Settling in to Life in Australia

G’Day Mates! Kidding, I am pretty sure I can’t get away with saying that anytime soon. It is now exactly a month since I’ve been here in Australia and I am loving it so far! I know, total shocker right. The weather has been fantastic since I arrived, our house is a five minute drive from multiple beaches (hopefully getting a bike soon) and it’s been really nice for Stephen and I to reconnect and spend quality time together after being apart for 2.5 months. And I mean a LOT of quality time together, we barely know anyone around here…

Moving usually comes with its ups and downs and moving countries definitely is no different. Living in a different country puts you more out of your comfort zone because your norms are totally flipped around, sometimes literally flipped like driving on the other side of the car, AND the road. I am lucky to be in an English speaking country so it’s not as big of a transition as moving elsewhere in the world, but it still comes with plenty of new experiences. Today I am sharing some of what I’ve experienced in my first month of living down under. And since I prefer to end of a happy note- let’s begin with the not-so-easy stuff.

Shopping- Where do I go?

O how I miss you Amazon, Target and TJ Maxx- you have no idea! We do have a version of Target and TJ Maxx here but it is just not the same. You can’t compare to the amazingness that is our Target in the US or the absolute ecstasy that is Amazon Prime. I read Amazon is coming to Australia in 2018 so if that happens I may cry out of pure happiness. Shopping has been an adjustment for me for sure- I am having to relearn where to go for what I need. We are also living in a small coastal town, not very close to a major city, so when you’re trying to buy EVERYTHING for a house and don’t have many store options around (and you’re super picky) it can be frustrating. We’ve taken a few trips up to the Gold Coast which has 1000x the places to choose from. It’s come in handy when I can’t find what I am looking for around here, but it’s an hour away. For example, I looked everywhere for the perfect sectional couch- I had this idea in my mind for what I wanted but I could not find it. If we were going to shell out some decent cash for this piece of furniture I wanted it to be right. We ended up finding it, in the Gold Coast, and since they don’t deliver down here we have to make the trek all the way up even further to their warehouse in Brisbane to get it. Not convenient, but in the end it’ll be worth it. We actually pick it up tomorrow, AHHHHHH, so goodbye camping chairs finally. I realize this might be completely petty of me to be frustrated by shopping choices, but after living in Atlanta for so many years, with almost anything I could need/want easily accessible, it’s been an adjustment for sure!

Starting Completely from Scratch

Usually when you move your belongings might be unorganized in your new place for a while, but at least you HAVE stuff. You know, things to eat off of, places to sit, a bed. This past month we’d bought everything from appliances to plates, to a bed and clothes hangers- all the way down to the salt and pepper. I will say I feel extremely fortunate because of Stephen we are in a position where it hasn’t been a financial strain, but you’d be surprised how fast the home budget disappears. After all the shopping we’ve done the house still feels empty to me, and for someone who is extremely visual it’s not so easy. My surroundings really affect me- I am distracted by the blank walls, the empty rooms, and have ideas swirling around in my head constantly I can’t do anything about yet. If you saw my last apartment you know I like stuff around me, knick knacks and art makes me feel at home. But I am learning to be more patient and let them come together over time. I think the addition of the couch tomorrow will make a huge impact and let me settle down a bit. Also our shipment from the US containing artwork and more personal things for house arrived in Sydney by boat and should be coming to us next month- yay!

BEACH BEACH BEACH!

Some people are mountain people, some are city people, some are beach people. I’m probably a little combination, but coastal living is so ingrained in my being and who I am. Living near the ocean is something I’ve been wanting and dreaming of for as long as I can remember, and now it’s a reality. And not those beaches where it’s literally just sand and then condo, condo, condo- yea they’re nice sometimes but that’s not the environment I wanted (sorry Destin and PCB). Goodbye annoying spring breakers, frat guys and too many families crowding up the beach! No offense to the families but spring breakers and frat guys, get your shit together and act right.

Here in Australia and in particular our area, the beaches are private, expansive, clean, natural and peaceful. I’m usually at the beach a few times a week- either for a midday run/break from work or for a walk with Stephen when he comes from work. Last week after a busy day of errands we packed 2 beers, left the shoes at home and just sat on the beach for a drink, admiring the water and thinking how thankful we are to have this so close to home.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and bring eternal joy to the soul.”
— Robert Wyland, marine life artist

Working 100% Remotely at Last

Back in Atlanta many mornings consisted of dreading the alarm, rushing around getting ready for the day, sitting in my car for 45 minutes, office for 8 hours, car for another 45 minutes, then cramming in errands and more work at home just to hopefully enjoy a little bit of down time before doing it all over again. Even though I was working remotely while traveling around Europe, when I returned it was back to the in-office grind on a regular basis. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, I had taken strategic steps away from it but then circled back in order to make larger dents in my debt payoff. It was worth it, but I was so ready for the lifestyle change.

These days I am typically up by 6:30am for a coffee, then open my laptop to begin work around 7am. The morning is prime time to talk to my US clients because of the time difference so often I have a call or two first thing in the morning, then the day’s schedule is up to me. Despite the distractions of our empty house just waiting for a makeover I’ve found I am much more productive working outside of the office. No more people popping in for little things and interrupting my thought process- I feel I can actually FINISH things faster and be more efficient. Depending on my mood I’ll work from the dining table, my office or sit out on the front balcony like I am doing right now. I love having the freedom to work when and where I want, to take breaks when needed, and to be able to do errands during the day to places that are only open until 5pm. It feels great, and is definitely the type of lifestyle I have been after for a while now. My office, like much of the house, is still pretty sparse, but I have plans for a big collage inspiration wall and my prized Apple monitor should be arriving from the US next month.

New Beginnings and More to Come

The other day my mom cracked me up on the phone- she said “so what else is new besides, you know, your entire life”. Shes right, it’s literally like stepping into a new life (one that includes no dryer and me hanging all of our laundry on the clothes line outside, but that’s another story). I hope you’ve enjoyed a little look into this new life in Australia, and I can’t wait to share so much more! A few things I have planned coming up are a home tour, DIY projects around the house, a little closer look into relationships, and how you can ditch the “norms” of society and go after what you really want in life too.

Stay tuned, stay positive, and for God’s sake have a glass of wine, you deserve it.

For a more regular, behind the scenes look make sure to follow Sauvignon Blue on Instagram!

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Packing up the Past and Beginning New

Time is flying by- the apartment is almost all packed and our things leave on a sea shipment to Australia tomorrow. It’s hard to believe Stephen only has a few days left in America and I only have a couple of months! If I didn’t get rid of enough stuff before Europe last year I’ve really paired down now. A big move like this makes you reevaluate what really matters to you- instead of toting around a bunch of crap you don’t really care about. Around 80% of my belongings are gone since the beginning of last year and I’ve given away half my clothes. But moving out of this apartment is more than just getting rid of more stuff. I am not a very outwardly emotional person I tend to be very chill and even tempered, but I am definitely very sentimental.  Every move is almost a mini end to a life chapter, as it’s ending and the space starts clearing out I can’t help but reflect back on all the many things that happened during that time.

My last apartment was my first place all to myself and I loved it. It was the place where I became single again– even though it wasn’t the greatest moment at the time it is something I am SO thankful for now. I started traveling a lot and discovered new and exciting things about the world and myself. I grew my career, explored new ideas and made the decision against many people’s advice to leave the comforts and safety of a 9-5 to pursue something more than just working for someone else’s goals. It was where I was living when I met Stephen which led me down this crazy road to now moving across the world.

Fast forward a year and I am letting go of another sentimental place. Even though it’s not technically mine, I just kind of nudged my way in here after traveling for 3 months ;), it still holds a lot of memories just like the last one. I remember the first time I came to Stephen’s apartment, he made me the most delicious dinner that is still my favorite to this day and gave me books about Australian culture and traveling in Southeast Asia for Valentine’s Day. Funny how those two books will be quite useful now. Over the past year and a half we’ve laughed a lot in that apartment, made countless meals together (tapas night is one of our favorites!) and we’ve had many packing parties the night before a trip (by packing party I mean just us two packing our suitcases with a bottle of wine). Traveling in the Basque coast of France and surfing in Costa Rica may have been amazing and fun,  but it’s the everyday, tiny things that really connect us. We would talk about our dreams and aspirations for the future in that apartment- essentially it’s the place we fell in love.

He had a big map of the world covering one of his walls, and although now it’s been taken down for the move I used to stand in front of it often. Before Europe I would stare at all the countries I was about to see- places I honestly never thought I would have been going to any time soon because I thought I couldn’t afford it or would never be able to take enough time off work to go.

Then I learned anything is possible, you just have to get a little creative and push yourself beyond your comfort zone to get what you want.

After Europe I would stand in front of the map, reflect back on all my memories and dream about all of the other places around the world I would love to see next. Stephen had pins stuck in across the map for all the places he’s been- everywhere from Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, the U.S. and Central America. I couldn’t wait to add more to my list but I was so happy to have made a dent in my world traveling goals. I would look at how big the world is compared to our little corner of the United States, but at the same time how small it is thanks to today’s world and technology.

The past few month I’ve been standing in front of the map, but staring at one particular place- Australia. I would get butterflies in my stomach thinking about how much of it I have left to experience, and how finally I will be living close to the ocean- something I’ve wanted my entire life since we left California. I looked at all the surrounding countries– Indonesia, Japan, Thailand and New Zealand- and how I can’t wait to explore that entire part of the world. I am definitely sad to be leaving the apartment, but I am so ready for this next adventure.

Whether it’s a particular person, job or home- we have to let go of certain phases of our lives so better ones can begin.

 

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