What brought you to Sydney?

Do you think you’ll stay here?

Those are the two questions I get asked all of the time. Even my closest friends and fellow expats have a tendency to ask.

I suppose I’ll never stop getting asked those questions, although the context will change the more years I find myself still in this vibrant city. But that’s all still a bit of a mystery to me. A mystery that makes me anxious, but excited that years, months, and even weeks from now, there is so much unknown. There is so much left to discover, around each and every corner.

What brought me here? School. What brought me back? My friends. And a city that I fell in love with. Maybe a love of my independent self. Maybe it was the ease of the English language, and those little lazy, nasally vowels that us Americans fawn over when in the presence of an Aussie.

The ocean. The surf. The lifelong dream.

Bondi Beach Sunrise - Sydney, Australia

I don’t even know what it was in the end, but from the moment I stepped on that return leg of a United Airlines flight back to Seattle, I was plotting my return.

As fellow Americans head off on semi-annual trips back home and ask me what I want them to bring back for me. I don’t have an answer. I don’t miss much. I have all of the things I love to eat or wear here. And they can’t bring me my mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law, my sister and her kids. They can’t bring back my best friends I’ve had since I was 12.

I love the laid back lifestyle, you’ll never hear me complain about my doorstep being Bondi Beach, and yea, I’ve been known to favor an Aussie accent. Earlier this year, a casual text conversation with my dad enlightened me to the knowledge that he {and likely most of my immediate family and friends} have been fully aware of my Aussie preference since my first trip to Whistler in 2008. I suppose I’ve never been one to keep my smiles and daydreams to myself.

But honestly, the realization that this was home came from a few different scenarios. Each one tested me more than the last.

The stories have been told, more than once on these pages, on phone calls and text messages.

It’s been the last year that has tested me the most. I’ve made true, lasting friendships and accepted that they would be added to my list of forever. I’ve been through break-ups: plural. I’ve struggled at work, more than I did the first year I was there. I’ve had reasons to question if Sydney was still the place for me. And in the face of all the challenges, I never found myself thinking:

I want to go home. 


I want to hug my mom, my dad, my brother. Of course. I think that often. But I want to go home has never come to me as the logical escape route.

Often times those who move around, those who travel, who refuse to cement themselves to one place; they get told that they must be running. They must have a deep dark past, they must have never fit in where they come from. In my case, some of that may be true, but if I’m running it’s not from a past too dark to manage. It’s not from a rough family or friends who just don’t understand. It’s not from a accident or the loss of a career. If I’m running, it’s from a life I didn’t feel like was mine. A career path that I felt I was being pushed into, blunted to fit. Policies and decisions that didn’t suit me.

Happiness is what we should use to define the journey. And even in a moment of tears, happiness for me is my life in Sydney. The good with the bad, the storms with the sun. The crashing waves with the flat surf.

So the answer is, yes, I plan to stay.