Living in a Limbo

boys-reading-surf-magsgirls-and-rolling-hillslighthousemama-and-marlowmarlow-in-balinamarlow-on-scootersmelling-the-star-jasminesurfs-upthe-pass-byron-baywaiting-for-the-moon

It’s been just over three weeks since we arrived back in Byron Bay — enough time to catch up with friends and to visit our favourite spots. There has been surfing, swimming, tree climbing and even a few sleepovers (for the big kids). We feel so lucky to be back in this extraordinary corner of the world and have been overwhelmed by the sweet words of encouragement we’ve received and all of the welcomes from Australians. We have also had many thoughtful questions about our family’s future plans: Is this your new home? What will you do there? Will you buy or rent? Will the kids return to school? Is this your forever place? So many BIG life questions — and the same ones that have been swirling around in our heads too.

If only things were so easy. While we’d love to call this beautiful place home and answer all of these questions now, we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if we did. We’re not there yet. For the moment we are just like anyone else visiting Australia from the UK or US — tourists. We have been granted a 90-day visit and will be using that precious time to get to know this community, to look for opportunities here and to investigate all paths toward a resident visa.

It is admittedly a bit of a gamble. Will this be the first three months of a long life in Australia or a three-month extension to our family travel adventure? We cannot be sure. What we do know is that this place, above all the amazing places we’ve visited this year and in years past, is where we’d love to settle. We know we are happier as a family here than anywhere we’ve been. We know we wake up feeling so thankful that we have found somewhere we love this much and so excited to discover what the new day will hold.

After so many months on the road, moving from place to place, you would think we’d choose somewhere easy and certain. Instead we’ve chosen to follow our hearts to where we’re happiest and hope that our determination will help us find a path toward making things permanent. With a bit of luck and lots of effort we hope things will work out as we imagine. Until then, all of the BIG life questions will have to remain in a holding pattern, circling above us as we await clearance to land. As always, we welcome your advice and recommendations.

Fingers crossed!

p.s. My camera broke at some point on the flight from the US to Australia, so I’ve been without my camera for the past few weeks, only able to snap some shots on my iPhone. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to share some better photos from this magical place. x

[UPDATE]

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all of your comments and questions. We’ve received many on the topic of immigration to Australia. While it’s a super interesting topic, and it makes sense that readers of this blog would have a special interest in it, we do not feel comfortable answering these questions or discussing the specifics of our application. In our case, we are working with an immigration specialist and slowly but surely making our way through what is a lengthy and complex process. Someday we may be able to share more about our experience but for now we just ask that you keep your fingers crossed for us! 🙂

Warmest Wishes,

Courtney, Michael & the kiddos

27 thoughts on “Living in a Limbo

  1. Thank you for sharing your moments of uncertainty, too, as they’re part of our lives.
    And as I typed “uncertainty”, this quote came to my mind: “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later”. So, even though you may already have a title for this chapter, enjoy this moment of undecided big life questions as I’m sure you do. Everything else will find its way soon.
    All the best from Spain.
    Maria xx

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  2. After taking a year out to explore the southern hemisphere, myself and my husband both got offered sponsorship in Australia (a long time ago before we had children) and I do wonder if we should have tried it. Sometimes if you have the opportunity to try something new you have to grasp it with both hands, but if it doesn’t work, then at least you tried. I wish you and your family all the best at working out where the next chapter will be. x

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  3. Babychino Kids Australia/NZ ?? I would love to go to a shopup event!! I’m sure that the reality of trying to settle and organise all of the things you mentioned (whilst pregnant!) is far less glamorous than the original ‘idea’ of living in Byron however, your hearts are what led you here and once the housekeeping (especially visas) is sorted you will feel more able to attach to your new home and the other plans will just flow! Having grown up next to the beach here in Sydney (northern beaches) I can say it is such a beautiful thing to come home from school/work and revitalise with a swim or surf in the ocean before homework and the boys I knew used to surf before school too which meant they were awake and ready for learning (after a huge carb loaded breakfast mind you!) for the day. Teenage boys have so much testosterone I truly believe surfing is such a great way to balance them. I’m sure I’m only telling you what you already know but just thought it might help to hear it first hand. I’ve spent a lot of time around Byron and would love to move to the area one day as there is so much magic about the place. We have family friends who made the move when their kids were little and never looked back! Apparently the Steiner school is great. As is Byron bay high school (public). And I know a few who love Lennox head public too (primary). I’m sure that the creative genius of you and your husband will prospect for a great opportunity and nail it! Hopefully it will be something people can visit and meet you (coffee plantation/cafe?) one day. Oh and by the way my sister who met you in Positano last year and her hubby have settled in London (Richmond, opposite the park) and enjoying it but not the cold!!!!! Xx

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  4. Sponsorship perhaps for your husband. We have many international friends who have obtained residency through this means. Or even perhaps one of you can study and retrain and obtain a student visa until other opportunities arise. Australia is a bit of a bugger immigration wise but if you want it, it will happen.

    Having watched friends struggle with immigration lawyers, if you go down that route, choose one that specialises and has success in your particular avenue. This has seemed to make the difference with friends.

    Best of luck and health while awaiting bubba and paperwork

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  5. ah courtney , how is australia not just handing you over a visa {US ambassador?} for you and your beautiful family. Babyccino Australia?!?!? A Babyccino Retail location? I know things will work out for you!!! I love your adventurous spirit xxx

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  6. Just wanted to comment on the visa situation as I understand that Australian visas can be difficult to get. My husband (French) and myself (Aussie) met in London and lived there for about 10 years (Warwick Avenue!!). We decided to move to Australia when our son was born and even with an Aussie wife and a son with an Aussie passport; it took my husband about 8 months to get his PR. He now has his citizenship – 5 years after arriving here!

    I think Byron is a great spot but I’m surprised you didn’t decide to settle in Sydney. Don’t rule it out! As you know, it has amazing beaches and great weather…. you get a bit of a city feeling while also feeling you’re “somewhere slower”. The schools are amazing and after school there are beaches on your doorstep and a great outdoor life. Having lived in London, we thought it was a great change in lifestyle – very laid back but still with good opportunities for jobs and education.

    Good luck and I hope you’re granted your visas soon…. and enjoy the warm Aussie Christmas!

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  7. Thank you so much for all your Australian travel tips. Gosh, this makes me want to travel again (and I thought I was happy to sit still for a while!). 🙂
    And we will look up your book recommendations as well. They sound like good Christmas present ideas!
    Thanks again, x

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  8. In limbo is a perfect place to be…your pictures spill happiness and enthusiasm for wherever the Lord guides you. Since I know you personally I encourage you to bring some treasures to your new resting spot. Family (Christmas) traditions are priceless and should be embraced and cherished since you and Michael are so far away from your own parents/siblings. All I care about is those smiles and the love that your pictures portray!! One day at a time. So proud of you all and the journey you are on as a family. But, don’t ever doubt how much you are missed in the States. XXXXXXOOOOOO

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  9. Good luck with the visa’s.pity you are not here on a work sponsored visa. Australia in summer should suit your taste for hot weather, it’s so hot!!! And the north coast will help with slowing down and surfing. Perfecto!! Get those visas in order and all ducks are aligned. Aussies are very nosey and not afraid to ask a lot of questions, but we also don’t take ourselves seriously and enjoy the humour in things. You will get used to us!! And have fun!!

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  10. Dear Courtney,

    I have been following you since the beginning of your gap year adventure but I have never had the courage to write a comment. Now, reading this wonderful, sincere post and noticing that some of the comments are not particularly kind I decided that I will comment as well. Because it is important to hear as many times as possible that you inspire so many of us.

    Following your adventures during your year of travel started out as a small colourful refreshing distraction in between the hundreds of appointments and chores of my busy day. I took a few seconds a day, sometimes once every few days, to check out your latest instagram feed and it never failed to make me smile. Every new picture you posted offered a glimpse into another way of life, another world and I was fascinated.

    When you announced that you are not going back to London I felt inexplicably excited and… hopeful. I have never met you and your family and will probably never meet you in person. And yet, you made me experience the most wonderful feeling of belief that dreams can come true if you have the courage to go after them. This belief is harder to find in oneself with the advancing of age. You reminded me that one needs to fight back against fear in pursuit of the life one wants, not to listen to the ‘well meaning’ voices and not to be put off by any impending difficulties. I also felt a thrill from the invisible virtual thread that connects me to you and hope that some of your courage will rub on to me.

    So thank you, thank you so very much! I sometimes think that all of this social media “interaction” is not real, but what your courage made me feel was definitely very real. My husband and I got inspired to make small changes to our own lives in order to find a slower pace and a more fulfilling day. We are even playing with the idea of moving to a different country for a year to experience another way of living.

    I wish you best of luck and I know that whatever administrative hurdles Australia has in store for you, you will overcome them.

    Keep inspiring us!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how heartwarming it was to read your comment and how thankful I am that you’ve taken the time to write and say such lovely things. I really, really appreciate it. It is interactions like this that reconfirm what I do love about social media and the online community. Sometimes I get a bit down on it all, but notes like yours remind me what an incredibly supportive and kind place it can (and should) be.
      I wish you all the best with your ideas/hopes of living in a different country for a year. What a wonderful experience for you and your family! Hopefully our paths will cross at some point. Thank you again, Courtney x

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  11. Dear Courtney,

    I just wanted to wish you and your family all the best with this move. We came to Aus nearly four years ago now from the UK and even though we have bought a house, we still very much feel like we’re in limbo. I figure once you have led a bit of a nomadic life then your heart will always wander, looking for it’s rightful place… and even then, this may change over time.

    It took us some time to adjust. The language may be the same but culturally it isn’t, and of course the practicalities of organising medical cover and such like, is surely headache-inducing. But like a poster above said, to come home from work, with the sun beating down on your skin and strolling down to the beach to feel the sea spray on your cheeks… there’s nothing like it. And I truly believe that it’s a wonderful place to bring up your children.

    If you happen to visit Victoria then we’re full of tips on things to do and places to go. We could probably find some camping gear if you wanted to borrow some 😉

    Take care,
    Vanessa

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  12. Good luck to your beautiful family, I hope all goes well. I think Australia would be very lucky to have you. I am so inspired by your magical posts on Instagram and this blog and can’t wait to see more of your life in this beautiful place you wish to call home. Good vibes to you from Isadora in ☀️L.A.

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  13. Hey, Courtney! I have been following you for a couple of years, and I’m so inspired by your adventures! My husband and three little ones live in Perth – we emigrated here three years ago from the UK. I have popped on here tonight to work out my schedule as we are following your adventures from Sydney to Brisbane! We leave on Thursday, so I thought I’d better get booking the camp sites!
    Thank you for sharing your life and your adventures, you have certainly made it so much easy for this Mama! We are heading from Sydney up to Noosa over 3.5 weeks and seeing some friends along the way. If I see you and your beautiful family when we are in Byron, I will come and say hello and can thank you in person. I have loved watching your journey over the last 18 months, and I am so happy for you guys that you decided to come and live in this beautiful country! It’s the best, and we feel so blessed to call it our home. Thank you so much for all the tips and good luck with the rest of your pregnancy – you are glowing! Love Susy x

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  14. Courtney- would you mind telling me where your beautiful, flowy white dress is from? This pregnant mama is in dire need of something just like it! Thanks darling 🙂

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