In this series of regular articles, our Melbourne-based correspondent meets the Positively Scottish Humans of Oz
Ever since Captain James Cook—the seafaring son of a Scottish ploughman—landed at Botany Bay in 1770, Scots have been seeking adventure Down Under. Some are tempted by work, others seduced by the sun, sand and surf. And some, like Fraser Moore, 41, are lured by love.
My journey to Australia began in 2004. I was 29 and living in Edinburgh, and I had the opportunity to go to a software development conference in London. I decided to go down the weekend before the conference started and went to a disco, where I bumped into an Aussie girl.
I was quite taken with her antipodean accent, so we swapped numbers and ended up hanging out a few evenings that week. Subsequently, we began commuting to dates between Edinburgh and London.
I met her in February, but she already had her flights booked to move back to Australia in March. When she left, I decided I’d quite like to see her again, so I booked flights to Sydney for our next date in April. While I was in Australia, I decided I’d move to Sydney. I came back to Edinburgh, she visited me in August, and I applied for my permanent resident visa as a skilled migrant. I left the UK and moved to Australia in December, 10 months after we met.
Arriving in Sydney in the middle of summer was a bit of a culture shock. I had a couple of suitcases full of winter clothes, but when I got to Sydney it was 30 degrees. I needed a new wardrobe, so my girlfriend went out and bought me some short-sleeve shirts, shorts and thongs (flip-flops).
I stayed with her at her parents’ house for a few days, then we rented an apartment together. After a year, I did a bit of travelling around Australia. I went over to Perth, then travelled up the east coast. All the usual stops—Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Gold Coast—it was a wonderful experience.
When I got back to Sydney, I decided to check out Melbourne. The plan was to pick up a three-month contract and fly back to Sydney for weekends.
What actually happened was it took longer to find a job than I’d expected. I ended up finding a permanent job, which I thought would be quite good for me career-wise, but that, of course, meant I was staying in Melbourne.
I suppose as I gradually fell in love with Melbourne, some distance grew between me and my lady, both literally and metaphorically. We drifted apart and finally called it a day in August 2007.
I chose to move countries, I chose to move continents, I chose to move hemispheres to be with this woman, because I thought this was my future life. But like many men, I think I was a bit commitment-phobic at the end of the day.
We remained good friends and we’re still good friends. There will always be a bond there. She’s married now. I went to their wedding this year in Sydney.
A lot of people asked me after we broke up if I was going to stay in Australia. It didn’t actually make sense to me as a question. I thought, “Well, why wouldn’t I?” I almost certainly wouldn’t have moved here if not for her, but I was really enjoying living in Melbourne. It was a no-brainer.
That was nine years ago and just recently, I sold my flat in Edinburgh. I lived in that place for about six years, so it’s the end of an era. I realised a few years ago that it would be very strange, even if I did go back to Edinburgh, to go back and live in that same flat. That was my Life 1.0, whereas Australia is Life 2.0.
It’s not too hard to come to Australia if you’ve got qualifications or skills that are valued. It’s definitely worth making that leap. Australia is a fantastic country. It’s full of lovely people and has beautiful scenery.
And If you’re in love with an Aussie, I’d say absolutely come here. If you meet ‘the one’, you should move anywhere to be with them.