On 1 January 2016, we were reflecting on our achievements and memories from 2015 and considering our New Year’s resolutions. We had always dreamed of living in the UK. We had even bought 100 square feet of land in Scotland several years before as a conservation activity. We had two children still at home, the oldest turning 18 in January 2017. It was now or never. We were going to move overseas.
We currently live on the world’s largest island – Australia.
We’re about to move to the UK. A country on the other side of the world.
We’re experienced at moving within Australia. We’ve visited or lived in every state and territory. We relocated from one end of Queensland to the other – from Cairns to Brisbane. We also moved between Brisbane, Queensland and Canberra, Australian Capital Territory several times.
We’ve traveled overseas, including to Thailand and the US several times; and twice to New York City. But we’ve never actually traveled to Europe or the UK.
So now we’re moving to the UK. Permanently. Sight unseen. We’ll be moving nearly 16,500km (10,250 miles) as the crow flies from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia to Glasgow, Scotland.
We have the opportunity with the UK Ancestry Visa to move to the UK and live and work there for 5 years or longer; after which time we can apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain and a year later, British Citizenship.
We can then be dual Australian-UK citizens and enjoy the benefit of being able to work and travel without time limits and ridiculous flight costs from Down Under to the rest of the world.
Scotland here we come.
** Update – September 2018 **
We have just celebrated our two year anniversary in the UK by driving nearly 3,000 miles (about 5,000 kilometres) around Scotland and England.
We took two one-week road trips with a two-day gap in between. First, we did the North Coast 500 – Scotland’s equivalent to America’s Route 66. Second, we toured down the West Coast of Scotland and England down to North Cornwall and then back via Oxford and Nottingham, criss-crossing between mountain ranges.
We are loving living in Scotland. Glasgow has been good to us.
** Update – September 2020 **
We’ve been living in Scotland for 4 years now. This time next year we’ll qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain followed by British Citizenship in 2022.
A lot has happened in the past four years since relocating to Scotland from Australia. Thankfully, there were more great experiences than unwanted challenges.
- Christmas-time 2018 we were advised our landlord was going to sell our apartment so we had to find somewhere else to live. In March 2019, we moved 4.5 miles (7km) closer to Glasgow City and a nice 10 minute walk from a train station. We moved from a furnished rental to an unfurnished rental, luckily with fridge, washing machine and dryer. Our rent went up but our commuting costs and time went down so that was a bonus. Parking is a lot easier and it has an ensuite and a dishwasher. So overall, our quality of life went up.
- We are a family of four (mum, dad and two working-age sons). All of us have had multiple job-changes. We were impacted by redundancies, fixed-term and zero-hour contracts that ended without further opportunities, and some of us resigned due to unacceptable working conditions. There was lots of job searching and interviews, right up to Christmas. We will all likely be changing jobs at least once in 2020 also for similar reasons.
- Our salaries fluctuated, as did our savings. Unexpected bills saw us dipping into our bank overdrafts, applying for credit cards and learning about how credit history works in the UK. We got through, with credit scores in the green (which is good).
- Our car got a sudden flat tyre and needed to be towed to a tyre repair shop for a replacement. Our car refused to start one wintery morning and got towed a second time. Thank you Green Flag roadside assistance. Our car is running beautifully, still only £20 road-tax and she passed the MOT without any additional work required.
- We fell on icy footpaths (something we do every winter so far).
- Three of us have been working from home since March 2020 so the main living room is a half lounge and a half home-office with two desks and four office chairs.
- In mid-2019 I had an unplanned solo-trip back to Australia during their winter (about the same temperature as Scotland in Summer). It was my first time back to Australia since we left in September 2016. I loved spending time with family and friends, including our young grandson who I had previously only met via WhatsApp.
- In addition to my 2 weeks in Australia, we had our first trip to Europe, visiting Berlin for 3 days/3 nights. We explored London for the first time (we usually just transit through Heathrow airport) for 5 days/4 nights. And, one of our sons spent 2 weeks in Spain.
- We had several mini-stays in Scotland and England. Manchester for the cricket (Ashes match). Newcastle, London and Drimsynie (in the Scottish Highlands) for work events. We enjoyed overnighters in Inverness, Edinburgh and on the Isle of Skye.
- My mum visited for the second time in 3 years (I think she likes Scotland).
- We saw War of the Worlds live – the night after we saw Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons live – at the SECC in Glasgow.
- We had good times with our Glasgow friends and made lots of new ones. We consumed much beer, whisky and gin (and cognac and rum), and ate too many pizzas. We made good use of our Unlimited Cineworld movie card, seeing close to 50 movies including a Star Wars triple-feature for Rise of Skywalker (6pm to 3am).
- We went on regular day-trips out of Glasgow. Our Historic Scotland and National Trust Scotland memberships let us visit ancient sites and walk through mansions, castles and palaces for a fraction of the entry price (for a small monthly subscription). We ticked off several items from our bucket list, including: Rosslyn Chapel, Holyrood Palace, Falkland Palace, Duninos Den, The Whangie, Arthurs Seat, Outlander filming locations and the view of the Christmas Markets at night from Edinburgh Castle.
All in all, things are still on track and going according to plan 🙂