Do you dream about emigrating? Find yourself asking what it’s all about? Do you ever question why it is that you or your husband work all year for a measly couple of weeks off in the summer? Dream of a different life? An easier life?
For those of you in the northern hemisphere it’s that time of year again. The sun is out, the kids are nearly done for the year and there lies ahead a couple of weeks where your husband (or wife) is off work. Two weeks that you will spend as a family.
You may go camping, you might fly to somewhere foreign or you could simply stay at home and enjoy the garden.
After day three you’re into a blissful routine. One which includes everyone. You sleep in later, you make lunches that are more exotic than a cheese toastie, you stay out late in the garden with a bottle of wine and let the kids go to bed hours later than is usual. You put the fairy lights on. You smile more. You’re happy. You walk, you talk, you relax. You remember why you and your partner got together in the first place. You muse about how fabulous life would be if it could only be this way always. Life is much easier with the two of you around. The kids argue less. You are so much more relaxed.
And then you begin to question. What is it all for? Why are you working your backsides off for a two week holiday in the caravan? Is this it?
Photo by Lawton Cook.
You start to fantasise. If we sold our house and bought something over there, we could be almost mortgage free.
You’d only have to work two days a week. We could open bed and breakfast. You could work from home. I could teach yoga or a writing course.
You pour another glass, you become excited.
You start to google.
You can’t remember the last time the two of you shared something other than the Weetabix. You tell the kids to put a film on. They can’t believe it, it’s 9.30pm but you don’t care. You can’t interrupt this exciting dream.
The decision to emigrate.
The above scenario is usually how the seed is sown. And whereas some will wake up the next morning and shriek “my god, what were we thinking? Your Mother would kill us” Others, will suggest going for a long walk to carry on the conversation. Take the idea further. They will have the laptop out on the kitchen table with ‘best places to emigrate with kids’ typed into the search bar. Before the kettle has boiled.
Are you one of those people? We certainly were. From the moment we made the decision to sell up to the day our feet landed on New Zealand soil there lay approximately 9 months.
This is not written to persuade you, nor dissuade you from throwing everything up in the air and chasing your dreams to some faraway land, no. It would be rather hypocritical of me to do the latter, considering that’s exactly what we did and have never looked back.
Dreaming is wonderful, exciting, but… there always has to be a little but.
I know of so many families that went through exactly the same process as us, only to return home a year later with their tail between their legs complaining that it was not how they thought it would be. Nobody wants to go to all that expense and trauma of saying goodbye to family and friends, only to be home in time for the new year sales.
photo by Morre Christophe
If you are in the honeymoon period of your emigrating plans, you may want to consider the following three points. Remember, these are not meant to deter you but to give you a gentle reality check. You’ll thank me in the long run. Be honest with yourselves. If you are emigrating for the any of the following reasons, you might just want to book a week in Spain and recharge your batteries.
So then, before you put the dog into kennels, tell the school to stick their fundraiser where the sun don’t shine and burn all your bras in the belief that when you get there, you’ll be a free and easy hippy, read on.
- When you emigrate you will become a different person. Moving countries doesn’t change the person you are. Don’t believe for one minute that although you are a sarcastic, unfunny, control freak in your current country, you will suddenly become some sort of Mother earth who sits playing harp in the wheat field waiting for her children to finish talking so she can gently mutter humorous, wisdom filled observations about the state of humanity. No. You will be you. He will be him and they will be them. Of course, circumstances change the way that you react to the world but ultimately, you will still be you, a few thousand miles won’t change that.
- You will no longer moan about the weather. If where you live receives a bucket load of rain, then no, you won’t moan about that so much. In fact you’ll be glad of the occasional pour but remember, no country is perfect. Sooner or later you will start complaining about the flies or the constant need for sunblock. You will start to hear about how the crops aren’t growing or that the cows are hungry because of the shortage of grass. Yes, a nicer climate is lovely, and it’s wonderful to be able to plan outside activities and know you won’t be rained off but be aware, a different country doesn’t mean the end of whining about some aspect of the weather. It’s universal. It’s the law. Want to moan? The world over does it about the weather.
- You’re going to be rich. No. You’re not. As I mentioned earlier if you are moving to a country where a property isn’t as extortionate as your current residence then yes, you will probably have at the very least a significantly smaller mortgage. Hurray! But I’m sorry to tell you that that’s where it ends. It’s all relative. If you don’t have to find a large mortgage repayment each month one of you probably doesn’t need to work (hurray!) or, you both only work part time. As a result, you have less money coming in. Yes, you have more time- which let’s face it, was probably one of the prime motivating factors for emigrating, but being wealthy? No. In fact, you will probably have to step down a notch in the finance department. You can’t have both, money and time. Unless you are very, very smart, and let’s face it, if that were the case you would have done it at home years ago.
Emigrating to another country is a life changing decision. It is enormous. It is one of the most exciting, challenging, daring and rewarding adjustments a person can make in their life. Throw into the equation a family and the waltzer gets faster. But please, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Only you and your family will know what they are. If there is anything whatsoever you would like to ask me about, please do.
Those that have emigrated find it hard to answer the never ending question of “so, why did you leave?” Make sure you’ve got your answer ready.
Who knows? Perhaps you just couldn’t face turning the fairy lights off.
photo by David Pentek