Musings // Would you ever live abroad?

September 27, 2018

Would you ever live abroad? 
I wrote a few more personal kind of essay blog posts recently, so am sharing the first today. They're a little rambling but I only ever seem to write like this when I'm on a plane! So expect a few more coming up...   Unrelated, ish, photo from our trip to Byron earlier this year.

It’s a question I ask myself, and husband, whenever we travel somewhere amazing. I mean, not like some desert island where you’d have to survive on coconuts, but somewhere I could really see myself enjoying living. Like California, a leafy part of upstate New York, Florida, Princeton New Jersey, some place south of Perth in Western Australia, a suburb of Sydney or Byron Bay.
During that holiday period, everything is rosy. ‘Imagine living here and going to the beach everyday...’, ‘imagine living here and being able to fly to .. for long weekends’ or ‘never having that cold, long grey winter’ {I’m not talking about East coast America in this part; I think they get worse winters than ours!}.

Of course, I adore where we live. Love, love, love most things about it.

And I know that if I were to be, and when I am, away for more than a few weeks, I’d start to miss the English countryside and our daily favourite field walks, English cheddar cheese, good sausages {they never ever taste the same} having a house to buy flowers for and our local market town. Although I love travel SO much, I’m a real home girl. I love our house that we’ve spent so long renovating and making into a home and our little village.

But part of me wonders what it would be like to move somewhere abroad for a while. To see what living in America or Australia would feel like. To look back and say 'yeah we lived here for a while' just for the experience. Would we land up staying and creating a whole new life?

I had a work shoot a few weeks back at home and two of the crew were Australian & one Brazilian. They’d all moved to London over ten years ago and had never gone back. I immediately asked them what they loved so much about being here. For them it’s the culture and the closeness to Europe, which I guess is something we take for granted having grown up here. I questioned the Aussies in particular how they get through the dark winter which they did admit is particularly tough knowing that it’s summer down under. But they all said how hard it was leaving their families behind.

And for us, it goes without saying that our families are what keep us anchored at home. I sometimes joke to my parents when we’re somewhere that I’ve fallen in love with, why they didn’t move there when I was growing up. Why don’t we all move here I ask them. For we are so close, it would be impossibly hard to ever leave for a long period of time unless I could scoop everyone up with us. Likewise, I’d miss our friends. Ben’s uncle moved to Australia around fifteen years ago and he said the hardest thing is not having the history with those lifelong, old friends. Sure you make new ones, but would they feel the same as those you know so well, everyone already having their close friendship groups? Do you think it's different if you're not that close to your family? No real roots, just up and go.

Every place has pros and cons. I hate America’s gun laws, the fact the highways are so big, their more extreme weather. And imagine the sharks/snakes/spiders you’d have to deal with in Australia! Eeek.

It fascinates me, having grown up and still living in my same village {bar a couple of years living in London}, to hear other people’s stories of how they grew up in one place and then moved, creating a whole new life. My childhood friend, whose dad is American, has recently moved to Hawaii. And his sister aged 18 is about to do the same, taking just a couple of suitcases and booking a one way ticket! She might fall in love and never come back. They’re involved with a church so I feel like they have ready made communities wherever they go that makes it a bit easier. Ben’s step brother has moved to Seattle with work which they love. But it has some challenges now they have a baby and their families are halfway around the world.

Likewise, I always think it’s really cool when people working for big, global companies have the option to take some time at an office in another country. They set up their accommodation etc and sort the visas for them. At least they’d know some people through work then as well. My husband and I are both self employed so whilst we feel incredibly luckily to have the freedom take as much time out for travelling as we wish and can/often do work remotely, both of our businesses are here in the U.K. I wonder if my husband could remotely project manage property sites and builds...

Maybe we’d try it sometime, my husband’s always had a dream to go away in some kind of camper van for six months or so. Or travel the world for a year. Especially when we have children and before they’re locked into school terms. But that’s travelling from place to place, I’m talking about settling in one place for a period of time to try it out. So I won't look back when I'm old and grey and think 'damn I wish we'd just tried that' although of course we try and travel as much as possible so I hope I won't have too many regrets.

I think the answer for us would probably be to just 'move' somewhere for six weeks or so in January, the time when we hate England most. We’re starting to do longer trips & kind of doing a version of it this January, escaping to California for around four weeks. I’m thinking of doing similar around New York sometime and cannot wait to return and spend more time in Australia, hopefully the following winter. It’s a wanderlust I guess. The grass is always greener. I love how going away makes you reevaluate so many things and often we come back so appreciative of everything back home. Because I suppose in the end, home will always be home.

What do you think? Have you moved around the world? Do you love having that adventurous story, the mix of countries and cultures? Or do you miss your family too much? I’d love to hear your views! I’ll share a post on Instagram where it’s probably easier to comment on but would love to hear your stories..

R <3 xx 

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  1. I have lived in four countries apart from the UK, three for brief periods of 3 to 6 months (Bavaria, Budapest and Brussels) and four and a half years in Florence. The first three were amazing - I felt like I had enough time to immerse myself and live as a local, but not so much time I really felt the wrench of leaving behind family and friends, and also the British culture, which, I really realised when I moved to Italy - with it's own incredible culture - I absolutely adore. Living abroad for longer term was hard. I flew back 3 or 4 times a year, and jammed those fortnight long visits full of friends and fun, but it wasn't the same. I felt like I missed out on a lot of important events in friends' lives, and I felt really culturally detached from them. Even now, people can be chatting about a TV programme that everyone watched while I was away, and I feel a chunk of shared heritage is gone. Perhaps a tad dramatic, and that's just a tiny example, but I think once you get past a year, it stops being a grand adventure and becomes your reality, and for me, it felt like I was in limbo. I knew I wanted to move back to the UK long term, and so all the time I spent out there seemed a bit like putting off the rest of my life. It's a really strange feeling. Funnily enough I was in New York last weekend with my best friend who lives and works out there now, and she said exactly the same. It's not her life anymore, that will start again when she comes back. Something to think about maybe, but your idea of 6 weeks every year is fabulous - perhaps not long enough to get to know the neighbours and learn the language, but long enough to experience all the place has to offer. Enjoy! xx

  2. Love this Rebecca! We have to have more shoots and more inspiring chats :-)

  3. My partner is a career soldier and I have often wished we were together at a time when he got to live abroad. The plus side to military travel is you can always come home at some point. It's not like emigrating and finding you hate it but can't afford to come home. I think even if I hated somewhere, knowing I could get home and still have a home there would be a big bonus!


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