I would love to say that when I moved to Sydney, Australia it was to further my career and take a time-out from my hectic London lifestyle. But in truth, like so many other people from Britain, I went to Australia because I knew I would have a wonderful adventure and I wanted a change of scene and climate.
I did love living in London. During your twenties what isn’t there to love about London? Pubs on every corner, theatres and a maze of cultural pursuits on your doorstep plus plenty of like-minded people living the same dreams. But it was time for a change.
I was lucky in that I had already been mesmerized by Sydney more than a decade earlier. In 1996 I was a young, dumb and blissfully ignorant 18 year old who went out a boy and more or less came back a man. The vibrancy of the city and the sheer thrill of being on the other side of the world was enough for me to become hooked. For six blissful months I had no parents to report back to, no exams to study for and a whole world of new experiences to let loose on. Of course the gorgeous summer months and a spectacular array of beautiful women didn’t exactly harm my trip either.
However, having later spent four years living in Sydney I can perhaps offer a more nuanced insight as to why so many of my fellow Poms, let alone other nationalities, continue to descend upon Oz in droves.
It’s the economy, stupid
The so-called ‘Great Recession’ in Europe following the GFC last decade persuaded people who had been made redundant and who had previously been living a safe and settled life to take a chance and travel, given the dire lack of jobs at home. Australia was always going to be an obvious destination. The UK had barely recovered from those austerity doldrums when it went and chose to embark on Brexit and its woes of uncertainty, and the flow of talent looking for a brighter day Down Under continues.
Away from the ‘Jim, nice but dim’ backpackers which inhabit Kings Cross and Bondi, I met many fellow 30 something’s who had a whole new lease of life with the loss of their jobs back home. These were very marketable people, given the skill sets they had, and with Australia quickly developing as a significant global economy I was one of a number of English recruiters watching and appreciating the rapid rise and opportunities offered to talented expats.
Same but different
It’s not just Australia’s economy that makes it one of the most appealing countries on earth. The world over knows how alluring and beautiful Oz is but we British folk in particular are very fortunate given that there are a great deal of similarities to make us feel more at home.
Sydney’s Paddington, for example, is a very creditable equivalent to a leafy London Notting Hill or Kensington. Even the pubs bare a certain similarity to the watering holes back home. Aussie shops, bistros and boutiques have again become highly fashionable and desirable and are just as good as an alternative, if not better, than their English high street counterparts. With the prices to match, I hasten to add.
Life is so good Down Under
With sunny beaches, an economy which is constantly expanding and cities that are more cosmopolitan than ever before, Brits and many other expats are actually making educated choices on whether they want to return home at all. When you mix in such a highly desirable climate, the never ending supply of sport, and don’t forget the Aussie ‘way of life’, Australia is a pretty damn good offering.