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Moving Abroad - who's done it/who wishes they could?

(62 Posts)
Earlybird Thu 03-Aug-06 03:44:30

What were/are your reasons?
Anyone contemplated it, and changed their mind?
For those who have made the leap, do you have regrets? What do you miss? What do you love most about your new life?

threebob Thu 03-Aug-06 03:49:16

I've done it.
I fancied a change, ds is a kiwi and had always said he would like to go home one day.

We sold or brought everything as I think you get on with things better if you burn your bridges.

I miss pork pies (though as I am now gluten free it's a moot point)

I have no regrets and love the fact that we are not totally broke despite having a 3 year old.

Alipiggie Thu 03-Aug-06 04:02:41

Love it here in Colorado. Moved here last October bar the fact personal life is shot to pieces nothing is wrong with living in the US. Weather great, everything cheaper and boys can be outside day in and day out. Moved for h's job and a better way of life. All I need is the love of a good man and I'm sorted.

Earlybird Thu 03-Aug-06 04:12:14

Interesting that both of you mention lower cost of living as a big factor. What does "quality of life" mean for you both - ie, can you elaborate on what are you getting in NZ and Colorado that you didn't have in the UK?

Alipiggie Thu 03-Aug-06 04:19:58

For me, feel safe going out at night, boys can wander around here where we live without constant supervision. They have a brilliant Montessori school where they're thriving. The SUN SHINES almost everyday, and I know you've been having great weather in the UK, but coming from Scotland it makes me so very very happy. People leave their doors open over here, violent crime is very low. Generally my stress levels went down (until personal problems caused great grief). I feel as though I belong here which I've not felt for a very very long time

Earlybird Thu 03-Aug-06 11:24:29

Here's an excerpt from a relevant/interesting news story that came out yesterday:

"More Britons than ever before want to turn their dreams of a new life abroad into reality, according to a poll. The number of people hoping to emigrate in the near future has doubled in three years. The survey for the BBC News website found 13% of people wanted to emigrate soon, compared to 7% of those questioned for a similar poll in 2003 by ICM. The figure is even higher among young people, with a quarter of 18-to-25-year-olds saying they would move to another country if they could.

More than a third of those wanting to move said they were looking for a better quality of life, with just under a third searching for a warmer climate. Almost a quarter said Britain was too expensive. However, 43% said family ties was the main reason they had not left yet. Only one in five liked Britain too much to leave.

Australia is the most popular destination, with 40% of respondents saying they would like to move there permanently. Spain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States were also named as favoured countries in which to begin a new life."

Callisto Thu 03-Aug-06 11:33:34

If dp, dd and I emigrate it will be for the quality of life which Alipiggie mentioned, but I would guess that you are reasonably rural? Am deeply jealous btw as Colorado is on my list of places I would love to visit.

MrsJohnCusack Thu 03-Aug-06 11:42:15

we're doing it - to the same place as threebob is - next month

Main reason for picking NZ is that my parents are Kiwis and are going back for good (they've been chasing the summer between UK and NZ for around 10 years) this winter. Also I'm a citizen.

Also, on top of that, the timing is right. We've both been made redundant within a year of each other, and DD is 20 months - we reckon it's easier to move before school becomes a factor. We're in London and can't afford to move to a bigger property without us both being at work full time and we don't want to do that (also have another baby due in Feb and nowhere to put it here!)

So, again, it's quality and cost of life. I want DD to be able to move and do lovely outdoors things and not feel like everything she wants to do is a major effort/financial stretch like it will be here. I love London and England, I really, really do, and I am sure I will miss the landscape, the buildings, the houses, all the things you can do. But I'm kind of hankering after a life here that we can't afford at the same time of living our family life the way we want to.

blimey I ramble. But the more I keep putting all this down in words the more it helps me realise that I'm saying goodbye to all my friends and the things I'm so used to in a few weeks. I think it's the right decision for all of us though.

MaryP0p1 Thu 03-Aug-06 11:51:04

I've done for all the reasons Alipiggie. Its is all I hoped and alot more because I earn more so work less, Because I can pick and choose my work I only do work which either my children come with me or fits with my family life.

I don't miss much BUT I know my DH has found it much more difficult than I and that has been the only down side. We have had rows because he's finding the change more difficult to adapt to.

Earlybird Thu 03-Aug-06 12:21:15

I completely understand the quality of life issue, and life outside the UK does, in many ways, seem to be easier. But, do you have any concern about moving someplace that's affordable/easy etc, but too parochial? Small minded?

There are definitely days when I feel ready to leave UK/London (tiny flat that costs a bomb with few prospects of upgrading due to expense, dirty streets, dodgy and often unpleasant public transport, concern over schools, etc), but then I wonder if I'll miss the diversity, the fast/stimulating pace, the culture/museums/theatre....really the sense of being in the middle of where things happen.

It's an interesting dilemma because it's inevitable that dd will be a very different child if she's raised in London than if she's raised elsewhere.

monkey Thu 03-Aug-06 13:06:55

I've done it. always wanted to. I've lived in north east, south east, midlands and london and didn't like any of them, lol.

Seriously, had ds1 in london & was pg with ds2. got a chance to emigrate, leapt at it. never looked back, very happy, no regrets at all. Moved here specifically cos of dh's job, but I wonder in my morbid moments what I'd do if he died , ie would I return to uk & I think no way. we're in switzerland btw & the quality of life for the whole family but especially the children is ime & imo totally unbeatable to what we've experienced in uk. we return most school holidays to visit family, esp now we have serious illness in the family. Dunno if I'd want to go much further afield. Central europe is still long schlep to get back when you need to.

for me not one regret.

I don't miss anything (alwys stock up on decent tea when I go back). And enjoy a good shopping trip every time I return. cos shops def better in uk

you got anywhere in mind?

SSSandy Thu 03-Aug-06 13:29:21

Well I did Earlybird and I think the quality of life is a lot better generally here - but not in EVERY respect of course. However, I'm thinking a lot lately that I'd love to move again. I'm in a bit of a rut but I find it difficult to imagine living in the UK with dd because it would be so much more expensive to achieve the quality of accommodation/schooling/healthcare we have here. I also feel safer here.

I think the UK is a great place to live but I wouldn't want to move back there with dc long-term unless I was very comfortably off TBH

How much of all the nightlife and cultural life that London has to offer do you actually use these days? Would you really miss it as much as you fear? With small kids, I wonder if you wouldn't benefit more from having a garden, more space etc - things that would improve your quality of life on a daily basis.

Know how you feel though, it is difficult to contemplate moving to the wops and living in suburbia for ever and ever. There are halfway houses though, it needn't be either/or. What about a smaller town near open countryside/coast but with some kind of cultural life?

arfishymeau Thu 03-Aug-06 14:11:06

I'm a Londonder and have lived in Holland, Germany, Italy, Thailand and now Australia. I've also spent months at a time in the US and Scandinavia.

For me, I saw that there was a lot more to offer overseas. It's by no means a nirvana - nowhere is perfect, but there are many places better than the UK.

At the moment I'm in Australia, and I'm very happy here, especially with DD. I'm in Sydney, so it's maybe a little more like London than other areas, but it's still a beautiful, healthy place, with a much greater social sense than London - eg the school my daughter will go to, at the kindergarden level sponsors a number of children, donates to charity every month, teaches the importance of recycling etc. This is all at 4 years old, and continues as a basic part of their education until they leave.

People are more friendly and much more aware of a global responsibilty rather than being selfish. Australia also looks at the world - I hear much more about other countries in the news here than I have done anywhere else.

When I first came, I had to teach myself to smile and exchange pleasantries with people on the street - it was completely alien to me.

I will be very happy for my daughter to grow up here. All the schools have acres of land for sport, and sport is a very important part of life - completely the opposite to the UK.

I loved Holland (very liberal, friendly, open-minded and fair people, and that's not just about the drugs, as I hate them, just their attitude), and I also loved Thailand, the people were friendly and genuinely lovely and I wish I hadn't left. I would happily live there, although I am a bit uncomfortable about being a 'rich' expat in Bangkok.

Any regrets you asked - none. Absolutely none. Travelling has made me a better person and I am privileged to have had the opportunity to live in so many places.

I miss my friends in the UK and some stupid material things (M&S knickers, the ease of buying interesting and varied things from all over Europe, online shopping, decent broadband etc).

Since leaving the UK I've realised the good things it has - for example, it has excellent animal rights and welfare. The choice in supermarkets is amazing and being able to get to Paris or Brussels in 50 minutes is fantastic. Theatre is the best in the world, as is the history.

Whatever happens, and wherever I go, I can still go back to the UK. That's the bottom line. Whether I do or not, remains to be seen

Callisto Thu 03-Aug-06 15:00:04

Brilliant post arfishymeau. I feel really inspired now.

Earlybird Thu 03-Aug-06 15:43:28

Yes, there's alot of food for thought here and it always help to put things on paper - or to read the experiences of others who have considered the same choice.

My situation is an odd one. Doesn't matter much where I am for work, so there is good flexibility there. Two years ago, I returned to London with the intention of packing up the flat and putting it on the market....and I just couldn't do it, as it made me very sad to think of leaving London behind completely. I stayed, put dd in nursery, and she has just completed her first year of reception.

But, I have a house in America that is sitting empty and in the longterm I can't afford to keep it if I don't live there. It is my dream house, and everytime I return to it (summers, Christmas, Easter break), I relish the physical space, the ease of moving around/getting things done, the extended family, the much lower cost of living, the outdoor life, the medical care (scares me to think of being old/sick in London), the sunshine (and the air conditioning! )etc. It is a very comfortable/easy life here, but also insular. There is little cultural or economic diversity in the world we inhabit in America. I am not lesbian, in a mixed race partnership, aetheist, etc - but there is historically not much knowledge of/tolerance for those differences. People don't know alot about International affairs, and quite frankly don't much care. There are alot of "Desperate Housewives" types around that I can laugh about during brief visits, but who might drive me mad if I had to be around them constantly.

London seems such a mess, and the newspapers make such depressing reading. Skyrocketing housing costs for even modest space, immigration out of control and the subsequent pressure on services, rail/tubes disintegrating, schools getting worse, health care declining where basic operations can take months on waiting lists (and filthy hospitals where you potentially get sicker than when you were admitted), etc. etc.

Oh, I could go on. I really feel torn, and appreciate being able to think out loud here, and to hear the thoughts of others who are thinking about the same things.

SSSandy Thu 03-Aug-06 15:50:38

ok you've just helped me make the decision not to return to the uk

foxinsocks Thu 03-Aug-06 15:56:47

you mention the NHS & schools as one of your negative points but tbh I see those 2 things as positive

I've lived all over the place and one of my sisters (who lives abroad) was saying to me the other day how she hates having to pay medical insurance and all the other charges connected to that (so fees for medicines, top-up fees) plus the fact that if you are diagnosed with anything that may affect your future medical care, your insurance gets bumped up!

and although there are still some not very good schools in this country, there are some good ones aswell and the fact that your child can be educated well for free still counts as positive for me

Alipiggie Thu 03-Aug-06 16:04:20

Callisto we live in Erie, just outside Boulder and I get to gaze at the Rockies every single day. We go up to Nederland (laugh as h is dutch) for lunch, we're going up into Rocky National Par for a few days soon. It's wonderful, clean air, very little light pollution where we live. It is very very Child friendly here, all restaurants seem to cater for little people.foxinsocks the only thing is here that all the hospitals medical centers are beautiful clean, new buildings. You wait one week to get a consultants appointment. The NHS may be a great idea, but having lived in Scotland where you wait 18mnths minimum for a consultant. I have no qualms about paying for the healthcare here. But as you said we are reasonably healthy. But even the community hospitals have medicare (for those who cannot afford to pay) and round here these are brand new facilities too. Guess we're lucky in Colorado. I'll never look back

MrsJohnCusack Thu 03-Aug-06 16:08:01

yes FIS I think I will miss the NHS because it has been very, very good to me - am actually worried about leaving my fab GP (my last one was fantastic as well) and my gynaecologist(s) who have also helped me so much in the past....and just knowing it's there makes me very happy indeed.

I will also miss the cultural things in London and the feeling of being at the centre of all the action. But we just can't live how we want to live here and I'm fed up with compromising. I am so going to miss London though - and especially round here, Richmond etc.

DD will still most likely be going to a state school in NZ, but with a LOT less trouble hopefully than trying to get in her into one where we are the moment....

foxinsocks Thu 03-Aug-06 16:08:54

it does sound lovely there - I've not been to Colorado

SSSandy Thu 03-Aug-06 17:05:01

MrsJC my mum found her GP - and medical staff generally - fantastic in Wellington. It's one thing she felt she would really miss. Everyone makes their own experiences of course, but I really don't think you'll be missing the NHS when you're in NZ, other things perhaps

MrsJohnCusack Thu 03-Aug-06 17:06:06

must say my parents rave about how much better the medical stuff is for them in NZ but they are old and embittered with London and you can never tell what's the truth!
also must say the maternity care sounds better than I'd get here, hope so!

foxinsocks Thu 03-Aug-06 17:07:05

are you going for good MrsJC? if your family is there, I'm sure it must make the transition a bit easier

SenoraPostrophe Thu 03-Aug-06 17:10:20

yes - you do learn to appreciate the NHS and british schools (well, primary schools at least) when you live abroad. Much as I didn't use them too much when I was in the uk (had kids in spain), I miss both badly.

what I don't miss: people whinging the whole time about the state of the nhs etc

apronstrings Thu 03-Aug-06 17:12:05

we are in washington dc - been here nearly three years moving back next spring. No regrets , been hard work, def things I will miss.

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