Australia Bound!

We are moving to Melbourne, Australia for 5 months. There I said it. It is so much easier to say than it is to put together. Can you imagine moving somewhere for 5 months? Think about finding a place to live and finding someone to rent your home. What to leave out for while your tenants are there? What to do with the objects in your home that are special to you? What to do with your cars? What do to with your mail? What to take with you for a foreign country that you have never been to? How to plan for leaving a Northern California winter and land in a full blown Australian summer (well, that sounds great actually). But then also plan to be there through fall as well? If your brain is starting to smoke at this point, then you can relate to what I have been going through for the last year or so, maybe longer.

Frankly I am not sure WHEN the decision got made for us to go to Australia, but I remember HOW it got made.

My husband is a law school professor at Santa Clara University. This is his second career that he created for himself after working for the federal government for 12 years as an arms control negotiator—a career that he liked and was good at, but was not very family friendly. So, we moved to Northern California from Washington DC for him to attend law school. Our son was three when we got there and our daughter was born two years later, while my husband was will in law school.

After graduation and clerking for a year, he then worked as an attorney for two years. And while the money and benefits were great, he just didn’t love it. And anyway, the end game goal for law school was always for him to eventually become a law school professor; his first graduate degree in public policy wasn’t helpful for that.

One of the many benefits for being an academic is not only is it much more family friendly, but it also means a sabbatical every seven years after you achieve tenure. His first sabbatical came while he was working at a St. Louis University Law school. Our oldest was a freshman in highschool and I had a well-paying (if not exciting) job. Uprooting the kids for a semester just seem didn’t worth it at that moment in our lives, so he spent his first sabbatical at home. It wasn’t nearly as satisfying as he had hoped, so I know that when the second sabbatical rolled around, we would most likely head off to somewhere else.

He qualified for his second sabbatical our daughter’s senior year in highschool. Going away that year was out of the question, so we decided to take it after she graduated.

So many things to balance. My husband wanted to go to a university that had colleagues interested in international human rights—his passion. And he wanted an English speaking environment. He got very excited about the idea of Oxford or Cambridge or London. While I love those places, I was not interested in spending winter in a cold, snowy and grey environment. I was thinking of warm sunny places like Spain or Portugal, but the language difference meant that these locations were off. So in order to meet his English speaking requirement and to avoid my winter weather aversion, Australia made it to the top of the list. And so we are heading off to sunny and warm, English-speaking Australia very soon.

Slowly, bit by bit, all the details are sorting themselves out. We found a place to live through SabbaticalHomes.Com—a website service that is available to anyone, not just academics. And we found someone to rent out place through the same site.

We have a neighbor who will scan and then email our mail to us. Cars are still an issue, but we have a few leads on ideas for them as well.

I have had extra storage cabinets installed in our condo garage and been mentally figuring out what I am packing to store, what I am packing to take and what I will leave out. Some of my everyday things that mean something to me will be stored away and I will buy replacement dishes and silverware. (Next year our daughter can use them in her apartment at university.) While most closets will be cleared out, some things on the top shelves are okay to leave, like sleeping bags and extra suitcases. Fancy clothes packed away, summer and fall clothes coming with us. Yoga, tennis, swimming, workout gear coming with us, winter clothes put away. And on and on and on.

Now I don’t mean to sound whiny, because I recognize what an opportunity it is to get to explore a whole other part of the world. We will get to visit New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef, all sorts of fun places in Australia and even Indonesia. And I am closing up my marketing consultant business and taking the time to write and reinvent myself once again.

I know that after all the work, it will be worth it because my husband will get to write his third book in an environment that excites him. And while I spend some time worrying about missing my kids and finding friends, I am starting to look forward to spending time in a new environment, away from my responsibilities at home. I welcome the time to write, to explore and to just be in a place that is new and different.



As a blogger, I enjoy sharing my ideas and thoughts with people, and I get a special thrill when someone leaves a comment. When you share my posts on social media sites, I jump up and down doing a happy dance. So thank you!

17 thoughts on “Australia Bound!

  1. V.Lynn Hawkins

    Heidi, I’ve read your blogs and I’ve loved them. Even the last one your husband wrote was inspiring. We don’t see this type of sharing often enough. I am so excited for you and your husband. What a great opportunity to get to live a bit of life in Australia, even though only 5 months … or is it … Wow, a whole 5 months? While it may seem like a long time, it will pass so quickly, so I could also feel your pain in packing up the house and storing things.

    When I read your email I gave some thought about your new blogging experience as well. At first I was in a bit of a quandary about the whole Magic of Mothering thing, but it is magic … being a Mom and having your stories to tell, and your memories to release to the world! Seeing your reasons for the shift from business to the new thinking is almost like moving in a whole new world. Going from a business focus to something that speaks to life and family and new experiences that overlap with the memories of life lived, the experiences of children (even the experiences with grown children), there’s so much to relate to.

    Again, I am really excited for you. I’m going to be one who will be looking forward to hearing what you share about your experiences in Australia and on your great ‘The Magic of Mothering’ Blog. Safe and happy travels to you. May you be gifted with so much more to share!

    Peace and Blessings!
    Lynn

    Reply
    1. Carol Graves

      Heidi,

      You will love Australia. I went there in 2001 before 9/11, luckily and had a two week adventure. Melbourne is a lovely town–sort of European like. The Aussies are very friendly and they think that Americans are hysterical. I got the feeling it is because we like to worry about everything. I often heard “no worries”–in that charming accent. It is a beautiful country. Have a wonderful stay.
      Carol

      Reply
      1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

        Thanks Carol. I do love the accents, but I have met a few Aussies that I can’t understand, hope that it more the exception and not the rule! We will be in the central business district, so I am looking forward to a more urban lifestyle for awhile.

        Reply
        1. Carol Graves

          One more thought. Be careful crossing the street. They don’t have the same pedestrian rules that we do! I stepped off the curb early one time and came close to getting run over…. I received the book. Thanks so much.

          Reply
          1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

            I sure hope I remember. I don’t mind driving on the other side, but crossing the street is scary!

  2. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

    Thanks Lynne! Actually I started out in business before marriage and kids and then spent 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, before entering the workforce. And even then, I worked from home, around the kids’ schedules and kind of pretended I was still a SAH mom. My focus on helping business owners and salespeople evolved for the last 6 or 7 years, but with this new blog it feels like a homecoming. Thanks for reading, posting and for your support.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks Carla, it does feel rather amazing: to go on an adventure and see where it takes me personally, spiritually and professionally!

      Reply
  3. Dawn Thomas

    Heidi,

    Your not this morning announcing your sabbatical and awesome opportunity to spend 5 months in Australia really did put a huge smile on my face! I am absolutely thrilled for you and your husband–what a dream come true in being able to live out following your passions!

    I have a couple of girlfriends in Sydney. Let me know if you’d like an introduction. They are wonderful lasses!

    Can’t wait to see your updates and share your experiences from afar!

    Dawn

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks Dawn, it is an awfully big adventure! Will be posting all about it as we live it. Thanks for the support.

      Reply
  4. Karen Korman

    Heidi
    Wonderful ruminating….. as an older mother who swore she wouldn’t have kids till faced with the ticking clock at 30, I don’t really think that the experience of mothering even has a vocabulary. I tell people who I meet with young children to keep their eyes on their children because “before you turn around”…… they will be middle aged children, or worse, perhaps, adults. As a mom at 39 and then again at 43, I am astounded at how quickly the time passes. Even when you are completely immersed, as I was, it is incredible to see them as “functioning” adults – although I’m not sure when this really kicks in! The possibility of an adventure after all these years to spend quality time with your husband is a gift – though not without it’s downsides, in another country. Nonetheless, it’s an opportunity to explore who you are beyond your children. As someone who daily misses the PTA and soccer league and is reinventing the third half of my life, I wish you luck and joy in this unknown.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      It is such a funny experience to be an empty-nester. On the one hand I too miss all the commotion and excitement of having the kids around, but it is also awfully nice to set our own schedule for what we want to do without having to be at the whim of the school or community or kids!

      Reply
  5. Julie

    This adventure sounds super exciting! How amazing to spend some serious time in another country, not just a couple weeks. I feel really honored to have met you way back at one of Betty’s wine partys, and then again at one of Lynns events, all pre-book. Then the best selling author event! I was in such awe! I have the copy of your first book, and excited about the next! Have an amazing time down there! Can’t wait to see what you will create while away :)

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      Thanks for your kind words about my writing. It is a real ebb and flow thing to get ready for this trip. Being able to be away for 5 months means we will get to really feel like we are away, but with all our running around and seeing places like Tasmania, New Zealand, Indonesia and of course lots and lots of places in Australia, I hope that we feel rooted in Melbourne for a bit too!

      Reply
  6. Beth Gonyea

    What an amazing adventure you have before you. When I was pregnant with my oldest, my husband was semi unemployed (the company that paid him a salary closed and for 18 mos he was doing consulting work for a startup company that wasn’t paying him enough to cover our mortgage). That winter he was offered a job to manage a shop at the base of Steamboat Springs ski area. It would have been a wonderful adventure, but the logistics that you just went through seemed too daunting and we didn’t take the leap. I am having a vicarious thrill reading about your plans. Safe travels and grand adventures to you both.

    Reply
    1. Heidi BK Sloss Post author

      It is daunting and while pregnant even harder. I know from experience. When I was pregnant with our first (now 23 year old) we moved to Vienna, Austria for a year. Didn’t have to pack everything away as we had a house sitter because we were going back and forth all year every 6-7 weeks (except for my last trimester!). But even that was a lot. Furnished rentals there did not include plates, cups, towels, etc. Thank goodness there was an Ikea there. But even so, overwhelming. And what was I thinking of having the baby in another language? It all worked out, but some of us learn the hard way!

      Reply

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