has really made a difference to how I feel about staying here long term( in a good way). I really hope you can feel settled and “at home” here in this this beautiful place. Lots of love, a fellow Brit xxxx

  10. I am 28, single and a lawyer. I moved to Sydney from London only in December of last year for a job but sadly it hasn’t worked out and I resigned. I am now tossing up whether to get another job here or move home. I am leaning more to moving home as this move has taken a toll on my happiness. It all seems so daunting at this stage making the move back so soon with no job to go back to but will get there. Sydney has been great to meet people but I miss London too much and I feel isolated and far away here. That’s just my experience of the last 4 months.

    1. Hi Lily, sorry to hear this. We are holding a meet up with our readers and followers on Wednesday 12 April at 6pm in the Duke of Clarence in Sydney CBD if you want to come? Happy to chat with you then and help you make some decisions! Thanks

  11. It’s interesting to hear other people’s stories. I’ve lived in Perth then Sydney for 7 years or slightly more and just haven’t been able to settle. I came here with my daughter when she was nearly 2 wanting a more outdoor life for her, at least in her younger years. Perth was very good for that and I don’t regret the 3.5 years we spent there. We then returned to the UK for a while and my partner couldn’t find a job that he really wanted. He’s a psychotherapist and found the NHS is bad shape and run by incompetent managers with not an ounce of creativity or desire to try anything new. A real shame for the Health service as they greatly need to improve their mental health services. Anyway he gave up there as it seemed like a dead end we we ended up back in Sydney. It’s been a very rough road, no family, no friends and in a culture that doesn’t seem to offer what I desire or need, I guess. There’s an emptiness in Australia that I can’t shake off. Not saying the UK is ideal , it’s struggling in so many ways at the moment, God knows if it will get sorted out. But I just don’t belong in Australia and now my daughter is 12 I realise I can’t move her again, although she doesn’t quite “fit” here either. I’ve been through major health problems here too and not being near family and close friends is very hard. I’d say it’s been a very mixed bag and if I had my time again, I’d try and stay in Europe where my heart is. Some people can move on and not look back and don’t seem to think of close family but I’ll never feel good about leaving my mum behind as she get’s older and will need me. Very torn.

  12. Great read, and it is reassuring that I am not going crazy think about this. I am fortunately a dual Aussie/British national originally from Perth. I’ve lived in England for 20 years and travelled a lot through Europe, but now after a divorce I am rethinking living here and thinking of moving back to Perth.

    The thing is the move is really easy when you’re early 20’s, get to 40’s and have to consider a sale of a house and getting rid of other items and the whole relocating thing again spins my head.

    I think ultimately, I will make the move back in a couple of years and hope for the best. There is nothing left for me in England sadly, but that how life is. I am grateful to have 2 passports and the option to live in either country.

  13. Hi Annabel,
    My Google search led me to your blog post! After returning from my 2 week AUS trip 1.5m ago, I plan to visit this country again in Spring/Summer. I’m considering doing my masters and working there afterward.
    I will binge reading your posts. New subbie here 🙂

  14. Really lovely blog and stories from everyone. I’ve lived here for 13 years now, my kids have practically grown up here and are adults themselves but I feel that yearning for the UK but really it’s about the people we’ve left behind. At 52, I love the lifestyle here, I cycle, run, swim and have a weekly exercise grouo I run where we have coffee after etc.

    I do miss parents who are getting older and feel a responsibility to them. Two of our good friends moved back just over a year ago and that hurt because we’ve been friends for over 25 years.

    I hadn’t realised you guys do meet ups, that might a nice thing to attend. Paul

  15. As an Australian living in Hertfordshire, specifically Hemel Hempstead, I know for sure that I won’t be moving back to Sydney, where I grew up for 24 years. I anitially moved here because I was intrigued by Britain’s history and culture, drew in by its aesthetics and funnily enough, the accents 😅 I finished my university degree in Veterinary Science, got my Skilled Worker visa and SHIPPED MYSELF OFF TO THE UK!
    In the ten years i’ve lived here, i’ve married my husband (Born and raised in London), had a beautiful son (He’s 5 years old now! His name is Sam.), built a supportive friend group, welcomed two rescue kitties (Eleanora and Sockie, Ellie is a Bombay cat and Sockie is a Scottish fold, they were both found in the same place and the two were very attatched) to our family, bought a wonderful vintage five bedroom house with stunning fields around the back, fronting onto a main street.
    As much as Sydney was once my home, and I do miss the food, sometimes the beaches and sometimes my family, it will never be my home like Hemel is. There is something about this place which makes me romanticise my life and love myself. I will never leave.

    1. That’s amazing and your home and family sound truly wonderful! I think as an expat, I would love to feel as settled and content like that.

  16. This story really resonated with me. I moved from Melbourne to Sydney for work and lived there for a few years. Met an amazing girl and I was in a great relationship but the nostalgia and longing for home kept gnawing at me so I moved back to Melbourne. Over the course of my time being back I’ve realised that Melbourne no longer feels like my home anymore. I don’t know what my ex and I were doing last year but we were still in contact and we ended things in September officially. I reached out in February to tell her that I wanted to move back to Sydney to be with her but she told me she’s in a new relationship with someone else. I’ve tried telling her I want to come back to Sydney to be with her again. The worst part is we wanted to marry each other, but my nostalgia for Melbourne kept making me want to move back. I’ve made the biggest mistake of my entire life.

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