Migrating to Australia
One of the first things my (now) husband, Mike, said when we started dating was he was “going to live in Australia”. My initial thought, “So what?”. I had just come out of a marriage, had two small children and no intention of getting too involved again for a long time, let alone moving to a foreign land! Well…. Never say never, right?  We stayed together, (I still say I’m on the rebound) and we visited Australia a few times on holidays.   Of course I fell in love with this “foreign land”, especially Queensland. The children (then around four and eight years old) loved the fact they might be getting a swimming pool and have kangaroos in their garden.

Fast forward 13 years – we got married and were still in the UK.  In the interim, we started and built up a successful kitchen and building maintenance business and were living a fairly good life, although Australia was always at the forefront of our plans.  Of course we were not getting any younger, and in 2006 it became a “now or never” decision to emigrate, but there was a big problem.  The children had grown up, had their own lives planned, and moving to Australia was not one of them.  I had to make that awful decision – follow my dreams and leave my now grown children behind, or stay safely in the UK to be near everything and everyone I knew. I also knew staying would be devastating my husband’s lifelong dreams. And as you can correctly surmise by where I am posting this blog, we know the outcome of that! But believe me, it was not an easy decision.

Luckily, I brought the children up to be very independent – and it was actually my children who gave me the permission to leave – Kathryn, by now 21, had already met the love of her life and really only wanted to buy a house, get married, and start her own family; Christopher, at 17, had dreams of being in the music business and had gained a place at a university in London so he was leaving home, too….. and so the decision was made to start our Oz adventure.

Getting the initial visa was a nightmare, and getting our permanent residency once we were over here, well I almost had a nervous breakdown –  I could write a book on that……..but in the end, we did it – Yaaayyy!!!

Suffice to say, after six years in beautiful Brisbane – buying, working in and selling businesses (a Newsagents and Barber Shop), then completing a Beauty Therapy Diploma and a Colon Hydrotherapy Diploma, and making lots of lovely friends along the way we were very happy – but Noosa was calling.

So here I am in this wonderful, magical place. Nearly four years later, I still feel like I am on holiday every day. And one of the greatest outcomes of moving here is meeting some awesome women in Life Beyond 30 who are such a huge support whilst I grow my new business, Foxtail Retreat.  Of course the price I pay is not seeing my family very often, or being able to cuddle my two beautiful grandchildren since born, it is made easier through the wonders of technology!  They know who I am and I get to “see” and talk with them regularly. In fact, they call me Nanny Kangaroo – which is better than the alternative “The Poo Fairy” which is the other name I go by.

By Leslie O’Halloran