Since moving to Glasgow last year, we’ve been asked the same question many times a week by the locals, “Why?” Or more specifically, “Why did you come here?” This is usually closely followed by, “I’ve heard of the other way ’round. People moving to Australia from Scotland. But not to here.” This is often accompanied by a curious look and then silence while they eagerly await our response.
Scotland – Land of the Brave…and four extra Aussies
They say the further north you travel in the UK, the friendlier the people are. We have discovered that the Glasgow slogan, ‘People make Glasgow’ is spot on. We’ve come across very few rude people up north. Most people are also cool with our dark sense of humour and say it how it is manner. Not sure how Aussies are received in London or the rest of the UK but in Glasgow we’ve had no worries.
Gotta love a country whose national animal doesn’t exist (anymore) – the Unicorn
Why we moved to the UK
Well, there’s no mystery. Simply put, we moved to Scotland because we always wanted to live in the UK. When we got together as a couple, we shared that in common. And, we’ve always been drawn to Scotland.
Our first snow trip to Perisher Valley in New South Wales, Australia was a day trip. Neither of us had seen snow before and we were like big kids (at 30’ish years of age). We said then that we’d love to live near the Highlands of Scotland. DARE. And now we do. DONE.
Why we chose to live in Glasgow
We chose Glasgow for a carefree lifestyle where jobs are plentiful, versus the tourist hotspot of Edinburgh where the cost of living is higher and the job market is more competitive. There are also many other reasons why we love Glasgow.
Living in parts of England was also attractive but we didn’t like our chances of being able to achieve what we did in the first two months in Glasgow. We suspected we would run out of money before we got established and then have to fly back to Australia… mission failed.
Our instincts were spot on and after 3.5 months in Glasgow, we’re all very happy and nicely established.
We remained prepared to leave Australia
We waited twenty years to emigrate to the UK so that our younger children were a good age to come with us. We love our family and friends who still live in Australia very much. We miss them dearly and think about them often. But, life goes on for all of us and we must live the best life we can. Where we want to live.
It’s one of the main reasons why we didn’t invest in real estate and we simply rented in Australia. Sadly, for many, the dream of home ownership appears to be the only dream you can have. Forced to choose between the dream of home ownership and the dream of living in the UK, there was never any competition.
We both grew up with stories of adventures, over the seas. We could never ‘settle’ for staying in Australia. And once you get the taste of travelling, and you like it, you’re forever pulled in different directions – namely North, South, East and West…
We always knew that one day, the greatest liberation would be selling everything (well, nearly everything) and moving to the other side of the world. Where we could start over fresh and explore the world… where everyone else lives.
Australia has its challenges
Australia is geographically isolated from the rest of the world, so overseas holidays cost a fortune. Living in the UK, we can travel affordably whenever we have annual leave from work. It’s as simple as jumping in the car or hopping on a bus. No flights necessary most of the time.
It is also bloody hot. Even living in one of the coldest parts of Australia, in Canberra, we couldn’t escape the heat. Minus 10 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next! No matter where you live you need air-conditioning and in some places, central heating as well.
Australia is drought-stricken in most parts. There is either no water or the water is salt water or polluted by mining operations. No good for humans and animals alike.
Other areas of the country aren’t easily accessible from the coast, so are used as transit areas mostly.
Many parts of Australia are national parks, shaped by ancient volcanic eruptions (Great Dividing Range) or taken over by Australia’s natural environment (Daintree). Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are surrounded by them. The landscape forces people into high-density urban living.
Residential developments and necessary roads, water, sewage, electricity and telecommunications services can be severely limited outside major metropolitan areas. People who choose to live in less-populated areas need to fend for themselves when it comes to water, food supplies and fighting bush fires.
About 80%+ of Australians live less than 50km from the coast in the major metropolitan areas of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
You can’t live and work in a desert
Even though Australia is the world’s largest island and the planet’s sixth largest country after Russia, Canada, China, the USA, and Brazil – it can’t hold a very large population because it is largely inhospitable.
Many parts of Australia don’t have sufficient arable land for crops and nearby population. There’s also many dangerous animals – but that’s another story. As the population increases, so too does housing density. Living in high-rises is becoming common place. I’d rather live in New York City if I have to live in a high-rise.
Have a look at the diagram above. The vast majority of Australians live in the green and blue parts, with some scattered in the purple and darker orange areas in the north and north-east. Most Aussies live on the South-Eastern seaboard of Australia (the right side). The yellow and light orange parts of Australia are basically one large desert. Little to no rainfall. Minimal ground water. Little to no food.
With climate change drying out our ‘sunburnt land’ even more, it sounds like it’s time to move somewhere cool and wet. Scotland! Freedom!