It was a difficult decision to make since we will be uprooting our family with 2 small children and moving halfway around the world. Before we were even presented with this option, we were planning on selling our house and moving into our Airstream. We were going to spend the winter in Florida and travel the country for at least a year. So we called Australia Plan A and the Airstream travel Plan B. If Australia had fallen through, Plan B was still a great option. We considered a move to Australia from every angle. Would our kids thrive? How would they deal with missing their cousins and grandparents? How would our marriage change in a new environment with different roles? What would our support network look like? What would happen when we returned to the United States? How would this impact our finances? We even hired the life/business coach, Chris LoCurto, to help us work through some of these potential issues. In the end, we decided to go for it.
We will be living in Brisbane, Australia for a minimum of 12 months for my work. Brisbane is a city of about 2.5 million people which is a stark contrast to where we live now - in the middle of Missouri on an 80-acre farm with one neighbor that you can see when the leaves fall off the trees. The closest store is 30 minutes away. We plan to live in the city center in Brisbane so we can walk to the markets and parks. I only know 2 people in Australia, but we are Instagram friends with some Australian Airstreamers and the Australian Airstream dealer down in Sydney. Hopefully we will have a chance to meet up with our extended family of Airstreamers while we are there. Maybe we can even rent an RV and travel part of Australia at some point.
But first we have to get there. There is much to be done to plan a move like this. Paperwork, work visas, health insurance, passports, bank accounts, credit card changes, doctor appointments, goodbyes, etc. Plus, what do we do with all of our stuff?
STUFF. Let's just think about that word for a minute. Yes, the word can be a noun describing a multitude of items, but it is also a figurative word for the way we have been living our lives until recently. Our closets are stuffed. Our drawers are stuffed. Our garage is stuffed. We had expanded our stuff to fill every available space. If we had more space, I'm sure we would have found more stuff to stuff it with.
After our 95 day adventure in the Airstream last winter, we came home feeling even more confined and suffocated by our stuff. You would think the opposite would be true, that we would have felt confined and suffocated by four people living in a small travel trailer for 3 months. However, we found freedom living small with less stuff. So, when we returned home, the contrast was striking. Too many dishes to wash, too many floors to clean, too many bathrooms to keep stocked. In the Airstream, cleaning was done in about 15 minutes. That included the kitchen, bathroom, and floors. When we returned home, it took me an entire day to clean our house.
Although it doesn't always happen this way, Troy and I were of like mind and decided to start downsizing with purpose. It started with my closet the same night we returned from our southwest Airstream adventure, and it is nearing the end as I write this, about 8 months later. Looking back, it seems that our move to Australia actually began with our trip out West. That trip set desires and a lifestyle in motion that made Australia a plausible option in our minds. We know that we can live in a small apartment without all of our stuff for a year and be happy. We know that investing in experiences and people rather than things is where we will find joy. We know that home is wherever we are all together. And we know that for this season of life, security and tradition are being overshadowed by exploration and inquisitiveness. We look forward to this new adventure and hope to share it with you through this blog....'Mate'.