Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Australia, etc.
The Old Dog. From Hertfordshire which is about 25 miles to the North West of London. I came to Australia in 1983.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I started my blog on the 22nd of June 2013. Over a bet about whether I could back to the weight I was when I raced formula cars as a teenager in England. However I also wanted to discuss serious information about health, sustainability, productivity and multiculturalism in a humorous wrapper.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
My post about “A million Followers, for a million dollars, for clean drinking water, for 50,000 people”. There are nearly 1 billion people in the world that don't have clean, safe water. The women and children that collect water spend approximately 40 billion hours getting it. This detracts from their ability to do other work, or get an education. It takes $20 to supply one of these people with a clean water supply. Each dollar spent provides an economic return of $12. Not least because of the drop in medical care and infant mortality. Can you spare a single dollar for this campaign to bring clean water to 50,000 people? That's less than a third of the price of a cup of coffee. All money goes to providing water not to admin costs or profit. This post is doing something about it. My contribution is not only money but also enduring 100km of pain through the mountains.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Australia differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Because the Language is English in both countries it is easy to overlook cultural subtle differences. In England it is expected that you get down to business quickly in a meeting to show respect for the person’s time then do the social rapport building. In Australia you have to do the social rapport building first before you earn the right to talk about business. Both sides do the same thing but in a different order. I am sure this contributes to the stereo type that English are formal whilst Australians are laid back.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Australia? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I just came with an open mind and an open heart. I love it in Australia and feel very fortunate to be here.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
When I first arrived in Australia I thought I would have a go at growing some food plants that required the hotter weather. I planted an avocado in a pot and as it grew I tended it and tied it to a cane support. When it grew our neighbors, who live in the other half of the semi-detached house, told me they had swapped the avocado for a marijuana seed and that is what I had been growing on the front porch. As I didn’t know what either plant looked like I had no idea! They told me not to worry about being so naïve they had also put some seeds in the flower boxes outside the local police station and they were happily growing there too!
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Australia?
Don’t forget to pack your senses of humor, adventure and the ridiculous.
How is the expat community in Australia? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
I love the fact that Australia has integrated multiculturalism better than any other country I have come across. If I need a fix of English accents, I only need to take a ride on the Manly ferry into the center of Sydney from where I live.
How would you summarize your expat life in Australia in a single, catchy sentence?
Living near the sea in Sydney is simultaneously energizing and relaxing, it simply doesn’t get any better than this!