Playing the waiting game

Over this past weekend, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and looking at apartments/houses in Melbourne. I viewed a couple of different apartments on Saturday and then spent a lot of time looking round the different suburbs, even making my way in to the centre of Melbourne to take a look around! After all that, I’ve pretty much decided on the area I think we’d like to live in so I spent most of Sunday applying to various different estate agents for properties I’d like to see and even making applications for a few of them!

Now comes the painful part… Waiting. The place I liked the most has been on the market for around 4 weeks now, without anyone having made an offer - Which I see as a good thing! I made an offer on Saturday after viewing and am really keen to make it our home! The estate agent reckons that my application will be processed today and they’ll run through reference checks etc. I’m pretty keen to have the application happen as quickly as possible, so as soon as I can, I shall be ringing the agent!

Keeping Busy

When we first began planning the move to Australia, Charleigh and I both knew that during the interim, whilst we apart, we’d both have to keep pretty busy. Mainly for the sake of sanity, but also to be as effective as possible in the process of getting our move underway.

I’m glad to say that so far, that seems to be working out really well! So far today I’ve viewed 2 different apartments, of which I’ve loved both! I’ve been invited to an AFL game this afternoon and I’ve got plenty of work to get done over the rest of the weekend!

Charleigh seems to be doing fantastically as well and I’m so very proud. There’s a house viewing back home tomorrow and she’s trying to work as much as possible between now and July when she will also be making the big move!

I’m so excited, I’m just really trying to make sure everything is ready for her and Ellie when they arrive! Though, it’s pretty certain to say I won’t be buying a car in any hurry! The average price of a car over here is insane compared to the UK! I guess that’ll just have to stay on my “To-Do” list for now!

On how the west destroyed the east

I’ll try to write this from a fairly neutral perspective, though given what I’ve seen so far on my travels and my personal thoughts towards this subject, that may be slightly difficult.

I’ve been really fortunate so far in life, I’ve travelled a hell of a lot in a fairly short space of time. As such, I’ve been blessed with being able to see some of the most beautiful places on the planet. But in being able to see places like this, I’ve also come to notice more and more, how the west has heavily influenced these distant countries.

In a lot of instances that’s not at all a bad thing, it’s allowed for things like mass production, employment etc… But at the same time, has (I believe), begun to damage a lot of traditions. I know this sounds fairly antiquated, it sounds like I’m saying all countries should stay as they were and never evolve.. But that’s not true! What I’m simply saying is, I think that the west has affected the east in some ways that we had no place to do so… I spent some time in Singapore during my trip over to notice that all the bars were very “British”, even the plug sockets in the walls were the typical 3 pin UK ports… Is that not a little strange?

I’ve always been of the opinion when travelling, that if you’re abroad, you shouldn’t have your typical meal for dinner. What’s the point in going thousands of miles, to simply sit in a McDonalds? Or eat fish and chips? If you’ve made all that effort to escape the UK, or the US I suppose.. Why not go the extra mile and try a dish you’ve never eaten before? This is purely an example, but it tends to be my theory for travelling. And that theory seems less and less plausible if every country I visit is becoming more and more like the country that I’ve attempted to escape in the first place?

My rant is most certainly not over, I just wanted to voice my opinion!

Australia - Where did the time go?

Well it’s official, I’m in Melbourne! The trip was incredible, given I  think it’s just about the longest trip you could make from anywhere, it  was all very smooth! My first flight from London to Singapore lasted  about 12 hours, but was fantastic. I flew on an A380, so there was  plenty of room and I’m surprised to say, even the food was good! I had a  4 hour layover at Chingai airport, but the place was huge! I spent a  good few hours walking around the shops and even had time for a drink  and a look around the butterfly house!

By the time I’d finished looking around, it was time to board my  final flight to Melbourne. In all, that was also a great flight. It was  fairly empty, so I had the benefit of being able to lie down properly,  which was wonderful!

Finally, at 6am, I landed in Australia! To start with, it didn’t feel  all that different… That said, I hadn’t slept properly for a good  couple of days, so it was definitely quite a lot to take in! Since  landing, I’ve spent a couple of days in the office, I’ve sorted out a  phone, opened a bank account and I’m currently sat in my hotel after  having had breakfast, waiting to go and view a house! I’m looking to  view/apply for as many places as possible, in the hope of having the  best chance of moving in to somewhere fairly quickly, so that when  Charleigh and Ellie come over in July, we’re all set to go!

Australia - One step closer

We’re not quite there yet… We’ve still a long list of tasks to accomplish before we officially move, but nonetheless as of today, we’re one step closer to our move! First thing this morning, I finally, officially, submitted our VISA application! It’s taken quite some time to get this far, as we’re a “De Facto” couple, the amount of evidence we need to supply is utterly endless. It’s been a strain to be perfectly honest, we’ve gone back and forth with our immigration lawyers for weeks, so I’m very happy to say that we’ve reached the end of the first phase of our move!

We’re not all the way there yet though, first we have to ensure our VISA is approved. Once we get that far, then things will happen very, very quickly… From a work perspective, I’ve pretty much handed over all my accounts, I’ve been training some new hires over the past 6 weeks or so and they’ve got up to speed very quickly. From a life perspective our “To do” list looks like this:

  • Await VISA approval
  • Book flights
  • Say final goodbyes to friends and family
  • Pack our entire life is to as few suitcases as humanly possible
  • Book a hotel in Melbourne
  • Once we then land over in the new, promised land:

    • Check into hotel
    • Open bank accounts
    • Find new home and move in to said home
    • Find and buy a car
    • Begin our new lives…
    • That last step there, is really the most important. The entire list is quite a lot of work, most of it has to be done within a week of landing in Australia, so I envisage it being fairly stressful, but once it’s all out of the way and we’ve begun to settle, we’ve got all the time in the world! I’m really looking forward to the silly things, like trips to Ikea to get our first sets of furnishings, making our house a home… Then, we can enjoy our new lives.

Our VISA application

I’m starting to get slightly irritated with the process of my VISA application…

I was sent through a large portion of the documentation 2 weeks ago. Given they’re after a serious amount of information it’s taking some time for me to get that information together, but was asked by my lawyer to begin sending through what I had so they could begin the application for me. Fast-forward a week later and I receive another mail saying that actually, they can’t begin my application until I fill in two more forms and apply for private health insurance in Australia.

Now, that’s fine – I can deal with the extra paperwork, but I can’t deal with them taking 2 weeks of the 6 I have left before moving, to forget about extra forms they need. It’s kind of irritating, you’d think that an immigration lawyer would have some practise in this and some idea of what work needs to be completed when? I waited for 4 weeks for them to get in touch with me in the first place!

On moving anywhere

I think it’s worth bearing in mind at the point, that I’ve moved up and down the country countless times, I don’t particularly find moving house difficult by any means. I tend to have a fairly set way of going about moving and that also includes a basic “to do” list to go with it!

  • Check out public transport links for preferred areas
  • Visit said place
  • Make offer to estate agent
  • Flat deposit
  • First months rent
  • Transfer bills to my name
  • Buy any initial household goods (Washing machine, Curtains… All that rubbish)

Whilst somewhat condensed, that’s essentially the process I’ve stuck to when looking for somewhere to live. However, I now have to go through a completely new process. To start with, I have absolutely no knowledge of local areas within Melbourne.

Granted, it’s easy enough to look these things up on the Internet now, but I just don’t find that as good as first hand experience.

The next issue I have, it’s once we’ve found a place we’d like to live, we then need a bank account for a reference etc. and to pay bills! But I cant get a bank account without an address, oh the pain of irony.

Next, we’ll then have to make a move (given we rent unfurnished) to buy everything we’ve ever bought, but this time Australian! I obviously can’t send all my household electronics over, they won’t work and quite frankly it’s a waste of money!

When all this is finished, we’ve got our house, car and we’re all settled.. Then comes the hard part. This is something neither Charleigh or I have done before, but we’ll need to start looking at schools! I can’t imagine it’ll be too difficult, but having never done it before I certainly have slight reservations about the best way to go about it!!

The closer we get to the idea of the move (visa applications and all that), the more I just want it to hurry up. I don’t by any means want to rush through this, I really look forward to all the stuff I’ve just mentioned, I love the challenge! I just want to get out!!

Creature comforts

Following on from my post about our move to Australia, I thought it would be a good time to write about how I’ve been thinking about moving to other countries in the past and what some of the decisions have been based on. I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly fussy person by nature, it would just appear I’ve developed habits based on requirement.

The first of these creatures comforts (if you like) is food… What is the food going to be like in Australia? I have a couple of allergies (worst being nuts) and so over the years have become fairly fussy about the way I eat. Ive really expanded on that over the past few years and have generally got a lot better. But I feel a slight discontent not knowing what’s coming.

The next thing I’ve really got in to a habit of, is moisturisers. I have rather severe eczema (as you’ll see from a previous post) there are only a hand full of creams I can use and whilst I’ve been able to find one of them on the Internet, I’m not sure if it’ll be the same day to day routine I have over here?

Finally, and this is less of a habit, is clothes! What’s fashion like over? Will we look stereotypically British? Not that I’d mind, but Id hate to not be able to buy the clothes I like? Shoes! Do they stock size 12s?? WHAT ON EARTH WILL I DO?!?

Moving to Australia

Charleigh and I have both been sitting extremely quiet on some big news for a little while now. I recently applied for a new role within my company, in our Melbourne office. For weeks we’ve been waiting and today I was finally told the role was mine! This news is absolutely fantastic for all of us (Charleigh, Ellie and myself). There’s nothing quite like a new start especially when it comes with all the challenges/fun facing us when we land down-under!

The change will be big, bigger than I could perhaps conceive at this point… It means leaving behind everything I’ve known, but brings with it an entirely new set of experiences. Realistically, distance is no longer an obstacle in the world I don’t think. The likes of Skype make staying in contact over long distances easier than making coffee, but to be truthful, I think a larger part of the experience will be building new friendships over there.

There will always be a place in my heart for my closest friends, and this is by no means an attempt at trying to leave them, simply a way to expand on my life experiences and try something very few people are as lucky, or even get the possibility to try.

My line of work will be changing somewhat, I’ll be taking a more managerial role within the company, with a team reporting directly to me, but still working closely with retailers as I have done for most of my working life. That in itself will be a big change, and something I’m really looking forward to conquering!

No doubt over the next weeks and months, more will develop. As it stands, my new role technically begins on April 1st, however, I still have to train my replacement and handover all accounts before the move can officially begin.. We still have VISAs to apply for, houses to look through, bank accounts to open.. Absolutely everything needs to be started from scratch essentially, so there’ll be plenty to talk about!!

Public Transport Rant

So it may well seem like I’m just generally moaning at all public transport, I have to be honest, I am. It’s shit.

I’ve spent years taking buses and trains all over the country, through cities and all across different countries, I can, without a single doubt guarantee that the UK has the worst public transport system ever created.

Why are the buses and trains always late? Get a watch, Germany manage it just fine.

Why are they constantly over crowded? Get more trains and buses with the money you get from the extortionate rates your charge your customers.

Why is it so difficult to get from one place to another? I don’t want to have to transfer at 6 places via 2 different methods of transport just to get to work on time.

I’m particularly aiming this at TFL (Transport for London). The Olympics are next year and the messaging you’re sending out is that everyone in london should add an hour to their commute time. An hour?! I can walk almost anywhere in London in that time, what the fuck? How about you take the £36m (more likely £57m) from United Emirates and build a transport system that doesn’t suck? The revenue London is going to see coming in from tourism could easily subsidise the cost of a stupid cable car from Greenwich to Canary warf. I mean, there’s already a tunnel connecting those places?!

Seriously, what idiots let our current government control this? Privatise it, maybe it’ll become slightly skewed in it’s perception of money-making, but hey, it might be like the mail service where everyone will be competing for a cheaper and better service!

Public Transport Rant

So it may well seem like I’m just generally moaning at all public transport, I have to be honest, I am. It’s shit.

I’ve spent years taking buses and trains all over the country, through cities and all across different countries, I can, without a single doubt guarantee that the UK has the worst public transport system ever created.

Why are the buses and trains always late? Get a watch, Germany manage it just fine.

Why are they constantly over crowded? Get more trains and buses with the money you get from the extortionate rates your charge your customers.

Why is it so difficult to get from one place to another? I don’t want to have to transfer at 6 places via 2 different methods of transport just to get to work on time.

I’m particularly aiming this at TFL (Transport for London). The Olympics are next year and the messaging you’re sending out is that everyone in london should add an hour to their commute time. An hour?! I can walk almost anywhere in London in that time, what the fuck? How about you take the £36m (more likely £57m) from United Emirates and build a transport system that doesn’t suck? The revenue London is going to see coming in from tourism could easily subsidise the cost of a stupid cable car from Greenwich to Canary warf. I mean, there’s already a tunnel connecting those places?!

Seriously, what idiots let our current government control this? Privatise it, maybe it’ll become slightly skewed in it’s perception of money-making, but hey, it might be like the mail service where everyone will be competing for a cheaper and better service!

Is time wasted?

I’ve always been really good at managing my time, as I described in my last post I have a huge client list, but manage to stay on top of it whilst also helping out other colleagues. Sometimes though, I feel that my time would be better spent on other tasks?

I’m currently on my way down to London, on the 6:15 train out of Birmingham. From there I will catch the 9:12 Eurostar to Paris and head out for a 1pm meeting.

This is fine by me, it’s always worth seeing a client, but I’ll have spent the best part of 6 hours travelling this morning, through which I’ve been unable to do any work… This means that by the time I get back home (about midnight) I’ll have a day to catch up on.

I can’t help that feel, given the industry I work in, face to face client meeting are a slight waste of everyone’s time? Maybe we should make better use of Skype or GoTo Meeting?

Never go on holiday

It’s been said many times, if you go on holiday you won’t have a job to come back to. That’s really not so, but the case here is if you go on holiday, you’ll wish you hadn’t!

I have a fairly high workload, I always have… But that’s not for lack of trying hard, it’s just the way this industry works. I constantly have an (over capacity) 10 clients, alongside my work helping colleagues, plus general day to day house keeping. So when I miss a day, in this case two, I have to cram 5 days work in to 3, which just doesn’t look healthy!

I’m constantly working evenings and weekends, always learning more and trying new things. But hell, do I hate having time off!