Today I’m interviewing Meg Knox-Davies, a South African blogger over at This Is Us Living now living in Dublin, Ireland. She shares her migration journey, challenges and adventures that her international move has brought her.
Where in South Africa are you from and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Durban, but we moved up to Joburg in 2012 and were living there before we moved to Ireland at the end of last year. Now we live in Dublin.
What do you blog about and did you start your blog before or after your move?
I started my blog in 2013 to journal my struggle to become a runner, and try get fit, happy and healthy. We made the decision to try living overseas, on our honeymoon, after a very candid chat about what we wanted most out of life. When we moved, my blog sort of started evolving. I have always been very real and honest on my blog, sharing more of our life than I probably should, so when we moved I wanted to talk more about our reasons why and all our travels. |It turned more into showing more of our life, not just the running part. So I rebranded my blog in March 2017 as ‘this is us… living’.
What made you move overseas, when did you move and is it a permanent or temporary move?
The reason we moved is not for any other reason than we wanted to travel more, and experience/see more of the world. We don’t have kids, and we are newly married, so we figure that now is the best time to go out and see the world. We have no idea where this journey will take us – maybe we stay here in Dublin, maybe we move somewhere else, maybe we go home. We arrived in Dublin in November 2016, so it has only been a few months, we are still figuring it all out as we go.
What was the biggest challenge when you first arrived in your new country?
The biggest challenge so far has been finding myself a job. I was very fortunate that my previous company back home offered me a contract to work while we moved over, but that contract was always going to end in March this year. What people don’t realise is that jobs are hard to come by the world over. It is not just a thing we face in South Africa. So, I have been looking, and hopefully something will come through. That really is the final piece of the puzzle to making this whole living overseas and travel thing possible.
Did you ship all your household goods or start from scratch and why did you choose what you did?
We sold most of our things and only shipped three boxes. In hindsight, I think I would have sent over less. Our flat here is small, and it came furnished, so we really didn’t need to send anything over. We have chosen to downscale and live more simply, through this process we have realised how much stuff we had that was just ‘nice to have’ – and certainly not essential.
How long did it take you to feel like you’d settled in?
We did a heck of a lot of pre-planning, so when we arrived we really did hit the ground running. For the most part, we are settled, it is just my job that is left to be sorted.
How did you choose where to live?
My husband and I hate queues and traffic (who doesn’t, right?)! We based our home where my husband would be working. Since we have decided not to invest in a car here, access to public transport was essential. We also brought over our pug, so places to walk the dog were also top priority. I am happy to say we were very lucky to find a spot that is close to several parks, as well as a beach. Plus, bus line, train stop, bikes and tram all very close to our front door. My husband cycles to work now – crazy!
What resources did you use in planning your move and did you find them useful?
I wrote a blog post about this! Haha. We did A LOT of research. We had a friend who did a similar move and we asked him questions daily. Before we even said yes (to the job offer), we had our budget worked out. We worked out what it was going to cost us to move and most importantly, how we would afford to live when we got over there. The most important thing for us was that we needed to go to a country that allowed us to travel – that is why we started this journey, so if we got over here and then were earning salaries that barely allowed us to survive, there would be no point to moving over.
Did your expectations match up to the reality of living in your new country?
Ireland is very cool, but in some ways, South Africa is more evolved. You don’t realise how good things are at home, until you are living a new reality. We went with open minds, and because we are doing it for the adventure, we are open to anything really. Ireland is small though, there is a strong chance we may outgrow it.
What is your favourite thing about living in your new country?
Public transport. Affordable, unlimited, high speed wifi everywhere, and the days are getting longer now.
What do you miss most about South Africa (besides family and friends)?
Good affordable South African wine! And warm weather.
Do you see yourself living in your new country long term or are you planning to return to South Africa?
No idea. We still have our house which we rented out, but for the most part we are just taking day by day.
If you could give someone one piece of advice about life in your new home country, what would it be?
Just go with it, don’t try to replicate the life you had back in South Africa – try living life differently. And try hanging out with people who are not South African. It is easy to cling to people who have gone through what you have, but making local friends really helps you to understand and accept your new country better.
And finally, where can we find you online?
Blog – http://thisisusliving.com/
Facebook Group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/thisisusliving/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/thisisus_living/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/thisisus_living
Pinterest – https://za.pinterest.com/thisisus_living/
Are you a South African blogger living overseas? I’d love to hear from you and feature you on my blog – get in touch with me today!