I`ve been a bit absent in the last few months and there`s a reason for it. With this post I`ll try to explain what I mean with that. I usually give advice in my articles on places to see and visit. But I think it`s also important to have those practical tips when traveling and think this article can help out others who might find themselves in the same position one day.
When you`re an avid traveler you meet lots of people all over the world. One of the risks (or joys!) is falling in love with a foreigner. And don`t get me wrong, it`s wonderful! But let`s be honest, in reality it also means some difficulties that you have to overcome. Unfortunately we still don`t live in a world where everyone just gets along and you can live and/or do as you please. There`s still laws and visas that you have to take into account. So let me start my story…
I met my (now) fiance (yes, that happened in that time frame I was absent as well!) over two years ago via our mutual love for travel. After chatting for hours, as it seems that`s what you do a lot when in a long distance relationship, we started dating. And I do see us as one of the lucky ones when it came to distance. I was in Belgium and he in London. With the Eurostar we were only a few hours from each other. Because I`m a travel blogger, the good thing about my job is, I can do it from anywhere as long as I have internet. Again, we were more fortunate than others who have to make due with only vacation days and weekends. Having the option of moving around, I ended up staying in London more and more until his working-holiday visa ran out. At this point we were 6 months into our relationship.
This is the first time we were confronted with reality, what were we going to do? As he`s an Aussie, it was either going back to Australia or trying to make it work in Belgium. We went for a third option, applying for a work-visa to stay in London. For this he had to go back to Australia to get the paperwork sorted and I tagged along to meet the family! Unfortunately things fell through with the work visa. Bummer, what next? This is where the difficulties start. You start to realize that visa procedures are not easy.
And I have to rant a little bit about this. I came across so many articles of people saying they just packed up their lives and moved abroad as if it was nothing. Sorry, but it`s not that easy! Yes, you might be one of the few that have double nationalities and just have to pick and choose where to live. Or you`re still young (lucky you) and can apply for student visas and working working-holiday visas. (Btw I would definitely recommend it, as I regretted it afterwards not doing it. So many countries open their doors for you to have that unique experience so embrace it). But if you`re over 30 years old there`s a lot of research that goes into finding a solution. Okay, end rant! Let`s focus on the good things.
We looked into getting a visa for either Belgium or Australia, but both countries required us to be longer together than we were at that time to be able to apply. So we decided to travel the world together and were fortunate to explore the USA, saw more of Australia and Belgium, and had the opportunity to live in Ireland for a few months.
Fast forward to almost two years into the relationship, we started to discuss how nice it would be having a place of our own where we could start a family. We looked at both countries, Belgium and Australia and had to make a decision. We both had good arguments for our own countries. Belgium has chocolates, fries, beer and not to mention my friends and family. But of course friends and family was also a point my fiance pointed out as important to him. Australia has sunshine, beaches and a laid-back lifestyle. So how do you decide?
This is where I struggled the most. To move or not to move, that was the question. It wasn`t so much my country I was tied to but my friends and family mean the world to me. How do you leave them? I searched hours on the internet for stories, asked people in the same position how they managed it and talked about it endlessly. But at some point you have to make a decision or you`re not going anywhere.
So this is the decision we made: we moved to Australia! We`ll see how it goes and how I`ll cope, but at this stage we`ve applied for a defacto visa, are renting a house and in the middle of planning our wedding and all is good!
I will keep you posted with more updates and some practical tips on the visa procedure. If you have any questions or find yourself in the same situation and just need some advice, feel free to comment below or contact me.