Faraway File #7 – Olivia: Melbourne, Australia
This series aims to give a snapshot in to the lives of parents living far away from home – the good, the bad and the ugly! If you'd like to be featured, I'd love to hear from you – please get in touch!
When I hear about people like Olivia Wilson, it puts my faraway move in to perspective. I jumped on a plane (having done a recce several months earlier) with just my husband and 7 ½ hours later landed on the East coast of America; Olivia and her husband had two kids in tow (Poppy, now 8, and Monty, 4) and literally moved to the other side of the world – Australia – having never even been there before! What’s more, since arriving they have sampled life in two different cities and don’t seem to have kicked the wanderlust yet! Olivia charts her family’s adventures over on the awesomely-named blog The Wilsons of Oz; you can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Give us the basics: where are you from, where do you live now, and what took you there?
In 2015 my family and I left a fairly sleepy, relaxed, countryside life in Somerset in the UK to live in Australia for four years. We had never properly considered Australia as an option as we had never been here, but knew instantly that it was too good an opportunity to miss out on. Initially we moved to Sydney, and in December last year we headed south to Melbourne for a taste of life somewhere new! We love having the opportunity (and the guts) to move around, and tend to grab the bull by the horns whenever the opportunity arises.
How does where you live now compare to your home turf?
All four of us adore our life here in the southern hemisphere. We love everything about it. It’s so far removed from our life in sleepy Somerset, it’s hard to imagine what we used to do with our time. We stepped off the plane, bleary-eyed, and have not stopped exploring since. Australia is the most wonderful country, and there is so much more to see than we ever imagined. It’s enormous, yet we are hoping to have covered most of it by the time we move on.
And what does that mean for your family?
I’m well aware that the longer we are here, the harder it is going to be for all of us to leave, but I think that is one of the most wonderful things about expat life. Having the opportunity to fall in love with every destination is what makes the ‘nomadic’ life such a treat. I am getting so settled here that I’m almost worried I won’t want to move again: that scares me!
How has your life changed since making the move abroad?
Life here for me personally is a world away from the life I had at home. I have been a stay at home mum since I had Poppy who is now nearly 9. My days were filled with entertaining the children, changing nappies, running errands, laundry, housework, playgroups, seeing my friends every day. Now, here, I have both of my children in full-time school so I am on my own, embracing the time I have to look after myself, write more and find ‘me’ again; as dramatic as that sounds. Being a stay at home mum is incredibly rewarding, but also demanding, tiring and soul-destroying at times. I felt like I needed to reinvent myself after such a long time out of work, and I am absolutely thrilled to be doing that (in between walks on the beach!).
Mrs Wilson’s top tips for moving to Australia:
- Check out just how far away it is!
- Head to www.thewilsonsofoz.com and ask as many questions as you like about expat life, the big move, schools, how to deal with no free babysitters when you arrive…
- Great advice from me to you: As soon as you arrive or even before you come, sign the kids up to an out of school activity. It’s an awesome way for them to meet friends if they haven’t joined a new school yet, and a great way for you to find mums to drink wine with! Hey, we all need buddies!
- Hello Sydney! an Adventure Around the Harbour City is a beautifully illustrated book about the city of Sydney, and a must-buy/read if you are travelling here. Plus, once the children have read it, it looks awesome on the coffee table.
- Having all of our furniture shipped from the UK was the best thing we did. We have all our creature comforts, including my teapot and our comfy beds. It made our new house feel so homely straight away.
- Homesickness is real! It’s real and it’s ugly. Once you have sobbed into your gin and tonic a few times though, it gets easier. You begin to live with it, tucked away, whilst you live the most extraordinary life of wonderful experiences. Honestly, I still get homesick, but I would rather live for the now, and know deep down that we are in the best place for us at this time.
- Being a faraway mum is by far the most challenging, exhilarating, awesome thing I have ever done. The grass IS always greener so just keep moving!!
Are you forever faraway, or is this just a temporary thing?
For me, I think the need to be nearer family is far greater than the desire to be an expat so far away in Australia, and that’s why we are making the most of being here, right now, living in the moment, and seeing as much as we can. I would hate to leave and regret not seeing everything we possibly could have.
What advice would you give to parents considering a move far from home?
My advice to anyone with a family wanting to make the move to Australia is ‘do it’! Don’t live with regrets. Life is too short not to take some risks. There are so many adventures waiting to be taken, so why not start now, move out of your comfort zone, take a chance on life, and be enraptured by what you find!
I quite often think about the quote below, and it makes me realise just how wonderful being a faraway mum really is for our children:
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Olivia, you make moving across the world with two kids in tow sound like a breeze – I’m in awe!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences and your brilliantly positive outlook on ‘nomadic’ life. I’m off to google family holidays to Australia right now….