A dream without a plan is just a wish.
It’s that time of year again when we look back over everything we’ve achieved in the past 12 months, beat ourselves up for not doing enough and start thinking about where we want our lives to go. Maybe you’re setting goals about your career or your finances, or maybe you’re planning on extending your family or moving home. Or maybe you’re creating vision boards to manifest the life of your dreams in 2017.
Just stop for a moment, and let yourself dream about this one thought: Where do you want to be this time next year?
My big dream – Christmas 2012
When I’d passed through the haze of having my third child, I started to feel scared. I could see our lives rolled out ahead of us. Our kids would go to the local primary school as the other schools were too far away and were oversubscribed anyway. We’d have to stay in our small house long-term as my erratic freelance writing income wouldn’t let us increase our mortgage. It felt like our lives were ruled by a routine that was OK but it wasn’t amazing. We felt stuck. Looking forward, all I could see was more of the same. Our lives were happy enough, we were healthy and we had things pretty easy. That should have been enough for us. Only it wasn’t.
Around this time, many of my mum-friends started to retrain in a career they felt passionate about. That gave them a new challenge which was awesome. But for my husband Matt and I, it was our lifestyle that needed challenging rather than work.
A few months later, Matt found out that his ‘safe’ job where he’d worked for almost 20 years was going to end in the next few years. It would leave him and a few hundred other people in his trade unemployed. It was the kick we needed to make us look at our options.
We’d talked about moving to Australia ever since we’d been backpacking a few years earlier. We’d come back from our travels expecting twins, so that had stalled our plans, but we still often dreamed about making the move. We now had three kids under five to think about – and Australia was REALLY far away from grandparents.
We kept talking about our options. We were trying to find somewhere closer than the other side of the world that we both liked as much as Australia. We thought about Nova Scotia in Canada as we had a possible work opportunity there and figured it was half the distance away. But we both hate the cold. We also liked the idea of Cornwall or the Isle of Wight, but neither offered Matt work opportunities.
We decided to go on holiday for a week and work out once and for all where we wanted to move.
On the final morning of our break, after lots of talking, online research and list-writing, we both woke up and knew that Australia had won out. I can still clearly remember the feeling of excitement and butterflies in my stomach as we started to make plans.
We could easily have waited for the redundancy to happen, but that could have taken years. We wanted to start living our lives, rather than feeling stuck any longer. Plus we knew how fast life could change and we didn’t want anything to get in the way of our dream.
It felt so liberating to finally know where we wanted to go. We started our application straight away. Just over a year later, after selling our house and packing our belongings, we left Hampshire and landed in sunny Brisbane (you can read a more about our journey on my website).
Life is For Living
It’s so tempting to sit back and live an easy life. But life isn’t meant to be easy – it’s meant for living. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from trading your OK life in for something that could be spectacular.
Moving to Queensland has been the best things we’ve ever done in our lives. I get scared to think how easy it would have been to have stayed where we were. It’s not that our lives are better here than they could have been in the UK; it’s that facing such a huge challenge of moving abroad opened us up to more opportunities and experiences. We got off the treadmill of life and reminded ourselves that we deserve to live a great life, not just a good one. We’ve grown and changed in so many ways, all because we took a risk together.
Family Life Down Under
For me, life’s all about experiences, not things. If we’d stayed in the UK we’d have kept our house equity and we’d have received a redundancy pay out at some point. Moving to Australia was expensive and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do to be where we were financially. But our lives are so much richer for the experiences we’re having here.
My kids handfeed kangaroos and cuddle koalas at wildlife parks, they swim like fish in our swimming pool, they’re learning life-saving skills in the ocean at the local surf club, they see the stars at night instead of streetlights, they eat fresh paw paws and mangoes off the trees in our garden, they’ve been on holiday to some of the most stunning sand islands in the world, they’ve hand-fed wild dolphins and stroked the shells of 50-year-old sea turtles…I could go on and on.
Our ‘routine’ now is to have fun, to explore and have adventures together in the sun. We still have chores to do, and DIY and all the boring stuff like homework and bills, but it all feels much easier to do knowing you can jump in the pool and fire up the barbie when you’re finished!
This move isn’t for everyone. This lifestyle change is only for families that want it badly. It’s hard work to move abroad with kids, and there’s a lot of pressure finding work and houses. You miss family and you feel homesick at times but it’s all down to your mindset – if this is the lifestyle you truly want, then you will make it work and you will thrive.
Commit to Goals, Not New Year’s Resolutions
Whether you’ve been lusting after episodes of Wanted Down Under like I used to, or you’ve got dreams of a big career change, or you want to get fit and healthy – where ever you want to be this time next year, there are two things you need to do to make sure you get there. The first is to write down where you want to be and how you’re going to get there. A dream without an action plan is just a wish that will never come true. The second thing is you need to surround yourself with a community of people who get it. You need to find your people.
With a strong plan and your cheerleading squad behind you, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. So commit yourself right now to some epic life-changing goals, not silly New Year’s resolutions that you’ll break tomorrow.
Comment below right now and tell me where you want to be this time in 2017!
PS For any of you in a dilemma about whether the move to Australia is right for, you can grab my cheat sheet of five easy decision-making tactics to help you figure it out. Making the decision is the first step towards your new life, but it is also the hardest step. When you’ve done that, pop over to join my Move to Australia Facebook group and come and say hi to other families who ‘get it’.
For more help in migrating to Australia see Karen’s website Smart Steps to Australia and find her on Twitter. You can also read other posts that Karen has shared on BritMums about writing a book and harnessing a community.