Well, as it turns out, running a blog is a lot more difficult than it first appears. Especially when your life is as insane as mine.
In an attempt to get back into blogging regularly, I put up a poll on my Instagram asking about what you guys would want to see me write about. My lovely friend Anny replied “Life Between Continents” so that’s what you’re going to get today. Hopefully it will explain a lot of this year’s absence, angst, and inconsistent posting.
I admit, a lot of me not posting can be put down to me being a Flaky Ass Bitch™, but this year has also been a crazy one for me. In September last year, my family decided to move back to Australia, away from our beautiful farmhouse in rural Northumberland, which had been our home for 6 years. I grew up in Australia and have always wanted to go back, but I did not anticipate this move would be as complicated as it has been. Surprisingly, moving to the other side of the world isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Before we could all move, there were two factors that left us somewhat tied to the UK for a year: firstly, my sister was still at university in London, completing her final year; and secondly, despite Australia and the UK both being rabies free, to get my dog back to Australia he needed to have rabies vaccinations, blood tests, then wait 9 months until he could fly. Not wanting to put him into quarantine or foster care, we had to stay in the UK while he finished his course.
My (other) sister moved over to Australia last September, shortly followed by my dad. This left me and my mum in the position of having to mitigate these tying factors. Long story short, we’ve been living in the UK for 3 months, then Australia for 3 months, and so on for a year.
“What a glamorous life!” I hear you say. Let me tell you, it is not.
When the idea of staying in the UK for an extra year was floated, we thought we would move back down to Norfolk (where I had spent several years as a child) and rent a house there. There we would be close to London, mum’s friends, and have decidedly better weather. But it turns our that no one wants to rent a house to anyone with a (tiny, non-chewy, non-shedding, lazy) dog. So we scratch that idea. With only a few weeks before we move out of our house, we find a little holiday cottage that can take us for 3 weeks in Norfolk. Anyone who has ever stayed in a holiday cottage can understand just how expensive they are; pretty unaffordable for a family who has just moved all of their belongings to the other side of the world. So we only book it for those three weeks and hope we can find something before the end of that.
We don’t. We end up moving out of that cottage and into a friend’s house. Then into my grandparents’ house. Then into another friend’s house. etc. etc. We live out of suitcases and whatever we can fit in the back of a Vauxhall Corsa. Just before we go to Australia for Christmas, we hear of some mutual friends who need someone to house sit for them while they’re undergoing the proceedings for divorce. Who don’t mind us having a dog. Sounds pretty perfect.
We fly out to Australia for Christmas. When we arrive, my sister and dad are staying in a friend’s house which is due to be demolished. It has no inside toilet, no air conditioning (in 40 degree heat) and a kitchen that is literally crumbling. Thankfully, once we get on the case, it isn’t long until we find somewhere to rent before we can afford to buy a house. We move in after a week and spend several days driving backwards and forwards in Melbourne traffic to the old house and ikea. The house is small, but it’s a house. Our house. Somewhere where I can unpack my bags. Somewhere where I can have my own things. Somewhere where I don’t have to stack my books on the floor. To me, it’s perfect.
When we go back to the UK after Christmas to relieve my grandparents of dog-sitting duties (“Wait. How long are you going for?!”), we spend a week with them, before moving into the house-sitting house. It seems pretty great at first. Then we see the first rat. In my mum’s bedroom. Next to her bed.
We move out while the pest control people purge the house of our rodent housemates, fleeing to stay with some more friends. We’re snowed into their house for a week, which can’t be helped, but it still brings the awful feeling of imposing and abusing their kindness. When the snow finally melts, we move back into the rat house. We’ve been told the singular rat who was in the house is now dead (RIP) and there shouldn’t be any more night-time disturbances. That night, mum wakes up and there’s a rat in her bedroom again. The next day, there’s a rat in the bedroom next to mine. The final straw is me being kept up all night by rats running backwards and forwards along the corridor all night, me being too scared to go to sleep. We move out the next day.
Since November, we’ve probably moved every week while we’ve been in the UK. Mum and I counted up the amount of times we’ve moved since last September: 17 times. This has left me unable to work for an entire year (except my summer job at graduations, and the occasional agency hospitality job). I have nothing to put on my CV to explain this gap in employment. I’ve been living off my meticulously set aside savings; money that should have been put towards a future car, or a house. If anyone has wanted to post me anything, I’ve sent it all to my grandparents house, as I don’t know where I’ll be living next week. I’ve seen my friends (heck, even just people my own age) for only 8 days in almost 52 weeks.
When you’re not physically around your friends, you do slip from people’s minds. I’ve moved city seven times in my life, so I know this better than anyone. People get on with their own lives and problems when you’re not around (just like you do when they’re away) and they don’t/can’t understand the strain you’re under when you’re not there to fully explain the problem to them. Of course, your best friends will always be there for you and mine have been an invaluable support network, just one that’s difficult to access when you’re on the other side of the world and 12 hours ahead.
So yes, a life living between two places seems exotic, it might actually even be fun if you have a stable base and job in each place, but things are never as they seem. Living in someone else’s house, with someone else’s stuff isn’t that fun. I know you shouldn’t rely on material things for comfort, but simply having your own bedding, mugs, or sofa is so much more important than you’d think. As is having photos of your friends and family, not someone else’s. The constant feeling of not belonging, of being out of place is very wearing. The amount of times I’ve cried because I’m lonely, because I have no purpose, no prospect of being able to afford to move out and start my life any time soon is innumerable.
Simply put, I’m too exhausted to blog.
I’m exhausted because I’m constantly packing what little I own into a suitcase.
I’m exhausted because I’m incredibly lonely.
I’m exhausted because I’m constantly being told how lucky I am to live like I do. That my life is “perfect”.
And I can recognise that I am lucky. Not many people have the chance to travel, and I do. But everything in life comes with pros and cons, and people rarely understand the cons.
Finally, my dog is able to fly next month. My sister graduates in a week. The year is ending, and I am excited to see where the next year will take me.
(I’ll blog more. I promise.)