On 1 January 2016, in Australia, we reflected on our achievements and memories from 2015 and considered our New Year’s resolutions for 2016. We had always dreamed of living in the UK. We had even bought 100 square feet of land in Scotland several years before as a conservation activity. We had two children still at home, the oldest turning 18 in January 2017. We decided that we were going to move overseas by September 2016.
Living in Scotland
We now have ‘Settled’ status, meaning we have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK. We can next apply for British Citizenship anytime from December 2022. We applied for ILR in August 2021 and were granted permanent residency in December 2021. Due to Covid, there was a backlog, and we couldn’t pay for priority processing.
We still live and work in Glasgow. One son has flown the nest, and our other son will be in his place by the end of the year. An empty nest is quickly approaching. We’ve worked from home for over two years and still enjoy the experience.
The push for a second Scottish Independence referendum (Indy Ref 2) is still getting media/political attention. We survived Brexit (although there are some socio-economic challenges), and we are sending love and light to Ukraine. Covid has cemented itself for now, and Monkeypox is playing the second row. Covid restrictions are mostly finished, but peeps continue to test positive. Knock on wood; we haven’t had Covid at all (to our knowledge).
Spring is nearly done, with Summer due in a few weeks – not that you’d know. It’s been quite cool and very wet, with maybe a handful of sunny days in Glasgow compared to parts of England, with a forecast of 29 degrees this week. We’re still in long pants and jumpers between 3 pm and 10 am (well, at least I am).
We’re planning a 2-week road trip to Cornwall and Wales in September, and the US and maybe Australia again in 2023. We visited Australia for two weeks in February 2022 to visit family – a very long flight, especially in two weeks. The next visit Down Under will be longer than 2 weeks.
Thinking of moving to the UK from Australia? Leave a comment below with any questions 🙂
Living in Australia (rewind to 2016)
- We were living on the world’s largest island – Australia. We were about to move to the UK, a country on the other side of the world.
- We were experienced in moving within Australia. We had visited or lived in every state and territory. We had relocated from one end of Queensland to another – from Cairns to Brisbane. We had also moved several times between Brisbane, Queensland and Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
- We had travelled overseas, including Thailand and the US, several times and twice to New York City. But we’d never actually travelled to Europe or the UK.
- We had decided that we were going to move to the UK. Permanently. Sight unseen. Moving nearly 16,500km (10,250 miles), the crow flies from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, to Glasgow, Scotland.
- We had the opportunity with a UK Ancestry Visa to move to the UK and live and work there for 5 years or longer, after which we could apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain and, a year later, British Citizenship.
- We could then be dual Australian-UK citizens and enjoy the benefit of being able to work and travel without time limits and ridiculous flight costs from Down Under to the rest of the world.
Living in the UK: Our first five years (2016-2021)
- Christmas time 2018, we were advised our landlord would sell our apartment, so we had to find somewhere else to live. In March 2019, we moved 4.5 miles (7km) closer to Glasgow City and a nice 10-minute walk from a train station. We moved from a furnished rental to an unfurnished rental, luckily with a fridge, washing machine and dryer. Our rent went up, but our commuting costs and time went down, so that was a bonus. Parking is a lot easier, and it has an ensuite and a dishwasher. So overall, our quality of life went up.
- We are a family of four (mum, dad and two working-age sons). All of us have had multiple job changes. We were impacted by redundancies and fixed-term and zero-hour contracts that ended without further opportunities, and some of us resigned due to unacceptable working conditions. There was lots of job searching and interviews right up to Christmas. For similar reasons, we will all likely change jobs at least once in 2020.
- Our salaries fluctuated, as did our savings. Unexpected bills saw us dipping into our bank overdrafts, applying for credit cards and learning about how credit history works in the UK. We got through with credit scores in the green (which is good).
- Our car got a sudden flat tyre and needed to be towed to a tyre repair shop for a replacement. Our car refused to start one wintery morning and got towed again. Thank you, Green Flag roadside assistance. Our car is running beautifully, still only £20 road tax, and she passed the MOT without any additional work required.
- We fell on icy footpaths (something we do every winter so far).
- Up to three of us have been working from home since March 2020, so the main living room is a half lounge and a half home office with two desks and four office chairs.
- In 2021, we visited Medieval York, Alnwick Castle and Hadrian’s Wall (Housestead’s Fort and Vindolanda). We enjoyed a 2-day road trip, including Loch Ness.
- In mid-2019, I had an unplanned solo trip back to Australia during the winter (about the same temperature as Scotland in Summer). It was my first time in Australia since we left in September 2016. I loved spending time with family and friends, including our young grandson, whom I had only met via WhatsApp.
- In addition to my 2 weeks in Australia, we had our first trip to Europe, visiting Berlin for 3 days/3 nights. We explored London for the first time (we usually transit through Heathrow Airport) for 5 days/4 and nights. And, one of our sons spent 2 weeks in Spain.
- We had several mini-stays in Scotland and England. Manchester for the cricket (Ashes match). Newcastle, London and Drimsynie (in the Scottish Highlands) for work events. We enjoyed overnighters in Inverness, Edinburgh and on the Isle of Skye.
- We completed Scotland’s North Coast 500 – once in 2018 and again in 2020.
- We wrote about the highlights of our first 3 years living in Scotland.
- My mum visited for the second time in 3 years (I think she likes Scotland).
- We saw War of the Worlds live performance – the night after, we saw Frankie Valley and the Four Seasons – at the SECC in Glasgow.
- We had good times with our Glasgow friends and made many new ones. We consumed a lot of beer, whisky, and gin (cognac and rum) and ate too many pizzas. We used our Unlimited Cineworld movie card in 2019-2020 (before Covid restrictions), seeing close to 50 movies, including a Star Wars triple-feature for Rise of Skywalker (6 pm to 3 am).
- We went on regular day trips out of Glasgow. Our Historic Scotland and National Trust Scotland memberships let us visit ancient sites and walk through mansions, castles and palaces for a fraction of the entry price (for a small monthly subscription).
- We ticked off several items from our bucket list, including Rosslyn Chapel, Holyrood Palace, Falkland Palace, Duninos Den, The Whangie, Arthurs Seat, Outlander filming locations and the view of the Christmas Markets at night from Edinburgh Castle. We watched Australia play Scotland in rugby at Murrayfield Stadium.