"Richer for being poorer"
It's a line out of Poldark. And it's a beauty.
In fact, it sums up why we're here. Why we gave up our comfy little life in Brisbane, Australia - where we had a newly-renovated home, family right on our doorstep and friends. Real life-long friends. You know the sort. On top of that, our son had just started his first year of school, I had a dream job and our chickens had finally started laying eggs. So why move?
For my husband, it was the opportunity of a lifetime - a promotion to be Channel 9's
Europe Correspondent. For me - it was a chance to tackle my bucket list. To not just visit another country but to live in one.
We wanted the London adventure and didn't care too much about the other stuff - stuff like money. Which sounded fabulously footloose and fancy-free at. the. time.
And then we got the reality check. Like usual, it arrived inconveniently late. We were already in London and couldn't exactly turn around. Rent here is extraordinary. So is the price of food. And all those 'cheap flights to Europe'? When you converted everything into Aussie dollars, they weren't that cheap. Not for a family of 4.
The next blow followed pretty quickly... apparently children don't enjoy pubs as much as their parents do.
And then there was the near-knockout. We had two small children. We weren't on any daycare wait-lists and had no family or friends to help with child-minding.
So we did the maths again. And worked out that it would be cheaper for me to stay at home with the kids, than work and hire a nanny, particularly given the unpredictable hours a foreign correspondent works. So... just like that... our income effectively halved.
We had enough to 'get by' (of which I'm forever grateful) but the problem with 'just getting by'... is that... well, what's the point? What's the point in moving half-way around the world... if you don't get to see it? Live it? Enjoy it? So, we moved into our next phase - which effectively meant we needed to ignore any accounting advice we've ever received... and do the exact opposite.
Instead of saving for a rainy day, we now save for our next trip and we live week to week - just like we did when we were at uni. And I know it might bite us in the arse down the track but it might not. We're only here for a few years and we intend to make the best of it. Already, our kids have seen things I'm only getting to in my thirties; they're experiencing new foods, diverse cultures; different climates. They're seeing at a very early age that the world is a big place, the opportunities out there are endless and somehow all of that has made the bond between the two of them... that much closer. (Sharing a bedroom really could have gone only one of two ways).
So yes. Money stress is stressful. We're definitely 'poorer' in the financial sense for having embarked on this adventure but we're by no means 'poor'. And there's certainly more to life than money. We're living it.
So when Ross Poldark announced he was 'richer for being poorer' I raised a glass. Maybe he's onto something.