Yes, you heard that right! We are moving to Australia and we leave June 29th. And no, not just for six weeks like our recent escapade to Mexico City. This move is for at least two years, maybe three or four. We do plan to come home one day though, unless Australia sucks us in and doesn’t let us go.
About two month ago, while we were living in Mexico City for Matt’s short-term expat assignment to do some training in his company’s Mexico City office, I received a text from Matt at about 11 AM: “Want to move to Sydney? Let’s talk when I get home.” In Mexico, Matt didn’t usually get home until about 9PM and infrequently answered texts or calls because the office internet was so bad, so I was left for the next 10 hours to sit and wonder, my mind racing.
My gut reaction was NO WAY! We had just picked up our family and moved to Mexico City for six weeks, and it had been a pretty daunting task since we’d had less than a months notice and had added a toddler to the mix, which added a whole new dimension we had never had to deal with on previous travels abroad. I didn’t want to go through it all over again, and on such a grander scale. However, deep down, I think I knew that there really was no big decision to make. Matt and I live for this kind of adventure. We thrive on traveling and seeing new places. We love the challenge of meeting new people and making a new home. And so, within minutes of getting Matt’s text, I cast my work aside for the day and immediately began researching everything I could find about moving to Sydney (I think I have found that information gathering is my way to deal with change; it is my antidote to the fear of the unknown).
The opportunity hadn’t really come out of left field, although it certainly took us by surprise. A couple years ago, when Matt was transitioning back to the U.S division from his company’s Canada division (which operates out of their U.S. office in La Jolla), they had asked Matt to start working in the Australia division. He’d stay in the U.S. office, but work Australia hours, which meant Sunday through Thursday, 3PM to 11PM. I flat out said no. The year in Canada had been sort of a flop, whereas Matt had been killing it in the U.S. market before he switched. I thought he should go back to what was tried and true. Also, I think I was pregnant at the time, and the thought of Matt not being home in the evenings and having such opposite schedules really bothered me. I think I made some sort of offhand comment that I’d rather move to Australia than him work odd hours.
Also, Matt’s time in Mexico City had been very successful. There was talk of him becoming some sort of regional liaison for their Latin American division, which would mean a bunch of short 2-3 week trips to places like Brazil, Colombia and Spain. We knew his role at his company was likely changing, but were definitely surprised when they asked him to become the Country Leader of their Australia Division.
When Matt got home that first night after sending the text, he had very few details more to provide. All he knew was that they wanted him to take over the Australia division, and they wanted it to happen soon. We decided to wait until their full offer came through before making a final decision, but we both knew it was a go. As a final act of “responsible decision-making” we made a pros and cons list. This is something we do before most major life decisions. It’s not really intended so much to help make the decision, but is more a way of acknowledging all of the drawbacks and agreeing that we are both willing to accept them so neither one can blame the other later on. Our list ended up having about 20 items on the “con” side and only a handful on the “pro” side, but there was one on the pro side that overrode all the cons:
Living life to the fullest by taking on new challenges and adventures – and teaching Theo to do the same.
Some of our other benefits and drawbacks included:
- Exploring and getting to know a new home (It definitely helps that Sydney is surrounded by harbor and ocean and very outdoorsy)
- Travelling – a lot!
- Building Matt’s career
- Spending quality time together as a family without all the distractions of our busy lives
- Leaving our family and friends
- Leaving Maebee behind for 3-4 months while she completed her 180 day at-home quarantine and then her having to fly 15 hours to Australia and spend 10 days in actual quarantine in Melbourne where we can’t visit her.
- Leaving our beloved apartment and Ohana community.
- Missing out on opportunities to advance my career.
- Sydney is supposed to be incredibly expensive – so much so that even with Matt’s pay raise, we are anticipating losing money during this adventure.
- Spending hours upon hours on a plane with a toddler.
As you can see, the con list can go on and on. And they aren’t small things. Nonetheless, “with great risk comes great reward”. And so, in just a few short weeks, our family will be setting off on our next adventure.
I plan to continue this blog as a way to share our stories and adventures with friends and family and keep in touch. I’m also planning to hopefully grow this blog into a site where I can share the information I’ve spent hours researching about moving to Australia and what life is like in Sydney as an expat family as a resource for others following in our footsteps. I hope you enjoy reading and following along. And, as always, we’ll have an open door for any visitors who want to make the trek, so please come!
We’ll miss you terribly!
Megan, Matt, little Bear, and Bee