Dear Diary Living Abroad


“Every now and then you have to close your eyes and jump without letting anyone know your eyes were shut”

To say we are nervous about the year ahead is an understatement. Deciding to move from our safe and secure life in Australia and to the other side of the world is scary. To move away from the support of our family and friends is equally scary. If our funds ran out at home, no worries we would simply wait till the next pay cheque to blow. If we felt lonely our support group is only a 5 minute drive away.

I think that when someone decides to move abroad they are either running away or running to something. We will admit that our reasoning comes from both columns.

Once completing high school we were both already knee deep in part time work and were eager to gain more shifts. I headed off to film school, Jess started University and 5 years later, and some important pieces of paper finally hanging upon our walls, we both started our full time professions. This brings us to 2014, where we had both started a life, or as the way we saw it – “a normal life”.

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” – Ellen Goodman

This quote from Ellen Goodman really stood out to us. We quickly realised that we aren’t ready to have a mortgage, kids and settle into a standard routine until retirement. So I suppose you can say we are running away from the normal life and towards a unique life.

We want to experience the unknown, other cultures and whats it like living in another country before we settle down. Who knows wether we want to live in Perth all our lives? We want to make mistakes, be spontaneous, take risks and we want to learn from them.

We believe that some of the most important moments in history were recorded by travellers and this blog is our way to leave a stamp on this world.

Would you consider moving abroad?

Stephen and Jess signoff


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  • I’ve lived in France, St Barths, Australia, London and now New Zealand, and I can honestly assure you that living in a different country to your own is amazing. I grew up moving around, and so it felt natural to continue down that road when I was able to do so on my own. Best of luck!

    • Jessica Valentine

      Wow, I am envious of all the amazing places you have been able to call home!

    • Wow, I am jealous you have been able to call so many amazing places your home 🙂

  • I believe you are doing the right decision! I have lived in Paris, Barcelona and Oslo and i have only grown from living in different places. It´s gone be ups and downs and the language barrier gonna be frustrating. But it´s all worth it in the long run! You are gonna meet so many cool people 🙂

    • I would love to live in those locations. How did you find the cost of living?

  • Lala

    I lived in Canada for two years and it was the best decision I ever made! I was only ever supposed to be there for 6 months, and living abroad for a total of 12 months but I fell in love with Canada and couldn’t leave. It was scary yes but the excitement outweighed that and once I was there and faced with doing things on my own in a foreign country and was able to overcome it all, I knew I would be alright. I will be honest though, since I’ve been back home (8 months) it’s been HARD to adjust back to living in a full house and being around my family 24/7 after two years of so much freedom and independence. I’m definitely ready to start living abroad again!

    • Our move includes Vancouver so we have a lot to discuss haha! Where abouts have you travelled to? Anything you recommend?

      • I was based mostly in Whistler and you guys must definitely head up there once you’re all settled in Vancouver! I made regular day trips to Van city though. Such a great city and easy to navigate and work out the public transport system. Robson St and Metrotown are great for shopping, you’ll become addicted to Tim Horton’s and you’ll probably even become ice hockey fans (even though I read that you’re not a sports fan?! haha). There are a lot of great places to eat along Granville St, and cheap as well! In the summer head to Squamish and hike the chief if you’re up for the challenge, there are plenty of hiking trails on both Whistler and Blackcomb mountain too. Check out Joffre Lakes and all the waterfalls on the way up to Whistler. Plenty of great camping sites between Squamish and Pemberton too. I’ll be living vicariously through you guys once you’re there because I so badly want to be back!

        • Oh nice – yes we would love to make it to Whistler before the snow season is over. Is there anywhere cheap to stay a weekend or so? Yes we saw that our place is near a train station so should come in handy.

          Did you ever do weekend trips out of Vancouver? anywhere you recommend?

          Haha yes I think I still have to experience an ice hockey match just because I have heard so many great things about! Got to try everything once!

          So much information thank you so much!

          • There’s the Southside lodge in Creekside (a 10 minute bus ride out of Whistler Village). Creekside gondola is right across the road, the diner below has some good food, and Dusty’s bar (right next to the gondola) is one of my favourite spots. Or there’s the Fireside Lodge on Nordic Drive which is about a km from Creekside. These are the two hostels that friends of mine have stayed at. Bus fares are $2.50 each way and I think they sell weekly tickets at the visitor centre/grocery store.

            The only places I got to explore were Pemberton during the summer. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to fit a trip to Vancouver island due to time/bad weather but definitely head over to the island. Seattle is only 4 hours away and I really enjoyed it there so definitely drive down/take the Greyhound/Bolt bus. The drive down is boring but the city itself is nice. There are many other mountain resorts you should see as well such as Grouse mtn, Sun Peaks, Revelstoke etc.

          • We are yet to do hostels yet during our travels but I think we might have to finally delve into them. Pemberton, yet to look that place up, would you recommend heading there?

            We will be in Seattle for a week before we make our way to Vancouver – heard great things about the city.

          • Not sure about the winter but in the summer we went horse riding and it’s where Joffre Lakes is. We also made a quick stop at Nairn Falls.

          • Horseriding there sounds amazing!

  • Emily Luxton

    Awesome news! Where are you guys moving to? It sounds like you’re doing it for all the right reasons. I’m yet to live abroad but it’s definitely something I want to do. I think experiencing the culture of a completely different place on a daily basis is something everyone should get to do!

    • We will be making base in Vancouver for a bit then still deciding for the second half 🙂

  • I’ve traveled all of my life and studied abroad during college, and I have loved every minute of it! I wish I’d lived abroad for a longer stretch, but I haven’t ever found the time, money, and right job to do that just yet. Plus, we’ve got a toddler, and while that certainly doesn’t stop us from moving abroad, we’d have some really, really angry grandparents on our hands! 🙂 Best of luck in the move–I’m so excited for you!

    • The one thing I do regret is not studying abroad but it was something I could not financial do during university. How long did you go away for, a semester?

      • It was definitely not the cheapest option, especially for a college student. But I really, really, REALLY wanted to do it, so I worked several jobs the year leading up to the study abroad session. I was in London for an entire summer and mostly ate ramen noodles because I had no money, but it was totally worth it! 🙂

        • It sounds like you made it all worth it 🙂 I have heard so many stories of people living off noodles. A friend of mine worked in Whistler and spent all his money so he lived off them.

  • I’m not sure I would move abroad, simply because I love the UK. That’s not to say I wouldn’t try it, but I am happy with life here. I am a freelance ecologist, so during the spring, summer, and autumn I work all over the UK doing surveys, I’m never in one spot for very long. If I want to do something, I plan it in and don’t take work on for that period. I don’t have what I consider a ‘normal’ life. Being self-employed has enough uncertainty of its own, and is scary in it’s on right, but it makes life more exciting!

    • Of all the great things we have heard about Europe I don’t blame you. We still haven’t made it out there but when we do we hope to be there for a good year. So much to see, a friend was saying you could stay in Italy for a year – let alone all the dozen other countries.

  • Corinne Vail

    I have been living abroad for many years…and I love it. I think you will find that the people you work with become your family, although not a replacement…you do feel very secure, warm, and happy with them. Good luck!

  • travelgeekery

    Good luck guys! I lived in Finland, Berlin and China and after that, I realised how much I appreciate having a nice life in Prague 🙂 So I definitely agree with you that living abroad is something everybody should try. It’s like travelling but magnified. Plus, having a different base for all your trips gives you new opportunities to explore! So enjoy it and consider Europe for the second half of the year 😉

    • Wow you have been around! We can not wait to experience life abroad.

  • Michele

    I think it’s awesome you guys are taking risks! My husband and I live in Missouri (US) and we have extra bedrooms if you are ever in our neck of the woods. We can show you some cool stuff in MO!

    • Thank you so much, we will definitely keep that offer in mind. You are too kind 🙂

      • Michele

        Seriously my husband and I would love to hear about your travels. We are very normal empty-nesters lol with an empty upstairs!

        • We would love to share our stories with you some time 🙂

  • I moved abroad last year, from the States to Australia and it’s been the best decision my husband and I could have made. I also love that Ellen Goodman quote 🙂

    • That;s really great to hear 🙂 I hope you continue to enjoy it!

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  • Anna

    I have literally just found this blog and I already love it! I am actually taking a gap year teaching English in Thailand 2015/2016 before I go to university, I am terrified about the move but its a good terrified and I know that it is going to be amazing.


  • I live abroad and I wish you two the best of luck, it can be and probably will be chanllenging, but you’ll be happy you did it because it’s also gonna be AMAZING! xx

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