A really nosy question.

(91 Posts)
VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 20:15:08

I've wanted to ask this question for ages.
I'm always curious as to how people end up living overseas.
I'd love to hear people's stories - whether it's work or family or some other reason.
I'm being very nosy,but if anyone would care to share,I'm all ears!

Salbertina Wed 16-Oct-13 20:40:45

Stupidly itchy feet! Didn't quite realise
Full repercussions.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 20:43:59

That's making me feel even nosier Salbertina grin

I just wonder things like: Does it just 'happen' or is it a conscious choice?
(ie pursuing a particular career)

TippiShagpile Wed 16-Oct-13 20:47:46

I was "asked" (ie told) to go abroad to work on a particular matter for 6 weeks. I ended up living there (wonderful place, amazing people) for 2 years.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 20:51:57

I need more details please. grin

I need to know where you are and stuff like that.

Like I say,I'm being unashamedly nosy!

Tippi what happened? Was there more work available or did you have to find something? Could you tell me where?

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 20:53:03

What line of work,etc etc?

I am so horribly curious about it all and actually quite envy if the truth be known...

Did part of my degree abroad (erasmus exchange) and ended up returning straight after I graduated. Stayed there for nearly 15 years, met and married DH, had 2 DC then DH persuaded me to move to his home country. Don't see myself ever returning to the UK now.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 21:03:11

Do you mind saying where you have settled surrounded ?

Salbertina Wed 16-Oct-13 21:08:16

Same shit, different place.

Or

Once in a lifetime opportunity.

Dunno' madness, really.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 21:21:55

It sounds like you're not entirely happy Salbertina sad

TippiShagpile Wed 16-Oct-13 21:23:23

I was working in a big law firm and I was asked to work on a massive case abroad - I think I was asked to help out for 6 weeks. It was a lovely offshore jurisdiction but still 2 years away at the drop of a hat was hard. Lovely place but I missed my friends and family.

Salbertina Wed 16-Oct-13 21:26:55

Am in a weirdly beautiful, weirdly awful place (S Africa) And gets complicated longer you stay, end up rooted in two places so wrench either way.

Liara Wed 16-Oct-13 21:27:57

First move abroad was to the UK to study at uni. Met and married dh.

Second move abroad was to Japan to accompany dh who was moving there. Didn't like it, so came back after a year.

Third move abroad was to France so we could have some sunshine back in our lives. Had been living in London and I was wilting through lack of sunshine.

Fourth move was to Spain so my dc could learn some Spanish (lovely weather was a factor too).

Not overseas anymore but initially went overseas (Bangkok) for a two year adventure with plans to come back to uk and settle down and be sensible. Went with now DH for his job - accountant. Had a ball. Came back. Bought a house. Got married. Got bored. Ended up in Vietnam for 6 years. Got pregnant and wanted to be closer to home. Ended up in Bulgaria for three years. Then Hungary for 6 years.

Then moved back to uk although a new area for me for school for DS.

Don't regret any of the travels and made some fab friends. Just regret that they are scattered all over the world now. I need Star Trek type travel.

I went for work, not that i have a great career or anything, but had some old contacts, was separating from x and needed a fresh start, so I went. I've been away 14years since then (had only bedn back in homd country for 6mths, lived abroad prior to that for 4 years).

Ii'd only go back home once my mother is dead, sad but true. I stay away to keep her out of my life. Sounds bonkers really. Dh wouldnt move to my home country though, i feel aggrieved that our DC won't have any roots or grow up with people that have known them forever. We keep moving for work, guess we have to stop at some point but have no clue where we would live. DH from the grim north and don't want live there either, currently in US.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 21:38:11

This is all just fascinating and eye opening.

Salbertina you do sound so torn. Through my rose tinted specs these things never occur to me - that you may end up putting down roots and investing yourself in two different places.

Liara you make it sound so effortless and carefree.

I suppose I always intended to travel,work abroad,do a kibbutz etc etc - just do something a little different but it has eluded me one way or the other so far,and I always wonder how it happens for other people...

Liara Wed 16-Oct-13 21:50:28

I like it. I get very itchy feet every 7 years or so. I always wanted to 'see the world' and a decade of short-term travel taught me that zipping between airports and hotels doesn't really do it for me, so settling somewhere for at least a year is necessary.

I also had a couple more moves between cities within countries. Planning another one in a couple of years' time, but then need to settle down as don't want the dc to have a move in their teens. I think that can be a bit hard socially speaking.

Once they are grown up and leave home, though, who knows?

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 21:59:54

Do you have it all sewn up (like housing,employment,adequate funds) before you make a move Liara or do you just wing it a bit?

So far those that have posted seem to have had a less pre meditated experience than I supposed would be the case,and I wonder how much it involves you being a little bit bolder,and more intrepid,and basically just braver than many of us !

Liara Wed 16-Oct-13 22:02:07

Am crying with laughter at the notion of my having anything at all sewn up.

Winging it is an understatement.

But in fact the whole launching myself into whatever might come is my favourite bit.

Fortunately dh is pretty game.

I came over from overseas because i just wanted to have an experience of somewhere else.

The Visa requirements made us stay a bit longer and now we are close to 15 years in the UK when we were only coming for a year to see what the UK was like.

See I am a very introverted person, so I guess i had to be very brave or foolish to just go off, although I did know one person, the chap that got me my job. I had never lived alone and had to find an aprtment, car, furniture, the lot, and learn to pay bills and make friends. It was the making of me really. I am still a loner but have managed to make some brilliant friends along the way. I have to make more of an effort with this as DS1 says he is lonely and friendships are very important to him.

nemno Wed 16-Oct-13 22:13:48

10 years in SE Asia for DH, me and 2DC.

We just had really itchy feet and having got through the toddler years and not yet at a disruptive stage of the DC's education, DH actively sought an overseas job.

It wasn't meant to be so long and I would have come home like a shot after 7 years but DC's education couldn't sensibly be disrupted until the 10 years were up.

It was great on the whole. Really pleased we did it and I think it was very good for the DC.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 16-Oct-13 22:19:42

This is on the whole,really positive stuff!

I'm so glad I've asked!

I imagined in a very naive way that loads of people would be posted with some obscure government department like in the films blush grin

It's really really interesting so would love to hear more..

Apanicaday Wed 16-Oct-13 23:10:36

DH got made redundant, I was browsing for jobs to help him out in his search, and came across one that included a two year secondment in Aus. I told him he should apply (half as a joke). He did. Neither of us thought it would go any further. Next day he got asked for an interview, 4 days later he had the interview, and was offered the job. We had never even really thought about living overseas. Accepting it so spontaneously was totally out of character for both of us (me particularly). We had a brilliant two years in Aus (back in uk now).

VerySmallSqueak Thu 17-Oct-13 00:29:20

Seems that it can often just sort of happen - certainly not a case of having decided to pursue a career that would open up the possibility of living overseas in most of your cases.

Cider what did you do when you ended up in Vietnam,if you don't mind me asking?

It doesn't strike me as somewhere you could easily go and just wing it for anything more than a short period of time.

Liara do you stay in the same type of work through your moves or just see what work is around?

exexpat Thu 17-Oct-13 00:38:48

I'm back in the UK now, but have spent a lot of time overseas (see my username...). Very much a conscious choice for me.

First couple of times were six months working in Germany during a gap year, then a year out from university to work/study in Taiwan (I was studying Asian languages but that wasn't part of my course - I took an extra year out in the middle).

Then later DH (who also studied Japanese) and I both wanted to live in Japan, and had chosen jobs/employers in London with that in mind, so it was a question of whose employer posted us there first - turned out to be his, but mine was happy for me to take unpaid leave/freelance until a job with them came up, which it eventually did. In between we also had a year in Australia, which was not planned - short notice company transfer - but we thoroughly enjoyed.

We were lucky that most of the time we had company relocation packages and rent allowances etc. Japan would be difficult to do without that.

riverboat Thu 17-Oct-13 08:41:24

What Salbertina said!

More specifically, I got to my mid twenties and started regretting never having taken a gap year or lived in a other country. Was on a career ladder that was well paid but boring. Single, no house, no ties. Decided to run off to Paris or a year. Ended up meeting French DP, whose French DS precludes us from living anywhere but here. So, I'm now stuck here! Go through love/hate phases but mostly its just all very normal now.

singaporeswing Thu 17-Oct-13 09:34:44

I did a year abroad with university, met Aussie DP while we were living in South of France. He puts me to shame, having lived in 10 different countries since he was 18!

He got a job in Singapore, I followed him and got a great job too. We're planning our next move next summer after 2 years in Singapore. I'm voting for Switzerland, he's keen on the UK.

Either way, I can see us doing this for a good few years. I'm 24 and have worked in 3 countries - I'm not going to get these opportunities again, so grabbing anything I can.

We get itchy feet, so can't see us settling in one place for longer than 3-4 years.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Thu 17-Oct-13 09:54:50

These are fascinating. I would think that most of you are "professionals" e.g. lawyers, accountants, academics?

LinzerTorte Thu 17-Oct-13 10:20:45

Met DH (Austrian) on my year in abroad in Germany when we were both Erasmus students; he then came over to the UK for three years after we'd both graduated.

After stints in Germany and the USA, we moved to Austria 10 years ago. Our moves were all due to DH's work; I work from home, so can be pretty flexible about where we live. No plans to move again in the foreeseeable future, though!

PortoFiendo Thu 17-Oct-13 10:28:33

DH and I were both in the pool for redundancy at the same company. We agreed we would go with whatever opportunity presented itself. He was then offered a intercompany transfer to Brussels with a promotion. So we had a relocation expert and the company paid for everything. We have been here 7 years. I am quite settled but do want to go back to UK at some point.

Salbertina Thu 17-Oct-13 11:54:31

Ok, to answer properly, I've lived in 6 different countries as an adult- US, ME, UK, SE Asia, France and S Africa. Variously been student/training placements, work contract in specific overseas locations and just going off on a wing and a prayer. All been at my instigation so no one to blame!
All but the last placement have been due to my own work/endeavours and for 3 of them I had to fund and sort the transfer entirely alone. For current placement am a "trailing spouse", following dh's "temporary" placement (2 years on, still here!).

DropYourSword Thu 17-Oct-13 11:57:19

Always knew I wasn't meant to stay in UK, but sorry of accidentally ended up in Australia!

Salbertina Thu 17-Oct-13 12:02:45

Are you conducting research, OP in which case pass me the biscuits and the money-off voucher or is it just out of curiosity?!

bushprincess Thu 17-Oct-13 13:17:24

hi all! interesting stories... I suppose I'm most simialar to Salbertina (waving to you down south from here in Harare)

West Indies, Uganda, Kenya under my own steam (vet school/MSc/work + PhD) then met DH in Kenya who was moved down to Zimbabwe (he's with the UN) and so now I'm here as a 'trailing spouse' as well! DC1 on the way and can't imagine that we'll leave the UN system anytime soon...

I've been keeping myself out of trouble by finishing my PhD, some sporadic consultancy work and voluntary work... Will probably keep up the consultancy work until we get kids to school age and then it will be my turn to dictate our moves! though I imagine it'll still be the expat life for us for a while yet! Though home does beckon 'one day'!

smallsqueak what's your story? are you planning a move or away at the moment?

SavoyCabbage Thu 17-Oct-13 13:28:49

My dh took a job in Australia without telling me. My dd was starting school the following week.

The new job gave him TWO WEEKS to start. He talked them up to three...

We had a house and cars and a normal life. We have been here five years.

TheScreamingNit Thu 17-Oct-13 13:34:10

I was a trailing child, wandering SEA with my pilot dad and ESL teacher mum. I loved it so much I would give anything to be able to continue my wanderings, but unfortunately DD's dad is very involved (good for her, me...eh, not so much) and thus she and I are unable to leave our current city until, well...until.
Luckily I had her young so once she's grown I will have lots of time left to wander smile

PennieLane Thu 17-Oct-13 13:34:55

both had itchy feet, I had opportunity to move to Latin America, DH Hong Kong, both work moves in ky case permanent. went with DH as two year contract and more money and I'm on mat leave. working abroad was always part if our life plan and we will return and hopefully do it all again!

Itchy feet. My original plan was to do a uni year in Australia, meet Silverchair and go surfing a lot, but I decided a year in Scotland was more practical instead. After that was up, I went home for a year, worked for a year, and then went back to Scotland for a Master's. Fresh Talent, Tier 1 General and my husband have kept me here.

DH has a young daughter that he co-raises with his ex, so we won't be moving anytime soon. But we talk extensively about heading to the US after she's grown. Whether that pans out someday will depend on a lot. Current USA cost of living is attractive, but the current US economic and corporate culture is not. I am also not sure if my gentle soul DH would actually cope well with American fly-off-the-handle approach, long term. Then again, he did marry me.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 17-Oct-13 14:47:54

Dh was in a promotional log jam at work. Got offered an opportunity in the Middle East to build a team. I was fed up of my job and wanted a good excuse to quit. We'd just got marred. Planned to wait a few years before kids so moved to the Middle east for 2 years. Actually only stayed one as the role didn't really work out so Dh asked for another transfer and was sent to HK. We're still here 4 years later (5 in total). Both our children were born here. Ironically, I ended up back at my old employer, but in a different role which I absolutely love, so all's well that ends well. I think we're here for the long haul now tbh.

Shanghaidiva Thu 17-Oct-13 15:12:01

Moved with DH's job to Germany for 2 years, that was 18 years ago. Spent nine years in Germany, 4 in Austria and have now been in China for 5 years and supposed to be here for another 3. Not desperate to go back to the UK and haven't been back to visit since Feb 2008.
Both dcs were born overseas and they have never lived in the UK.

ginslinger Thu 17-Oct-13 15:18:40

I met DH when i was at university - he was over from germany doing a year at an english hospital. We got together, pregnant with DS a little earlier than planned so he got extra tim at the hospital in enland and then we moved back to germany over 30 years ago.

My dad got a job at a German company and for 2 years he "commuted" to Germany from England (we lived in Kent). He'd leave Sunday evening and return Friday evening. After this time I guess my parents decided it wasn't working like that as we all moved over there. We were there for 7 years (between the ages of 7 and 14 for me) before my dad was eventually made redundant. Part of his redundancy package was help relocating back to England, so we moved back and that's that.

As for me, I loved Germany and the experience, but I'm over living abroad!

JustBecauseICan Thu 17-Oct-13 16:25:28

I did the best year of my life abroad when at university. Then became a very dull civil servant. 8 years on and I went to visit a friend one evening and ended up telling her the whole story of my wonderful year. I came home, got all the photos out, stayed up all night musing, went into the office the next day and told them I had to leave.

I intended going back to the place I was before, even had a job lined up, then applied for jobs also in Italy and was offered one.

It was World Cup 1994, Spain were playing Italy and I had a job offer in both places. I decided whoever won, that was where I'd go.

For two years. Nineteen years later, here I am. With my Italish daughter and still with a dream of living eventually in Spain. smile

VerySmallSqueak Thu 17-Oct-13 16:45:42

These are just so interesting and so varied!

Salbertina I am just being curious basically.No hidden agenda,no research,just plain old fashioned nosiness! I can't offer biscuits,but I'll share my hula hoops....

bushprincess yes,sorry,it's a little rude of me to ask so much yet not state my situation!
I have only ever once buggered off over the sea with a little money in my pocket and no plan - slept in the car until I found something - but it wasn't far,only the Channel Islands looking for seasonal work (which I got and stayed there about 6 months).

I'm not planning a move overseas but never say never and I can't help but think I've missed something,so I was just wondering what route people take when they do take the plunge.

I imagine a crucial part must be either being in work where there is a possibility of relocation,or having the ability to offer skills that'd find you work.

And having a bit of money.Which is always the part that's eluded me grin.

I have to say that I think you all sound really interesting from your experiences and that it's offered you something a little bit outside the box.And I can't help thinking too that you're all rather braver and more adaptable than most.

Liara Thu 17-Oct-13 21:33:19

I've changed jobs every time (so has dh), now working from home, so maybe will be taking this job along with us (but maybe not!).

Pretty drastic changes in direction most of the times.

As I say, I am easily bored...

VerySmallSqueak Thu 17-Oct-13 22:04:18

Some of these experiences sound so thrilling.

I can see though riverboat that as you settle in,it just seems normal.

The thought of Vietnam,and Latin America,West Indies,Uganda,China,Singapore.....And to hear that some of you have your children while overseas. It's a whole different world isn't it?

Really interesting stories!

I've moved around a fair bit. I did 3 work placements overseas for my French / Spanish degree and was offered a job in Paris when I graduated. I spent nearly 3 years translating there and met DH (who is Scottish). He traveled a lot for his work and was sent to Singapore in 1999 for 9 months. By this time I was a bit peeved at his traveling and it was crunch time. I got myself a freelance editing job, a sabbatical from work and a one way ticket to Singapore. Literally sold everything I couldn't fit into a suitcase.

From there we went to Azerbaijan in 1999, Dubai in 2000 (for a couple of months), back to Singapore in 2000, Spain in 2001, back to Paris in 2002 where we got married. Things slowed down a bit then and we got posted to Aberdeen in 2003, DD1 was born in 2004. In 2008 I was pregnant with DD2 who was born in Singapore, now 2013 we have just moved to Houston.

DH has changed companies once in this time but his industry (oil) requires lots of movement. I've worked in every country we have lived in (just waiting for my authorization to work in the US now) and have taught English, taught French, taught IT, worked at Unis, done LOADS of PA work, voluntary work and translation and retrained in Singapore as a swimming teacher.

We have a good life and now that DD1 is nearly 9, we will slow down. If we don't move again in the next 2-3 years, we'll probably be here til DD2 is off to uni or whatever she wants to do. We plan to retire in Paris though grin

Verysmall - we didn't wing anything really. Every move was with DH's company. Vietnam was prob hardest move and I hated a lot of it for almost two years. Phoned DH regularly telling him I wanted to leave 'this godforsaken hellhole'. He offered to pack my bags equally regularly!

It's not easy moving around, making new friends etc. each time. And the exotic ness is great but also alienating a lot of the time. But you can make great friends. And have amazing experiences.

Funnily enough this move back to uk is as hard as any other move and harder in some ways. I'm struggling to make friends. People have their own lives and families and friends here. As an expat you are all in th same boat. And people look out for each other. It's much more sociable. And friendships can become very intense very quickly.

Wouldn't have changed any of it though!

VerySmallSqueak Fri 18-Oct-13 00:31:27

It does look lovely Cider

Was it your favourite?

In some ways it was. Not sure I have a favourite really. There was something special about all of them. But Budapest is the most recent and I still have friends there. And am still close to friends there who have moved on but we seem to share a special bond for some reason.

It's a beautiful city and there is lots to do. Weather is great. Hot sunny summers. Short but glorious spring and autum. Cold and snowy winters.

Meid Fri 18-Oct-13 09:07:27

I met, married and had children with my husband in the UK. He is not from the UK. He started to get homesick and really wouldn't have done anything about it. I actually pushed to move here, I thought it made sense to try it while the children were still young. Almost 5 years later we are still here.

I'm in the same country as Salbertina and can ditto her comments. It is beautiful but complex here.

bushprincess Fri 18-Oct-13 10:16:19

hey squeak thanks for starting this thread - it's really interesting to hear everyone's stories... seems like one common theme is that once you make the plunge all sorts of other opportunities present themselves and you can find yourself 10/20 yrs down the line still living abroad (and hopefully enjoying every (most!) minute of it!)

as ciderwith says, there's some difficulties associated with moving - each time you land you have to pick yourself up and (maybe) force yourself out to make new friends... but as she also mentions, in many places the ex-pat community presents its own social network and support system...

we're just waiting to hear about our next posting and will likely be moving either heavily pregnant or with DC1 in tow... either way will be the start of another wonderful adventure!

If you do decide to take the plunge, good luck! I'm sure you won't look back!

Belgianchox Fri 18-Oct-13 11:50:09

I left the UK after uni, went to work for a holiday company supposedly for the summer, ended up being nearly 3 yrs, after which I joined then boyfriend in Belgium. I ended up staying there almost 10yrs, long after relationship broke up, and only moved (to France) to live in DP's corner of France. Been here 6years now, and probably will be for the forseeable.

eurochick Fri 18-Oct-13 12:07:04

I've done it twice. I'm back in the UK now. The first time was a year abroad (France) as part of my degree.

A couple of years later I heard about a fantastic opportunity for a 5 month internship in Brussels. I was lucky enough to get it. I ended up getting a job there afterwards and staying for a year and a half.

I've been back quite a few years now and have very itchy feet! I was supposed to move to the US for a 6 month secondment a couple of years ago, but it didn't work out. I'm hoping I might be able to get there one day.

castlesintheair Fri 18-Oct-13 13:02:07

I've always had itchy feet. I lived in America, Australia and Thailand before I met DH and I did a lot of travelling. I was just heading off to South America when I met DH. Instead we stayed in UK together for 17 years. We are where we are now because we have a business here which DH was involved in from UK. He's now running it here and we all moved here for 6 months in February but have decided to stay. DCs are in local schools and loving it.

VerySmallSqueak Fri 18-Oct-13 19:15:55

Yes bush I imagine that as you mix with like minded people information gets shared and you hear of stuff that you just wouldn't normally have any idea of.

I hope you are really happy in the next posting - it must be like waiting to open a birthday present!!!

emmyloo2 Tue 22-Oct-13 04:00:57

I have always had itchy feet, although I am living back in my home city at the moment. I first moved to the US in 2004 to do my Masters. Lived in DC and worked in New York for a period of time. Then moved back to Sydney (I am from Australia) because my then boyfriend (now DH) couldn't work in New York. We lived in Sydney for 2 years and got itchy feet so moved to Moscow. Spent 2 years in Moscow (hated it) and then moved to Aberdeen for another 2 years and had DS there. Moved back to Australia at the end of 2010 when my DS was 3 weeks old. Now have a DD (5 months) and planning another posting abroad. I am a lawyer and have worked full-time in every location. My DH is in oil and gas and has moved with his employer. His company moves people around a lot so we will have to make a decision next year as to whether we go again. I want to stay with my company but am not sure whether that will work. Currently considering KL or US (Denver or Houston). I would love to live in the US again. I adore it....

MooseBeTimeForSnow Tue 22-Oct-13 04:51:22

Husband worked at a UK refinery which was out up for sale. A colleague mentioned to him they a Canadian company were advertising in the local paper for people like him. That was late September 2010. He had a couple of telephone interviews and then in January 2011 we were flown to Fort McMurray, Alberta for a week. All expenses paid. He was offered the job at the end of that week. He started in late March. I joined him in May, after selling our house and shipping most of the contents.

The place I now call home gets a lot of unjustified negative press. Canada is an amazing place. We're loving it.

juniperinNZ Wed 23-Oct-13 05:15:08

DH and I always had always talked about moving abroad since we met at university. Our jobs and having DD and DS1 ended up keeping us in the UK for a while, and then the downturn in the UK economy really affected DH's profession so he sent out a couple of CVs overseas...

He is a geologist/geotechnical engineer and when the first Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake happened he got a call from a recruitment agency saying companies in Christchurch needed experienced people like him - the timing wasn't great then for us, so we'd said we'd wait a few months...

Then the February 2011 earthquakes happened and a little while after we got another call from the same agency saying two companies were really interested and could DH send out a detailed CV... an interview later, the company offering to pay all our visa, moving costs, flights etc we felt we really couldn't turn the offer down so ended up moving out here with a 3 yr old, 1 yr old and me 27 weeks pregnant! Everyone thought we were mad grin

Almost 2 years on we love it here, have permanent visas so can stay, and hope to smile

I do look back at the move though and wonder how we managed it all so quickly and with very young children - I think when it is happening to you, you just kind of follow along in a kind of dream (well I did anyway grin ) and it didn't really feel like it was happening... I don't think it really sunk in until we got here, but I was so busy trying to find a house, a midwife etc I think it helped take our mind off the enormity of it all and we found it a lot easier to settle than many people I know have made the move.

Love. DH is a Canadian.

However, I had lived abroad before and traveled all over so I think I was primed to live somewhere other than the UK.

Problem is that you can never cross the same river twice. Here will never feel entirely like 'home' but the UK doesn't really now either.

WhatSheSaid Wed 23-Oct-13 05:54:45

Went on a years working holiday to NZ. Liked it and didn't want to leave at the end of the year so I got another work visa and then residency. Met and married dh here a few years later and have had 2 dcs since.

There wasn't a huge master plan, I arrived with a backpack and £1000 and never left smile

VerySmallSqueak Wed 23-Oct-13 09:05:38

I am loving these replies! I don't think you realise how fascinating these are for someone who has never had an involvement or experience of this whole other world.

MrsTerryPratchett - what a good reason!

I can definitely understand the pull of both NZ and Canada.From the pictures I have seen,both are beautiful countries.

I once looked into NZ with an ex when I was young and footloose. We had none of the requirements for entry though. (and he was a tosser anyhow,but that's another story....)

That's the sort of thing that I like the sound of WhatSheSaid. A natural evolution. Shows it is possible just to 'do it'.

I can imagine juniper that if you had stopped to think about what you were doing when you did it,you would have been terrified! Good job you didn't!

Ruprekt Wed 23-Oct-13 09:13:42

Dh is italian. And a chef. smile

Always wanted to have our own restaurant so we upped sticks, moved to Tuscany and ran our own place.

Ds2 was born in Italy. Water birth. Amazing! grin

Then dh decided he did not like the narrow mindedness of Italians, so we moved back to the UK. Had another restaurant in uk.

Have 2 boys. Very hard work to have children and restaurant.

Now in paid jobs in UK, glad of previous experiences, very happy!! smilesmile

lalasmum11 Wed 23-Oct-13 22:33:30

DH was made redundant and no work where we came from, so he started looking wherever he could. Was interviewing for all over the world, some attractive places some a little scary. We have ended up in Denmark and I got a job with my old company so it's working out well all around. Tbh I always wanted to live abroad again ( went to uni and worked for five year abroad before moving home), but thought we had missed the boat once kids came along. So was delighted this opportunity came along and I think it's a great chance for the children too to see life outside of our home country.

WallyBantersJunkBox Thu 24-Oct-13 23:45:12

Got headhunted for a role in my field, for a company based in Switzerland.

Didn't think much of the company, wasn't too excited about the country from previous experience.

Came over for a curious interview - loved the team atmosphere. Said I would give it two years. Moved over with DH and DC9.

That was over 3 years ago, love living here even though I am sick of the company (team are still great though). Ideally I want DH to get a job to take the pressure off me and some health issues I have had. He is working on it. Fallen in love with the country, and the lifestyle I have.

I will be very sad if I have to leave.

Alliballi Fri 25-Oct-13 23:24:10

Love! I married a US service member. We had planned on coming back to England after three years, but 20 years and six states later...I've made it to the East Coast!

I grew up abroad, wanted to live abroad when I had young children.

Had DC1 at 25, DC2 at 28 and felt I'd given up my dream of traveling to have children. So, when pg with DC2 and realizing I could no longer afford to work and DH was thinking about changing jobs I encouraged him to look outside UK (my work is freelance and project based so I'd only get work abroad for a month or two and wanted to do a few years somewhere else)

He got offered a job in LA when I was 8months pg, we moved here when DC2 was 2months, have been here 22months now

We'll most likely be here at least 2 more years, both of us up for living somewhere else after this but all depends if I can work (climbing the walls as SAHM and now waiting on my green card), aiming to take a 3-6month sabbatical when DC are around 6&9 then head back to UK to "settle" for the rest of their education

So I suppose I'm just recreating the childhood I had for my children (though I was in Sri Lanka and Lagos....somewhat different to California)

MrRected Sat 26-Oct-13 03:40:50

To escape the corruption, crime, disease and dangerous roads in South Africa. We left as we felt our kids were at best, without prospects, at worst in imminent danger.

Salbertina Mon 28-Oct-13 12:23:41

Hmm yes Mrrected, hear you. Its getting SO much worse in SA, just in the past couple of years and so many in denial here (with half an eye on their property prices, i reckon). I really wish we hadn't come, hard to enjoy it when you're in constant fear, cant work and it costs a bomb hmm

MrRected Mon 28-Oct-13 23:15:16

Sorry to hear that Salbertina. We too learned the hard way and pingponged between the UK and SA (moved three times), before finally acknowledging that the living conditions in South Africa, whilst tenable behind the electric fence were not really living conditions at all. It's a beautiful, amazing, creative, stunning country - but behind the facade, all that beauty and amazingness is at somebody's expense. I couldn't reconcile myself with that, or put my kids at risk, so we moved to Aus. Having said that if you choose to stay, then I understand that too. Try to enjoy the good bits and make a difference where you can smile.

Lavenderhoney Sat 02-Nov-13 18:27:17

Well my dh was offered a fabulous package and I had one dc, heavily pregnant with another, so at least a few years of me not working. He took the job.

Its fair to say I have hated every bloody minute of living in the Middle East and I have done all the meet ups, making friends, watching them leave / get divorced etc.

I find nothing more annoying than a head tilt and someone saying " have you tried making new friends?" I want to shout " yes! And I want my old ones!"

I often berate myself for not just deleting the mails when I had the chance.

DramaAlpaca Sat 02-Nov-13 18:58:25

This is a fascinating thread with lots of interesting stories.

It's not exactly exotic, but I'm in Ireland. Met Irish DH when he'd been working in the UK a few years. We were very settled & had no intention of leaving the UK. But then DH's job moved to the Netherlands & he did a weekly commute as we didn't want to move there - we had three very young DC & a nice life. Then things changed. He hated his job, I hated him being away, and we felt we need a major life change. We decided to try living in Ireland for a couple of years. DH got offered a good job almost immediately & we had the house sold & had moved within six weeks.

Fifteen years later, we are still here. We've just about survived the horrendous Irish recession & are very happy & settled here. I love the pace of life & the sense of community, and we are close to DH's family, who treat me as their own. Our DC have grown up with a big group of cousins around them.

Interestingly, a lot of our friends here have similar backgrounds. They are couples where one of them is Irish & the other is from overseas, who have lived in other countries but decided to settle here. I can't imagine living anywhere else now.

MrRected & Salbertina I know several families from SA who are living here now. They value the safe environment more than anything - but miss the weather!

MaitlandGirl Mon 18-Nov-13 07:59:18

My DP is Australian and moved to England to live with me and the kids (from a previous marriage). Things were going great and although we joked about moving to Australia we weren't really serious about it. We came over for Xmas one year with the kids to see if they liked it so at least we'd know if it was a possibility when they got older but we still weren't serious about making the move.

Then DP had a nervous breakdown and it became clear that we needed to move 'home'. It took almost a year for her to get back on her feet and once things were ok again we made the decision to move. We were here within 2.5 mths of applying for our visas and haven't looked back.

I've always had itchy feet and never saw myself living in England all my life, I was always looking for jobs abroad before I got married and encouraged my husband to look for work abroad but Australia feels like home and we're never leaving. We've been in this house for almost 2.5 years and it's the longest I've lived anywhere in ages but I love it. So for now it seems as if my wanderlust has gone for good.

SleepPleaseSleep Mon 18-Nov-13 13:18:44

What I say in summary is that it would probably be better abroad for us, certainly for our kids, and at least we'll have had an adventure out of life!

I had always fancied living and working abroad but never had the money (from traditional Northern working class background). Me and dh always seemed to be getting pee'd on in uk, so no big attachment to place, quite the reverse. Disadvantaged backgrounds, victims of unprovoked violence, etc. every time we tried to do something to improve our situation something came along and kicked us in the teeth. Fed up of paying taxes to support those richer than us while we were struggling to eat, only to be told when our turn came that the boat had left, that sort of thing. Could only afford to rent in inner city areas, not worse, but not best despite now both being working professionals. As soon as we could afford holidays we went to Europe to see if really was more socially equal and better culture, and it was. As soon as had kids really wanted out - not watching kids go through same - so dh started looking for jobs. Went with first offer to get out.

It is difficult being a stranger in a strange land, not very welcome as immigrants, and there's a language barrier for us. But we are living in a nice house in a nice area without fights outside our front door, the kids go to a school where older kids play with them not rob them of dinner money. Much better education system here, I believe better prospects for jobs whatever figures the uk produces.

Uk has gone to hell in a hand basket for working people who have no family support. The government always went on about Victorian family values and that's what you're getting - if you aren't born into right family you are stuffed. We had nothing to lose, and have gained an awful lot. Now we just have to see if I can get a job here too!

SleepPleaseSleep Mon 18-Nov-13 13:29:53

Ps we're in belgium. Not first choice, would have preferred Netherlands, but that was too expensive for us. We are not typical expats as not well-off middle class.
I was amused when what i thought was the fortune it was costing us to move turned out to be the amount middle class then-colleague was spending on doing up her bathroom. Her bathroom!

EspressoMonkey Wed 27-Nov-13 08:26:58

Lived in Milan for my job (ex fashion model, originally started out in London but i had a look that was popular in Italy so my agency based me in Milan but i did end up working all over). Lived in Paris, New York and now Switzerland for DH's job. Think we are staying in Switzerland.

arfishy Tue 03-Dec-13 00:54:34

I was offered a job in Australia, flew over and didn't want to leave. Previously I'ved worked in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Thailand with stints in Sweden and the USA.

I've stayed in one place for DD's schooling but I would love to carry on travelling. I'd be back in Bangkok like a shot.

This is so interesting. I have hugely itchy feet but DH doesn't so much, and he is more realistic I think in terms of knowing the grass isn't actually greener. I just have this gnawing feeling that a better quality of life is achievable elsewhere and am getting a bit panicky that as DC approach school age we'll be trapped in the southeast long term as we're unlikely to upheave their education on a whim.

Weegiemum Tue 03-Dec-13 03:31:14

We planned to - it didn't work out.

We were on the verge of resigning (dh) and announcing a move to Latin America in order to work in a development role (I'm a teacher, with SN, basic skills and TESOL experience - dh is a GP with lots of lone working, remote/rural experience). We'd visited a project, been interviewed and accepted, started looking for funding for initial 2 years.

Then one day I was wobbly on my feet. After a few days was stumbling - then fell on the way to the loo. Multiple number of tests later I was diagnosed with a very rare neurological illness for which there is only one treatment, a monthly immunoglobulin drip that cost the nhs £8000 a go. After that, moving abroad was impossible, as it's a lifelong disability. We can't ask any charity/voluntary org to pay that, we certainly can't afford it, and any insurance company would laugh in our face!!

Instead, we've sought (and got) work in deprived areas at home. Voluntarily moved to one of the most impoverished urban areas in Scotland (we were already in Glasgow) - I teach basic literacy/numeracy/storytelling skills mainly to young mums who left school with no quals, dh commutes to the most deprived rural area in Scotland where he's a GP.

Depending on how you look at it, sometimes a virtual "overseas" is just around the corner (sorry, that sounds really "worthy", I don't mean it that way!!)

Hazeydays Tue 03-Dec-13 22:17:33

I totally share your views on" överseas"and volunteering/different experiences in your own country weegiemum, sometimes what is on your own doorstep is truly heartbreaking

I had to leave Malawi for similar illhealth reasons and came back to Scotland, but I would say that there is just as much poverty, at least in the big cities, its just poverty in different ways. Good on you for the literacy work, education is such a basic need... keep on it and try to stay away from the hyndland n.i.m.b.y's!

I have a disability and was told I'd never be able to travel for work.

So I moved to Southeast Asia! grin

Isthiscorrect Fri 13-Dec-13 04:26:33

We are just looking for our next move, away from the ME. We've been here 7 years almost, DH is bored in his current role and company and DS will be off to uni in Sept, leaving here in June.
Dh is considering Australia, Indonesia and Burma, amongst other places. I'm open to anywhere I think, as long as it has good flights to DS in the uk ;-) it's certainly going to be interesting and I wonder what I will end up doing? I've always worked but I'm not really qualified, always been a bit of a blagger but with no DS I guess my options will be wide open hopefully.

fussychica Wed 25-Dec-13 18:39:06

Bought a holiday home (well a wreck!), hated coming home. Saw the chance to give up work so chucked in a VERY steady, well paid job and moved over. Stayed 8 years, DS did all secondary education abroad. Moved back 2 years ago - felt we'd had the best of the place. Enjoying living in the UK again - new area and no need to work. Wouldn't rule out moving somewhere else abroad in the future or splitting time between UK and overseas.

AngryBeaver Mon 06-Jan-14 01:48:13

Hi, my dh was unhappy living in the UK.
(He is Irish but moved to England to be with me after uni) hated his job. The weather. The crime rate etc
Pestered me for years to move ANYWHERE else in the world.
Quebec(!) Australia...I always said no, that I couldn't leave my very close knit family (plus we had 3 kids under 5)

But one day, he asked me to move to nz.
I asked him to prove we could have a better life with more money and I'd consider it.

So he did.

And we moved 2 years ago.

He has a good job, on a better wage than UK, with good prospects.

We live on an island called Waiheke in the hauraki gulf!
We love it here.

I miss my mum and brother terribly.

But the kids have a much better quality of life.

Things are very laid back. (No one wears shoes for example!)

But it's very expensive here in nz. Crazy prices! Shopping is crap.

All in all, it was the right move for us and we won't move move back smile

alexpolistigers Thu 16-Jan-14 14:03:05

I came to Greece to work on a 4 month contract, having previously been in Italy for about a year. I met my DH within two days of being here, and started learning the language. I am still here 14 years later, working in a completely different field. I love it here.

www Thu 16-Jan-14 14:11:33

Had some desire to move to spain when with dh, though loved italy but he'd never been. Dh died then I had dd and I still wanted to try it. Made redundant so took the leap 3 years ago when dd was 5. Still here but plan to return when she's 11. I do love it though some aspects are far easier in the uk. I want to be here now but quite ok about moving back too, though ask me again in 2 years!

DelGirl Thu 16-Jan-14 14:15:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kiwidreamer Fri 17-Jan-14 16:59:52

DH was then boyfriend and I were in our mid 20's and had just built a house together in suburban NZ, had only been living in it 6mths and decided we weren't too keen on seeing the next 40yrs stretching ahead of us doing the same thing day after day. Coincided with his parents downsizing their property so we sold our house to them and hopped on a plane to Heathrow within the next 6mths.

Selling up was the worst decision we ever made but you live and learn, a few years later the property prices in Auckland exploded but at same time the financial crisis hit so we were priced out of the property market.

We got progressively better jobs and had a quick trip back to NZ to get hitched, life got easier and more settled, then we had kids and my parents moved over here from the UK to be closer to us and see Europe. Five years later, they are going back in the Summer and our plan is to go back in 2/3yrs.

Our 12yr anniversary of being UK residents is days away and we are celebrating by getting our British citizenship and possibly buying a house?!

camrywagon Sat 25-Jan-14 18:42:44

2010 got a wisdom tooth took out - much pain and feeling incredibly sorry for myself. Got chatting to an Australian man on a forum about wisdom tooth removal pain (was a general chat thing not the focus of the entire forum!)...ended up forming a relationship and going out to see him - literally the most random and carefree thing I've ever done. An amazing 2 weeks together which resulted in a year of long distance relationship. Decided to leave my great job, the house I'd bought 3 years earlier and life in general and move out to Oz. Very out of character and i think most people I know and family thought I'd lost my mind...

3 years on we're engaged to get marry this year, I've got an assistant principal Job in a school I love and I am happier than I could ever have imagined I'd be.

I don't live in a 'popular' place in terms of what people think when they think australia but it's right for me - it's always hot, palm trees aplenty and it's incredibly laid back.

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