Welcome to Relocation Recap, a regular feature on the Health & Wellness Revolution blog
Sharing relocation experiences of women
from across the world
Feeling alone is a common challenge of relocation.
This interview series aims to shines light on the many ways you can feel more connected, inspired and capable when moving from your comfort zone to somewhere new and unfamiliar.
You may well read about someone who faced similar challenges to your own, and surmounted them. As you can too.
If you, or anyone you know, would like to be featured in this interview series, please contact Kylie here.
If you, or they, would like to read more, become a newsletter subscriber here, and receive a free gift for doing so.
Today I welcome Lacey Filipich
Where do you live now, and where have you lived?
Currently in East Fremantle (a suburb of Perth in Western Australia).
I have lived in:
- Queensland (Brisbane, Gold Coast)
- Western Australia (Perth, Kalgoorlie, Busselton, Australind)
- America (Farmington in New Mexico)
While living in Perth, I have at various times worked fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) so have lived part-time in:
- Cannington (900km inland of Townsville)
- Newman (1500km north of Perth)
- Victoria (all over)
In Perth, I’ve lived in several houses in many different suburbs, all south of the river. In one instance I lived in four different houses in seven months (those were extraordinary circumstances, during which I learned moving with a young child – my daughter was 12-19 months in that period – is nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be).
What do you do, what ‘hats do you wear’, how do you spend your time, paid and unpaid?
At the moment, I wear several work ‘hats’:
- Founder and director of Money School – my passion business, where I teach people how to manage and grow their money.
- I write professionally for Steel Heels (toolkits and blogs) and have recently joined the writing team at Perth Mums Group.
- I volunteer as a non-executive director on a not-for-profit board in the mental health sector.
- I work part-time for a management consulting firm in the mining industry (fully flexible from home).
I also work for hugs, kisses and love as the full-time at-home parent of my two gorgeous kids, Zoe (2.75yo) and Owen (4mo).
My career started in mining when I graduated from chemical engineering in 2003. I’ve been on the move ever since I took my first mining role in Kalgoorlie, moving there from my childhood home of Brisbane.
If I get any spare time, I currently spend it sleeping (the joys of having a young breastfed bub!) When I’ve got rid of my sleep debt, I’ll get outside into the sun and water as much as possible, and I’ll relax by reading and watching movies. But for now, sleep is king.
What have you gained by relocating?
Fantastic professional and personal life experiences – I have friends all over the place, and I’ve worked in such a diverse range of circumstances that people find it hard to believe I’m just 33yo when they see my CV.
A lot of confidence – I feel like no matter where I am, I’ll be fine. I’ll make friends, I’ll find the best restaurants, I’ll try new things.
A distaste for things – over the years, I’ve pared down my belongings considerably. I value experiences much more highly than the stuff I own.
A love of travel – new cultures and experiences really interest me. I’ve travelled extensively through North and South America and Asia. Next on the list is Europe.
Enough money to work 6mo of the year and have a mini-retirement for the other 6mo (did this for three years, before having kids).
What have been some of the challenges?
Maintaining a relationship with my husband (we’ve been together for 10 years, married for four of those). I’ve often worked FIFO, leaving him behind in a residential role. We’ve made up for our time apart by taking extended breaks from work before we had kids (those mini-retirements I mentioned) and now that we have kids we agree that if we move, we all go together.
Sleep is a challenge for me. Being FIFO to a mining site, or staying in a different hotel each week as I did when I was FIFO to Victoria, means you switch beds regularly. This was especially difficult when I was 6mo pregnant, as it’s hard to get comfortable on a rock-hard site mattress. I have been known to take my buckwheat pillow with me.
Being away from family. I am close to my parents, and it was very hard to move 4,000+km away when I was 21 years old. We make a point of catching up as much as possible and I wrangled my contract work so I could fly to visit them regularly (separately – they’ve been divorced since I was 8yo). Luckily, both of them have followed me to Perth since I had the kids, so now I get to see them weekly.
Not being ‘home’ for major events. My sister and my great-aunt died (at different times) when I wasn’t in Brisbane, that was really hard. When my great-aunt died, I’d just moved to New Mexico so I couldn’t even get back for the funeral. I also have to prioritise what life events I attend for my friends (e.g. I only go to the weddings now, not the engagement parties – and even some of the weddings don’t get a look-in any more).
What have you learned, about yourself and about others?
Get rid of your things! They tie you down.
- Don’t put anything in storage if you don’t know when you’ll be back, unless you can store it for free.
- If it’s been in a box for more than 2 years and you haven’t gone looking for it, consider giving it away or throwing it out.
- If your move is temporary, rent whatever you can rather than buying it.
Join sporting teams wherever you go. It’s a fabulous way to make friends and ensures you don’t forget to exercise.
Be adventurous – get out and see the new place you’ve moved to. Living in New Mexico, we stayed in town just 6 out of the 26 weekends I was there for work. We saw more of the country than almost everyone I worked with because we took weekend trips all over the place.
What would you have missed out on, had you stayed in one place?
I wouldn’t have met my husband.
I wouldn’t have found my favourite place to live in the world – Perth. Having tried a lot different cities, and suburbs within my chosen city, I can confidently say I’m in the best place on earth (for me).
Confidence. Having lived in the same suburb for 19 years growing up, and being so close to my family, it would have been easy to stay in Brisbane. Taking the leap to move 4,000+km away, and thriving as a result, I’ve found ever since that the thought of change and moving doesn’t scare me.
Did your physical and emotional health improve or decline after relocating?
I find it depends on the place and why I’m moving. For example:
- Living in dusty mining towns (Kalgoorlie and Farmington) has given me a tendency to colds and sinus infections when I’m in that kind of environment. When I started FIFO to Newman (similarly dry and dusty) I bought a travel humidifier to sleep with, and now I take that whenever I travel, haven’t had a problem since.
- When I’ve had a stressful experience (e.g. when I was FIFO to central QLD – I was catching 4-6 flights a week and was ‘on the road’ for roughly 36 hours a week) I’ve become very ill very quickly. It’s a trigger for me to have a holiday. I find I come good with about a week off.
In general, my mental health improves after a move as I’m quite stimulated by the new place and interested in what great activities there are to do and places to explore. I’m planning adventures, checking out new restaurants etc. I find that very exciting.
What did you do to feel as healthy, capable and happy as possible while relocating?
Outsource. For example:
- I had the same PO box for 10 years, and I simply redirected it to a virtual assistant whenever I wasn’t in Perth. She scanned and emailed my mail to me each week. I had one redirection for three years.
- I always hire a cleaner, so I can focus on enjoying myself with whatever free time I have.
Eat well. Crappy takeaway for nights on end is simply not an option. I find a decent deli or restaurant and get good food into me from the beginning.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Delayed flights, lost baggage, broken vases, crappy digs – these are all facts of life. I prefer not to worry about them, because it doesn’t seem to help or prevent them from happening.
When and if you experience self-doubt, fear or stress, how do you embrace these feelings and move on?
In my case, a good night’s sleep cures all ills. If I’m feeling stressed or unhappy, I make sure I get some rest and try not to think about it until the sun is shining again.
Self-doubt – of the ‘what am I doing, so far from my friends and loved ones’ variety – is inevitable. Homesickness is too. I remind myself that everyone is just a flight away, and if it’s really bad, I book holidays and take that flight ASAP. It’s often enough to make me feel better. A Skype call is a much cheaper option.
I focus on all the fun experiences I’m going to have in my new home. That motivates me and makes me happier.
What would you say to others contemplating a relocation?
Do it! Life is an adventure, and relocation is an excellent opportunity to have some adventure forced into your life.
If you have any concerns, remind yourself that it need not be permanent. If you don’t like it after 6mo, pull the pin and go back home.
Outsource as much as you can.
Don’t buy anything you don’t absolutely need.
What would you say to yourself if you were contemplating another relocation?
Time to find that travel humidifier…
What’s next for you?
Celebrating the longest I’ve spent in one house in 13 years (will be 16mo in December in our current home, that’s a personal record).
Planning a trip to Europe (hoping for 3+mo, will be an interesting experiment with 2 small kids, as we like to keep on the move).
Getting Money School’s curriculum online.
Thank you Lacey!
Now back to you, dear reader – are you contemplating relocating?
Check these extra resources out:
Your Relocation Solution (the book): be healthy and happy, wherever you are. The ultimate guide for women wishing to feel connected, inspired and capable when moving from their comfort zone.
Healthy Relocation Coaching (one-on-one)
Free Resources (articles, recipes, tips – including an awesome moving abroad checklist)
And please comment below, your thoughts, ideas, experiences and challenges are welcome and appreciated.