As people may or may not know I’m moving to Australia tomorrow. This is a pretty momentous occasion for me so please forgive me this slightly self-indulgent post.
I say I’m moving; that’s what I hope it’ll be. I’m going out there with the intention of “starting a new life”, for want of a better phrase. In reality, I’m going for new experiences and better opportunities. The UK is struggling. Evesham, like many towns, is struggling. Opportunities for young people are limited and I’m in the fortunate position of being able to try and kick start my adult life somewhere else.
This new chapter in my life came about almost by accident. After travelling (I hate the word!) around Europe for a while and meeting some awesome Aussies, instead of extending my travels for a while longer which was my original plan, I started looking into working holiday visas for Down Under. It was either through boredom or sheer fluke that I found myself looking at the eligibility criteria for Australian citizenship. It turned out I was eligible for citizenship by descent. My parents lived in Australia for the best part of the 1980s and are naturalised citizens, meaning that even though I was born in the UK I could apply for Aussie citizenship. After some hefty paperwork, I was granted it and then before I knew it I was on my way down to Australia House in London to have my passport application approved. Now I have dual nationality and two passports, making me pretty much Jason Bourne.
The last few weeks has been a cocktail of emotions. For the most part I have been childishly excited but there have also been moments of sheer panic, head-shattering stress and vomit-inducing nerves. I have also been pretty sad from time to time. I am not looking forward to saying goodbye to my family at the airport. I spent last weekend with Dean and Jon, two of my best friends from university; I will miss them both, as well as many others I have not had chance to say goodbye to. I have been working at The Regal cinema for the last few weeks, and despite my short time there, I will miss it. It was a great place to work and incredibly fun. I met some pretty cool people there and I’m sorry to be leaving so soon.
Although there have been a few times when I’ve wanted to back away from the whole idea, I realise that now is the time to do it. Researching what it takes to migrate has made me see how difficult it would be to do with a partner, children, full time jobs, cars and mortgages. Right now I can pack most of my life into a regular sized suitcase, which in itself is quite a liberating feeling. Now is the best chance I’ll have and I’m trying to face it with a spirit of adventure, by staying positive and giving it my best shot. If I fail this time I can try again, I’m not tied to any visa regulations; as long as I can afford the air fare I can come and go as I please. Such freedom is a privilege that not many have. If I do “fail”, so to speak, it won’t be for lack of effort. Every waking minute outside of work has been spent researching and planning as much as I can.
I land in Sydney on the evening of Monday 4th March. I will be staying with a friend and his family, who have been kind enough to put me up for a while. I am very grateful. My plan is to throw myself into Australian life straight away. I want to cram as much as I can into every day. Soon enough I hope to be in a job and renting my own place, even if it is a house-share.
Right now I don’t know how long I will be there. It could be a few months, it could be a year, it could be thirty or even more. However, I know I will be back in England from time to time. Despite its many failings there are things I will miss a lot in this country; mostly my family and friends, but also Leeds United, BBC television, Yorkshire (and Yorkshire Tea), and of course the occasional chance of a white Christmas.
As I’ve probably made clear, I am excited and nervous. I can’t wait to see new things but I’m sad to be leaving other things behind. Wish me luck (any advice would be gratefully received too!) and thanks to everyone who has been so positive and supportive of me taking this step.