Who are you?
My name is Natascha Carrel. I am 40 years old, I am married to my best friend and partner in adventure Yan. Together, we have three amazing children. Being a wife and mum is what makes me truly happy, it is my driving force.I am as well a passionate online entrepreneur on a mission and an author of a recently published book.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
We are originally Swiss and moved to Australia in 2011, so almost 8 years ago now. Time sure flies! A beach life in Australia was our big dream ever since we had visited back in 2001.
On our 6-month honeymoon trip around Australia, we fell in love with this amazing country, the culture, the lifestyle, nature, people, almost everything to be frank. We just knew, both of us did, but somehow we went back to Switzerland. Maybe to fit into society’s expectations? Most probably…
And in 2010, we finally decided to jump into the adventure and leave everything behind us in Switzerland because we had spent almost 10 years dreaming about it. We only have one shot at life on Earth, so why not make our dreams our reality? This is what pushed us to go chase our big dream regardless of what we should or should not do.
What challenges did you face during the move?
So many, I am not even sure where to start!
It sure wasn’t easy but totally worth all the struggles. I can now laugh about it but it was tough, really hard.
To name a few, we first had to face the fact that we are not native English speaking and that was heavily affecting our visa options. Overall, we applied for over 500 jobs and in our case, finding an employer-sponsored job was pretty much like looking for a needle in a haystack. But a lot of commitment and a never quitting attitude got us to find it at the end!
Then, we almost got deported only three months into our new life. It was a horribly stressful situation to be in. I was barely sleeping during that period and truly scared to lose it all.
We also had to fight hard to not end up on the street with our three children as we found ourselves in the situation of being two days short of being roofless, certainly not ideal!
Looking back now, it all makes sense, all those hurdles were here to tell us something and we got the message, which I am now extremely grateful about. This is why I wrote my book. To give hope to people who are fighting or hesitating right now. We would love to inspire people to fight for their dreams and not quit because it gets hard!
How did you find somewhere to live?
We had our hearts set to live in Noosa right from the beginning. This location was and still is our dream location to call home. But we knew it wouldn’t be possible right away and that we needed an entry door to Australia. We were very open-minded on the location as long as it was coastal and not steamy hot Darwin. Not that we dislike Darwin, we just don’t cope well with the climate.
We started our Aussie adventure in South Australia, then moved to New South Wales and then eventually to Queensland. What a journey! In 2016 we finally moved to Noosa on our dream acreage property and never looked back.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Yes you’ll find lots of expats in Noosa, definitely more here than where we lived previously on the Central Coast of NSW. We actually felt a bit “exotic” there with our accents, but not here. Here, we have met many expats from the UK and other Swiss migrants as well.
The lifestyle is so laid back here, the climate is ideal and we have amazing beaches. It feels like a holiday all year round, even though we still have to work, haha!
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Really good. I feel like we have adapted extremely well and I am beyond proud of us for that, since we are what could be qualified as rather introverted. We now totally feel part of the community. I would say that having school-aged children helps a lot to get to know new people and have a common discussion ground.
We are very much involved in our swim club and surf lifesaving club as well. Joining a local club or association is something I would totally recommend to any new expat settling in. Australians are very welcoming in general and easy to talk to.
But saying that, although it is fairly easy to get to know new people first, I must admit that it can be harder to go a bit deeper into the friendship level with Australians. Most of our closest circle is made from other expats I must say. This is not something purposely chosen but it just happens this way.
What do you like about life where you are?
Almost everything! After all, it is the life and location we picked because we love it.
I think it is the beaches and the climate I love the most. I am a beach girl born in the mountains. Little things like having sunshine every day make me very happy. I believe people are happier when they get enough sunlight. And I love the community around here, very healthy and back to basics orientated, something that is very important to me.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
Without a doubt, I will answer “GOODBYES”
Whenever we have family or friends visiting or we go visit, saying goodbye is always hard and heartbreaking for everyone.
Also being so far away from loved ones is not always easy. We took the kids away from their grandparents, their initial culture. It is our job as parents to make sure they keep strongly bonded to what is part of their background.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Everything related to climate I would say.
It can only be different as the two lifestyles are total opposites. We always got attracted to the amazing outdoor lifestyle Australia offers, so different to the fairly secluded life in Switzerland. I have also noticed myself becoming so much more laidback and I ditched my perfection seeking mindset I had from Switzerland. It feels so good!
What do you think of the food and drink in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
Australia provides an amazing quality of food in particular in fruits and veggies. We have a climate here that helps of course. Most varieties just taste so much better here because they are local and grown with amazing sun all year round! You can just taste the difference!
Unfortunately, Australia has adopted a crazy and destructive love for fast and junk food. It is easy to access super cheap food that really is nothing else than junk, making people sick and obese, while eating healthy is most expensive for the average Australian.
I also think that Australians are consuming too much alcohol in general. Something I must say, worries me for the future of the next generations.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Go for it, whatever your dream is, make it your reality!
While you know that struggles will appear along the way, don’t try to prepare for them or wait until everything is aligned perfectly (as it will never happen!). Instead, celebrate the goals you have already reached and focus your attention on your action plan on how to get where you want to be in life!
Whatever life will throw at you, try to find the positive in the situation and do not quit, DO NOT QUIT! There is a reason for it, and it will make sense later on.
What are your plans for the future?
My husband and I are working on developing our business, we have so many ideas and want to help so many mums and dads to get to the point they can actually live their dream life with their children thanks to a portable business. It has changed our lives and we love to share with others.
I am currently expending a system where I help mums to create their own business, they can run from anywhere in the world around their family time. It is especially important for expat mums as they often find themselves in the situation of being in a new country with a working husband and kids to look after, no supportive network and therefore they have decreased chances of having a fulfilling professional life.
I am also currently writing my second book and promoting my first one, “All in on a Dream” – which is our expat story. All our ups and downs, successes and struggles, raw emotions of our family adventure in a book.
I am planning a book tour that is actually matching our travel commitments for the next months with our very sporty kids competing at State and National level around the country. Following that, we will enjoy some well-deserved time off, taking the kids out of school and go travel a couple of months during winter.
Life is exciting!
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