Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
I am a Scottish blogger and writer currently living in Hobart, Tasmania with my husband and young son. I moved here from the UK in September 2013.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started blogging almost four years ago when I still lived in Scotland, as a way of doing something creative when I was a full time stay-at-home parent. When I moved from Scotland to England, I found new friends through my blog, and then when I moved from England to Australia last year it became a great way of sharing our expat experiences with family and friends, to give them a better idea of what our new life was like. It was also a great support for me to have comments from friends and family on my posts, letting us know that they were cheering me on!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
- This is the post where we announced that we were moving across the world.
- This is one where I talk about the most important object in our house
- And this is one about being a mother, which is why I really started the blog in the first place
- The most popular post on my blog is this one where I explain Twitter
Tell us about the ways your new life in Australia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I am so happy in Australia! Tasmania is a perfect fit for my family. The people here are very friendly, the food and drink is great, my son loves his school, and gets to spend a lot more time playing outside than he did in the UK. We were lucky enough to find a great house nice and quickly, and after just a year here we feel very settled. I had expected it to be a huge culture shock, but it hasn’t been that at all, it has been a very smooth transition. Obviously I miss friends and family back in the UK, but other than that there have been no downsides.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I think the move has been easier than we expected it to be. We have all adjusted more quickly that we thought we would, because Tasmania is such a welcome place. We wouldn’t change anything that we did.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Well, not many people believe me when I say that of the workmen we’ve had in our house – painters, builders, carpenters, electricians etc – five out of six have been called Shane! And the one that wasn’t called Shane was called Wayne. I guess some Australian stereotypes are true.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
- Think carefully about where in Australia you want to move. For us, Tasmania is perfect because we have a family and like a quiet life, but if you are young and single, you might prefer a city on the mainland.
- If you are able to, put aside some money into a separate bank account to cover flights back to your home country if you need to fly home quickly or in an emergency.
- Don’t try and recreate the life you had in your home country. If you only socialize with fellow expats, and continue to buy the foods and drinks you are used to, you will miss out on a lot. Embrace your new life and see every day as an adventure and an opportunity to try something new.
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I haven’t really looked for fellow expats. Some friends-of-friends from the UK have moved here recently and we’ve met up with them to help them settle in and feel welcome, but most of the people I’ve met have been through blogging, my son’s school, and my husband’s work. I think because Australia is an English speaking country, and because I have a big community of friends online, I haven’t felt the need to seek out fellow expats.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
The scariest but best decision I’ve made in my life.