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Published: November 7th 2015
Well how about this then? 2,555 days ago or seven years ago today we left home, on a rainy Friday at Heathrow airport, en route to an exciting new adventure in Australia.
It’s hard for us to equate or even remember what we have done it has been so huge and then I usually write something like “has it been worth it?” so I won’t! Not this time anyway.
I guess when we look back to the series of events that lead us here we have to thank our dear friends Gary and Karen Barber who initially asked us if we wanted to accompany them to Australia for a five week holiday in 2006/7 and that’s when the die was cast for our love for this enormous country.
When we lived in the old country we never knew that this freedom could be afforded as we only ever believed that a holiday could be a number of weeks that were taken from work and that was that, but of course, life, mortgages and other bills always needed paying.
Now looking back in perspective of the last seven years, our lives have been an amazing adventure and still
to this day we often have that moment when we say “Can you believe it! we are living in Australia?” and just do something that we now take for granted
Before we left the UK I can remember going in to Waterstones the book store to purchase a Hema map that Caroline had ordered from Australia,we still have it in the Landcruiser in the pocket at the back of my seat and is now all marked up with the route we took when we circumnavigated Australia, and when we also came across for East to West when we came across to Western Australia, the map looks very shabby now and of course its out of date and has seen better days, but we cannot bear to part with it, this was of course all before Caroline started to do our mapping with Hema maps on her iPad using GPS technology. That aside even without Sat Nav or GPS tracking Caroline could usually tell within 10 metres of our old paper map where we were, it just makes it that much easier with GPS navigation.
A massive part of our adventure was the blog, which started its life out
as a mechanism to tell our family and friends that we had not been bitten by a snake or eaten by a crocodile, yet little did we realise that we were slowly and surreptitiously being turned in to performing dolphins as we expected people would be equally enthusiastic to let us know what was going on in their lives and we were openly and honestly sharing what was going on in ours.
When we travelled we lived in a vacuum of no information, we were hoping that our friends and family would tell us, any UK news they thought we may need, like who’s had a new puppy or who’s going where on holiday, but oh no, people would say to us, “I arrived early in to the office, made myself a coffee and opened my computer just to read your blog as I could not start my day without it” no pressure then.
Back in the days of our big circumnavigation we would usually get about 3000+ hits a month, sadly that has slipped down to about a 1000 hits a month, though we have passed 160,000 hits on Kangaroojack’s Travel blog site which I do think
it quite impressive. Of course Travelblog is all about travel and our travel is somewhat limited by that Work thing that we all have to do, but happily there are always things on the horizon.
So much has happened in the last seven years, if you have read every blog then you have been there with us, only two dimensionally though, I don’t mean that disrespectfully but unless you have been here its just so hard to put in in to perspective, just how massive this adventure has been.
You may think this is an odd thing to say but I am very proud of Caroline, she left to UK as a typical Girly Girl, and very quickly morphed in to this very capable, independent person, who was prepared to make difficult sacrifices and take on situations that were way out of her comfort zone and she embraced them and I just watched her grow day by day.
We have had some difficulties to overcome, our citizenship fiasco was just a pain in the arse and even though we went toe to toe with the Australia Government and won on the moral high ground, we lost as
they wouldn’t or couldn’t change legislation and had to wait another year before we eventually earned our Australian Citizenship, it was soul destroying to be told our application was a year too early, to get so close to the finish line only to have our hopes prematurely dashed but there you go, it’s all water under the bridge and now we are legally entitled to hold an Australian and British passport, which I think is pretty cool.
The other hardship was the work situation, we were both really lucky to work on a contract that allowed us, through work to continue to travel to some amazing places which was awesome, like Christmas Island, a place close to my heart certainly and a place I’m sure not many people will have ever been too.
Western Australia has been tough to settle in, to rock up in a new state is hard, but then I guess to rocking up in new country was even harder, I think it needs putting into a reasonable context. Arriving in W.A turned out to be pretty rocky, but that is just the way life rolls sometimes and we did deliberately turn our lives upside
down once again, for the adventure.
Losing my mum, was really tough I was mentally prepared for it I thought !, being 16,000 Kilometres away when you need to be back in the UK in the snap of two fingers is impossible and It was tough, even tougher as Caroline could not be with me as we had a house sit (& work) commitment and there was no way in the world that would make us renege on a promise, but these are times when you realise you have people in your life who would go the extra mile, or kilometre to be exact to help you out and that is a great feeling, without overplaying my part as narrator, a big thank you to Jan and Teddy Davis and the rest of the Davis clan, you made my evacuation out of Australia seamless and I thank you for that.
Now for the good bits, I would say to anyone, you really do want to come to Australia, it’s awesome, yes the sea is full of various types of sharks, jellyfish, and so on, whilst on we have something like a 100 different venomous snakes the top 22
deadliest snakes in the world, quite a few spiders that really can deliver a fatal bite, lizards that are 4ft long and animals that not only have beaks, but lay eggs, in a nut shell this place is amazing and we have seen a good proportion of it. One of our favourite sayings is to have to be very lucky to see a snake and very unlucky to be bitten by one, yes I did say lucky, if you get the chance to hold a snake do it they are just beautiful to hold, very smooth, warm and not slimy (note: we have only held non venomous snakes and don’t try this at home!)
This country is just so huge we have barely scratched the surface, granted we have done a lot more than most of the residents, but that was just a fluke really, but it did change our perspective, on travel.
We have some great things coming up and we have visitors from England this coming festive season, (well it beats a turkey) John and Hillary Benton and their friends Jim and Dawn are coming over and will arrive with us in Perth just after boxing
day, wow our first visitors in 7 years, standby by for this one, we will do all the touristy Western Australian things with them as there is still a lot for us to see and do as well. We hope of course, that somewhere they can hold a snake, stroke a Kangaroo, eat Kangaroo (not the same one) and pat a Koala it has to be done and all that, it should be a blast.
We will be house sitting over Christmas at the foot of the Perth Hills and the owners are very kind to let us have our visitors stay with us and enjoy their bush property.
And finally a roundup of the meteoric blog of our first seven years in Australia.
When we rocked up on the 4th
February 2009 at Woodstock, that’s when I think our Australian world really opened up we were as green as grass, I don’t ever know if Helen and Robert looked us up and down and thought to themselves that these two poms will never make it but they gave us so much encouragement and support and Helen taught us so much about Australia, strangely enough it was
like we were being taught another language it was amazing and now we use this vocabulary,
Woodstock became what I believe was my spiritual home, a place where so many adventures good and not so good happened but we are thankful they did, I can honestly say the debt we owe to so many people can never be repaid, for all the kindness, people have shown us, it’s just amazing, so many people have gone out of their way for us for which we are truly grateful.
Without sounding conceited we have never had trouble making friends and its great to know we have them dotted around, all over Australia, our 4 wheel drive clubs, back in Canberra and now in Perth have been a fantastic source of fun and we realised it was another great way to go and explore this beautiful country and its amazing scenery and wildlife, that is why I took the position of Vice president with the landcruiser club and also as Base operator with VKS737, its about giving back as we have been given so much which we are so thankful for
To us, the real Australia is so easy to
access, yet not that many people do, distance are hard to comprehend as they are just so massive,
And to travel blog we were really proud to be asked to write the description for Australia, doing something so important, we called it the lucky Country go on read it and tell us what you think.
This has been a really difficult blog to write as the job is just too big to put in to words.
The easiest thing to conclude this blog entry with, is this: To everyone in Australia who we have had an interaction with, its fair to say you have made us feel welcome and the friendship you have shown us has been truly awesome, we love this country, don't come for a Holiday come for an adventure!
We hope we have summed up our first seven years, I know this blog feels a bit disjointed but it was so hard to write, I suppose it needs to be read in conjunction with the other 1187741 (One Million, one Hundred and eighty seven thousand , seven hundred and Forty One words) we have written and the 9218 photo's we have published
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