Itchy Feet

A girlfriend organized a get together in Doha after the New Year. It was one of those fantastic events where you walk in and immediately spot four or five faces that you haven’t seen in ages. It was my first week back after 12 weeks in Australia, aย morning of catching up on news.ย After I had told and retold the story of my urethra and its recent adventures, I made a move for the couch to talk to an English girlfriend who’d been home for Christmas. She began to explain the area her parents lived in.

“Have you ever lived in England?”

I went to answer “not yet” but instead answered with a despondent “no”. I’ve travelled to the UK a few times but never for longer than a few weeks. I had always thought that we would end up living in London as a family, it came up on the radar a few times but never eventuated.

When G had worked with the Big Blue, we had travelled in a way that can only be described as hard core. Our first move involved a 4 week process between would you go and off you go. From then on the moves became faster and more frantic each time. We were out of Jakarta in a matter of weeks. In Kuala Lumpur we found out days before the 2nd traveller’s birth that we were moving to Libya. Three weeks later we were surrounded by suitcases in a hotel room in Malta, waiting for news on our Libyan visas.

When you live like this, you live with endless possibilities. Where will they send us next? Which rumour will come true? Will it be London or will it be Lagos? It all seemed so exciting to a girl who’d grown up living in the same house of a small country town.

We were in Houston in the time of the Global Financial Crisis. We watched while others around us either lost their jobs or were forced to take assignments in locations that didn’t work for their families. We watched families with teenage children get told it was Angola or no job at all. After six moves in ten years we were craving the concept of stability for a few years. We dreamed of living in a world where we weren’t receiving an unexpected tap on the shoulder that it was time to go. We made the decision together to come to Qatar, and it has given us everything we’d hoped for. We have set holidays that take us to Australia, the children are at a great school, and we have the ability to say “next year you can…” because we know that we’ll be here next year. We have exactly what we wanted.

So why do I find myself yearning for a surprise move?

I was out walking with a girlfriend this week and explaining my chat with my English friend. I said it had made me realize that with the children the age they are, and G and I trying to set them up with ties to Australia, there were certain locations that were now out of reach. Locations that didn’t make sense.

“Yes, that ship has sailed” she said.

And that was it. In that moment I knew why it had upset me so much. I had to accept that that ship had indeed sailed. At this moment in time, there would be no last minute assignments to the States or the UK. There were friends that we would never live in the same town as again. We had reached the age where our children’s education heavily factored into our career moves. Final years of schooling in London or the US, opened up a can of worms for an Australian family trying to lead everyone back to Australian shores.

In all of the years that I’ve said “while the children are little we’re fine with moving around” I hadn’t thought about how this moment would feel. Old, responsible, and stagnant are the first words that come to mind. After a moment of thought though, grounded, content and secure also help. And anyway, I did say there were some locations that didn’t make sense.

There are some other locations that look fabulous! ย ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you get itchy feet?

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  1. No, I do not get itchy feet. I find it hard to leave my chair, never mind my home and all I know and love. My last move was in early 2000 to the San Francisco Bay Area and here’s where I will die. In this small apartment, being lashed by a kitty tail, I suspect.

  2. Dubai is our first posting as a family. I suspect we’ll do 1-2 more before going home. I think that will suit me fine. I love the adventure at the moment, I love being able to travel the world from here (something that was much harder to do in Sydney). I’m reveling in it at the moment.

    I’m sure I will feel a pang of sadness of ‘it’s all over’ when the time arrives to go home, but who knows what the future holds?!

  3. Love the post. So far from my “everyday”. We tree changed out of the city 7 years ago and love love love where we live. There is a yearning (hidden for now) foAr adventure. Nothing quite as big as yours but we dream of the school term travelling around Oz, the extended holiday in canada and the canal boat (maybe that’s just me) trip through europe. Will any ever be realised? Who knows. I hope that some part of all of them does. In saying that I didn’t travel as a child – went OS as a post school trip. The world is truly a smaller place these days……

  4. I remember that feeling – the belief that you’ll be stuck forever, tied down to schools. They were good years, once I got used to the idea – the joy of see the offspring transform into feisty, independent women.

    And then the day came when I peered through the curtains and glimpsed the world outside again – dusted off the rucksack, gave up the responsible job, sold the car, found a tenant for the house – and I was off.

    These educational years are precious, and will pass. The world will still be there when the day comes that you turn round and realise that your little travellers are big.

  5. I know what you mean about sailed ships… The thing that I am very unsure of is where to go when we have to go ‘back home’. I’m from the Netherlands and my G,I have one too ๐Ÿ˜‰ is from South Africa. For various reasons I don’t think either of those countries will work very well for us any more. So actually being in de Middle East makes perfect sense for us. It’s slap bang in the middle between our home countries and families. However only time will tell which way the wind will blow and where we will go next or where we will eventually settle down.

  6. My family moved from the US to post-soviet era Russia when I was 14. It shook my world in a massive way. It was the best/worst thing that ever happened to me. We are planning a few stable years for our kids, but also plan on relocating them again for high school. Even when we’re planning to stay still for a couple years, I like knowing that another move will be waiting down the track.

  7. the first two years in geneva i hated it, then i got the girls and got so busy i didnt have anymore time to complain about lack of accessible culture, restaurants etc…ive been waiting for a move cause i need help and here kindergarten baby sitters and cleaning ladies are too expensive for us, so im more than happy that suddenly within few weeks we decided to move out and relocate to warsaw, but i realise this is the apartment ive been living my pregnancies and motherhood begin, this is the background i brought my daughters from hospital and here they started their it will feel to be in another home that doesnt keep such memories within its walls? when i was small my parents changed few cities in italy and i was never bothered by changing room quartier friends…but was it the same unpainful for them to think my bedroom that saw me 1 years old was no longer? we tell each other that we can keep on move until kids will go to highschool cause high school u want to be in the same place with same people…and then they ll go to university and we will be free to be the two of us anywhere. but i know that by that time i wouldt like to be far away from them, like any another italian mother cause one hand is to travel the world with them and the other is to be away in the world from them.

  8. I would dearly love to move around more, but with two dogs I can’t see it happening (how on earth did you manage with the beagle??) (T-T)

    • Sophelia, it was no easy task. We always said we would not get a dog until we were “home”, the universe had other plans. Roxie (our beagle) is a rescue dog, she’s from Austin, Texas – we first met her in Houston. She has just had the one move with us, and I don’t think it was much fun for her. It was a 17 hour flight and I am sure she was completely confused about what was going on, she then spent 4 weeks boarding while we secured a house and moved in – she was infested with ticks when we got her and it was really heartbreaking. She lives a pretty good life now, at least 3 walks a day and constant cuddles from the little travellers. I have learnt to just pretend that I don’t notice her sleeping on their beds, or worse, IN their beds. If we had to do it all again, I wouldn’t fly her out to us until we had a house and were set up for it, much easier leaving her somewhere we know we can trust than relying on it being okay when we got there. xx

    • This is exactly what stops me from leaving. My poodle is now 12 so getting on and we gave always said when he is gone. But maybe we don’t heed to wait!! Now just to work out how to get a job overseas. Any tips Kirsty??

  9. We’ve sort of done it in reverse, I think. We waited until our (only, so it’s a bit easier) child was ready for high school and hubby got the UN placement in Switzerland. The plan is for her to do all of her high school here, gain the IB and then see where it takes her – Oz, UK or US or Europe, or…..?

  10. And the dog. At seven when we moved here, we realise that it’s likely she’ll never see Australia again. *sniffle*

  11. We have been on the move for almost 8 years now. And today my 8 year old son came home from school with the exciting story that he was born in South Africa!! He only lived there for a year, but celebrates it every year at school’s international day. We’ve travelled the African continent from East – South – North, and are now in Delhi, India. The one thing we are immensely grateful for is the incredible schools our kids get to go to. But with a Middle Schooler and 2nd grader that has special education needs, we are seriously thinking about our next posting. Will not be able to do another “exotic” place, and will have to do one of our top 4 countries – US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. But with all the dramas we went through with every move, I would not change our lifestyle for a minute. We are raising worldwise, empathetic, sympathetic children, and for that I am immensely thankful.

  12. Curious! Am I the only mum that doesn’t actually enjoy the in house travelling that I should be doing when moving around the globe. I am a stay at home mum who enjoys staying at home – I feel like I might be letting the team down because I am not getting out there and sight seeing ? My main motivation is waiting for the girls to upsize so hubby and I can explore on our own. Is that wrong? SM

  13. I get itchy feet every 2 years because that is my standard time between moves over the past 20 years. Nothing as exotic as your locations but moves interstate nevertheless. We have said that we are staying put now that we are back in the “family home” and although I really love it here I know I’ll probably get itchy feet in another 12 months – what I do about I have no idea yet ๐Ÿ™‚

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