John and Louise Keogh first decided that they wanted to move to Australia in 2002 as they wanted a different life from the one they had in Ireland. Ever since he qualified as an accountant John had always held a vague plan or intention to work abroad and when he met Louise they decided a permanent move would suit them better as Louise had a teenage son, Aaron.
Although Canada was their initial first choice, they finally decided on Australia as a great place to live because of the weather. However the more they read and heard about Australia from people they knew who had traveled or lived there the more appealing it became. Neither of them had been to Australia before and John says “The taxi driver taking us to Manchester airport did decide we were probably mad at hearing we had never been before”.
John and Louise were fairly relaxed and happy with the visa application process and were assisted along the way by the Migration Bureau. John says “Although there was some frustration with the amount of time it took obtaining some of the information, once things were moving we were always confident that the decision would be positive. We also did not feel particularly stressed whilst waiting for a decision, happily getting on with our day to day lives and trying to research more detail before moving.” However Louise did feel some anxiety once the decision time approached but this was largely due to the suspense involved.
John, Louise and Aaron are enjoying living in Australia but say that it is not nearly as hot as they were led to believe. They have definitely not been disappointed with regard to the opportunities on offer but John says “There have been, and still are times when we feel homesick. We miss friends and family, the football, the pub, lots of things that we took for granted back in Ireland. It takes time to accept the differences and it is difficult sometimes not to dwell on what you miss. However, we know why we are here and can see the positive impact it has had on Aaron, who has had no such problems cultivating social circles and making new friends. This has served as a very timely reminder of the positive nature of Australia and the freshness of its culture and people”.
Louise changed her line of work, going out to work in retail, having previously run her own childminding business in Ireland. Louise decided to do this as she felt that going out to work may be socially more beneficial.
They were fortunate in that they already had some friends living in Australia who put them up when they first arrived. As John says,” They were fantastic in providing advice, practical help and support during our first few months here, and continue to be very supportive. This was particularly important as we moved in November, and obviously experienced very quickly Christmas away from family and friends in Ireland and England. However, we were made to feel at home in many senses amongst family and friends”.
Their plans for the future include more travel, more freedom and exploring new options. Also, it is more than likely that they will be running their own business and already have several business ideas. However the final word from John is “Of course we may just drop out and go on walkabout (Well, Winnebago-about)!”