Friday, January 13, 2012

Goodness me

Well. That was very interesting. And here was me thinking that I never got many comments any more... .

I should perhaps have made myself clearer: I can see that some people have quite definite reasons for emigrating to another country - love being maybe the most obvious, these days, or job opportunites; poverty, lack of employment perhaps being cogent reasons in the past. Maybe a sense of adventure both in the past and now. But on the tv programme I'm talking about (and I realise that tv programmes are perhaps not the most reliable sources of analysis of the human heart and its motives) there doesn't usually seem to be any particular reason like that. The participants just seem to feel that they want to go.

Of course, I've no idea whether any of them actually do emigrate. Maybe they're just after a free holiday, paid for by the tv company.

I'm intrigued at Frogdancer's comment, that life in Australia "seems so much better". I wonder if it's true. I think that many of us - not those in my programme, obviously - believe that our country is the best in the world. Maybe we're kidding ourselves because that's where we are and are likely to stay. I certainly think that there's nowhere more beautiful than the Highlands of Scotland - and of course I'm saying this despite never having seen the Alps, the Hindu Kush ... etc. (I have seen the Rockies and they are pretty nice, though.) And I think that, for a city, Edinburgh is lovely (though I don't really care for cities as such; it's just that Edinburgh has hills and lots of green spaces and old or elegant buildings and a castle on a rock). And I like the climate: it's never much too hot, seldom very cold, we're not bothered much by flood or drought or earthquake. And we have all this history. I like to think of my ancestors walking around breathing this air... .

I do awfully admire parents such as Avus and others who can say that they've let their children go because that's what you have to do. It's a wonderful attitude. I wish I could be like that. I can see that it's the right way to be. But you can't make yourself feel that way. You can say it, as the parents on the programme often do, through their tears. But you can't change the way you feel and it would be very difficult to act happy for the rest of your life if you felt miserable because you didn't often get to see those you loved most in the world.

Anyway, your comments have been most interesting; thank you for them. And, as I said, it's just as well that we're not all like me. Though some commenters clearly are... .


  1. It was an interesting topic to explore! I am first-generation American on my mom's side (she immigrated from Europe when she was 20, bringing her mother and siblings with her), and second-generation on my father's side (my grandmother's family fled Europe just before WWI). Even though we are fairly new to these parts, we aren't that scattered, because everyone moved to the US! So, I grew up around family.

    Among my own siblings, I am the one who moved away. For awhile, I lived a good 12-hour drive away, which began to seem pointless. I hated spending my little vacation time going home for visits. We moved within a 2-hour drive 20 years ago, and that's been okay, although my mother complains it's not close enough.

    My children are still at home, but my son is already 14. I can see how fast it goes. I always say that my retirement plan is to follow them where ever they go, and given the economy of the state I live in, it's pretty likely they'll have to go elsewhere to make a living. I guess I will have to choose which child to follow when that time comes!

  2. It was very interesting reading your posts and all the responses. I've actuslly met quite a few UK expats who actually DID move to Australia for the better weather! Having experienced the winter daylight ending at 4pm in the UK, this does seem vaguely plausible if all the other cards (job,money, house) stack up too. But I'm pretty sure I couldn't have started a new life for myself in the other side of the world. Australia is a long way away from the US or Europe. By comparison, a one-hour flight away from my hometown seems manageable.

  3. I enjoyed reading your post and all the comments.
    I have travelled abroad for holidays ( although not often now -too many animals to look after here....) but never really wanted to emigrate. We once thought of New Zealand, but knew we would miss the British countryside in all its variety. More than anything,we would miss the history that is there at every turn.

    Having made lots of moves over the years, because of careers/jobs, it was a blessed relief to be able to settle down in one area and put down some roots!

  4. Interesting you bring this up.. because I often dream of moving to much of the literature I love, and the comedy I love, and the food I love, comes from there. I think of a snug cottage and Miss Read....or I dream of cream teas. Holiday rambles and village life ala Ballykissangle or Vicar of Dibley. A neighbor like the vicars wife in the Agatha Raisen novels. All very idealistic of course - but that is where I go in my fantasy dreams. With all my family of course.

  5. There's something about the place you grew up that is always attractive. Maybe it's the remains of a homing instinct, like migrating birds returning to the nest. But if you try somewhere else there are bound to be some aspects - weather, scenery, culture, politics, whatever - that you admit are better, however grudgingly. Then after a couple of moves you're looking for somewhere that combines all the best features of the places you have lived without any of the drawbacks, and the chances are it doesn't exist. I live in London, a city where over half the population was born somewhere else, some as far away as Australia (yes, Australians do move to the UK). But even if they've been here 50 years, if you ask someone where they're from, they nearly always tell you where they were born - or even where their parents were born. The homing instinct is always there.

  6. I should have been in bed hours ago! Fascinating topic, Isabelle; you are the only blogger who could have got all those responses, because most of your readers are both well-educated and well-travelled, going by the comments.
    My father's grandfather came over to Oz to follow the gold rush. Mum's father was an admiral in the British Navy; I can only assume he like Australia so much he decided to stay (or he might have met my grandmother here...)
    Hubby's paternal grandfather ran away from home, came here on a sailing ship when he was 14 I'm told, and was 'wiped off' by his family in England. The other grandfather came here as an assistant to an English magician, and stayed when he married his Australian born wife.
    Ken and I aren't going anywhere. We love it here in Australia, and our families on both sides all still live in Melbourne. Why move?

  7. Darn it Isabelle -- I have work to do and now I've just gone off and read all of your comments. Very Interesting, all of them. And now I've decided I'm going to encourage one child to go to Australia and one to the UK and then I can split my time between them. {Just kidding, but what a thought!)

  8. While I love my country (USA) and my state in particular (NY), and my mother, very dearly, I would be lying through my teeth if I said that I would not jump at an actual chance to move to Scotland. Because Scotland? It is the home of my heart. Heaven on earth. My especial dream is to answer one of those ads put out by some small island looking for a couple to take on the combined job of postmaster/grocer/shepherd. I also think my husband and I would make a smashing pair as upkeep/butler/maid/live-in help at a castle.

    Snigger, go ahead... it's MY dream! 8-)

  9. There have been some really interesting comments on this post and your previous post.
    My eldest daughter spent her gap year in London and intends to head back overseas as soon as she can while my son is happy working and living here in Canberra and not interested in moving away. The youngest hasn't made definite plans yet but does intend to include travel at some point. Depending on just where you live in Australia, a lot of us do have to move, whether it's for education, employment or some other reason so maybe, overall, it's not such a big deal for many of us. Both my husband's and my families are about 1000km away; we accept it but we do miss them and, I know, equally, we will miss our own children and future grandchildren very much if they or we move away. Thank heavens for Skype!
    It is interesting. Although we are Australian born and bred and have no desire to permanently leave this country, the first time we visited the UK, we were all taken aback to find that the first time we visited the UK, the place was in our very bones and blood! Not just from the familiarity of the UK systems of government or stories, etc, that most Anglo-Saxon Australians grew up with then but in an(almost scarily) real way. I guess our family are only a few short generations out!
    The TV show you mentioned is interesting - we saw some episodes last time we were there. Unfortunately, most of us live a much more ordinary life than the prospective migrants are shown, ordinary jobs, ordinary suburban houses - no such glamour! There are many wonderful things here but they don't quite fall so easily out of trees as is suggested.
    (Sorry, this ended up being quite long!)You do have many, many stunningly beautiful places in the UK.