I’ve been trying to decide where I wanted to live for more than a year. At first, I was set on returning to the US and living in Austin, TX. But after a lot of immigration headaches, I had to open my mind to other options, and picking one ended up being the hardest part. After 12 years of never staying in one place more than 2 years, I think it is time for me to pick one place and try to stick to it. But where?
The easiest option was to stay in France. I’ve been mostly in France since September, and I’ve found myself comfortably going back to situations I know and understand. But easy and comfortable isn’t really what I’m looking for, so part of me felt restless that I was settling down for simple, easy, and maybe a little lazy.
The other main option was to saddle up and go for another round of E2 (investor/entrepreneur) visa application, to return to the US. But the more I tried to understand why my first application was denied, the less sense it made. Some rules for E2 visas completely contradict themselves, and you’re left wondering how to tiptoe a line that isn’t clearly traced. Take this example: I was refused entry into the US at one point last year, for having hired an employee, which apparently I wasn’t allowed to do. So I let the employee go, and then one of the reasons they gave for refusing my E2 this year was that I didn’t have any employees… Um, what? Add to that having to spend another $10k on the application, plus having to completely rework my business plan into something I don’t like, and this option felt less and less appealing every day.
Enter option 3: go somewhere new. I thought about all the factors I wanted to take into consideration, and tried to leave emotions out of it. So I made a big table and rated different places on a bunch of criteria, which included things such as real estate opportunities/work, immigration, quality of life, family, roller derby, Red Bull crashed ice training (skate parks + skiing + ice rink availability), etc.
Australia came first.
So I’m flying to Melbourne tomorrow. When I arrive, the plan is to see if I could actually see myself living there, and do all the things I want to do. I know I can easily return to France if I end up not liking it, so I’m not putting any pressure on this trip.
The funny thing is that I used to be completely obsessed with Australia when I was 9 or 10, and I kept bugging my friends with trivia facts about it. Did you know Australia is 12 times bigger than France? I had even learned the names of all the marsupials, as if it would be useful information if I ever did go there. I’ve long forgotten what all the marsupials are, but I’m still really excited about discovering this country, and seeing what my life could look like down under. Maybe I’ll only be there for a few months, but maybe I’ll end up staying there for a lot longer. All I know is that it’s time to try something new.