This is a guest post from Kelly Croslis who recently moved from the USA to the east coast of Tasmania.
Eight months ago I would have never imagined that I would be moving half way around the world and beginning a new life in what I consider about as close to paradise as you can get. I had joined an on-line pen pal site hoping to make a few friends, share some laughs and talk about life. What I got was so much more.
I was on the site about a week when I met Bill; we became fast friends, sharing a love of reading, writing, adventure and the outdoors. I knew next to nothing about Australia, being from the United States we had the customary pictures of the Sydney and various pictures whether it be from the Olympics or news, so when he mentioned he was in Tasmania, I needed a crash course in geography, I knew nothing about the small island.
It didn’t take long for our friendship to turn into something more, we connected so well that we decided to see where the relationship would take us. We spent many hours talking on the phone, texting, emailing and Skyping. The time difference was a real challenge, often one of us going without sleep in order to talk to the other. After two months of corresponding, Bill asked if I would consider coming to Tasmania. The idea was terrifying, to say the least, but I would think about it. We talked more about it for a couple months and by April had made the decision that I would make the trip and make Tasmania my new home. He did all he could to make sure I knew what to expect when I arrived, after all I was used to big cities in the States and Bicheno, being a small beach town would certainly be different. He knew what I would be experiencing, having migrated here himself in 2008 from Britain.
On 21 May I left the United States and began the 36 hour trip that would change my life. Arriving in Launceston on 23 May, I was nervous and anxious and most of all tired – but what awaited me as we arrived in Bicheno was nothing short of paradise. Turning down the street to our house what laid in front me was a never ending view of water, I was home. Bill had done a good job at preparing me for what Bicheno had, and didn’t have to offer. Coming from a 24/7 lifestyle where everything was only minutes away; I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. Thankfully, he had taken three weeks off of work to help me settle in and get accustomed to the area.
Now six weeks later, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I have explored endless beaches and hiking trails, enjoyed the idea of winter where you can walk around shorts and a t-shirt, and what I most worried about, adjusting to a small town, never came to be a problem, everything is here that you could need. We take a trip once a month to Launceston to go shopping and I have discovered that it makes you really think of what you need and not just want. I now have my driver’s license and have learned to drive on the ‘other side of the road’ (that has been one of the hardest things to get accustomed to), learned a new money system and am still working on the Celsius and Kilometer (from Fahrenheit and Miles) conversion. Being here is a welcome change, people say hello as you walk by, they know you by name at the grocery store and walking to town can be an adventure of walking trails and ‘rock hoppin,’ as the sun rises over the Tasman Sea.
I think for anyone who is considering moving to another country, do your homework and make sure you know what to expect. It has been and adjustment, physically, mentally and emotionally despite being in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It hasn’t been easy all the time, there have been other adjustments to be made, moving from the States, I did leave family behind. I can’t just go down the street to visit an old friend, or pick up the phone and say hi. So, there have been moments of loneliness, and thinking of what the coming months will bring as I work toward my permanent visa, but I walk outside and look around me and know I am very lucky to live here and would make the same decision again.
Kelly is a Freelance writer and amateur photographer. She has written for newspapers and worked closely with several web site owners and online stores writing their web content and product descriptions. In addition, Kelly is an advocate for mental illness and runs a blog centred around these illnesses and wants to start focusing on advocacy and the positive aspects of living with mental illness. Aside from writing, Kelly is an amateur photographer and since moving to Tasmania was begun building an online following and honing her skills.