6 lessons I learned living overseas

Moving overseas from England to Sydney at the age of 27 is the best thing I could have done. I learned a new way of living, tried my hand at many different sports and I discovered a whole new Lucy. Professionally it was a great move, yet personally it’s been invaluable, so as I move to a brand new country to start afresh, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the 6 lessons I learned living overseas. 

If you ever get the opportunity to do it, say YES! 

1. Be active into your old age

Sister Madonna Buger, the 'Iron Nun'

A few weeks ago, I passed people in their 70’s and 80’s walking up to the summit of a mountain in New Zealand and I’ve been overtaken by older people running by the beach in Australia on numerous occasions. It’s all proof that the more you move your body now, the more you’ll be able to move it when you’re older. 

Older people have said to me that they feel younger in their head, and it’s almost a surprise when they look in the mirror. They feel like they’re in the 20’s not their 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, yet their body could be making them feel older. If you don’t use it, you lose it. That goes for all your muscle tone, strength, mobility, functionality, flexibility. You have to keep moving your body, otherwise it will get used to being sedentary and be even harder to get going again. 

Take a look at Sister Madonna’s achievements, at the age of 82 years old she had competed in 40 Ironman Triathlons. She’s still going at 87 years old – what a legend.

2. Love the skin you're in

Before I moved to Australia – a hot climate – I would be paranoid about the cellulite on my thighs when wearing shorter dresses / skirts / shorts. 

Then I moved to Sydney and realised that wearing less clothing is essential for survival! Ok, ok, ok, less of the drama, I worked in an office with air con. However, I got around on public transport for the whole 7 years I was there, so I spent enough time in the heat and at the weekends I wore as little as possible to keep cool, and in the my first 2 years I was at the beach on most weekends throughout the Summer. 

I saw that many other women had cellulite, but it didn’t stop them wearing floaty dresses or hitting the beach – you just own it. A tan helps everything too, so I became a big fan of home tanning in the last 2 years (I even packed a bottle of my favourite tan in my shipment to Dublin!)

3. Your friends won't go anywhere, you just get more!

I’m still in contact with about 80% of the friends I had when I left in 2011, I went back regularly to see my family, and always saw as many friends as possible.

I was the one who moved to the other side of the world, so it was on me to make sure the time zone instructions were clear for catch up calls, though they did become a lot less frequent as the years went by. That’s because I knew no matter how long I went without speaking to certain friends, we could pick everything straight back up the next time we spoke. 

The bonus is that now I have another group of friends in Australia, who have been by my side through good times and bad. I have so many great memories from the times we shared.

4. Push yourself to the limit

Set yourself a goal that seems out of reach, make a plan, surround yourself with the right support crew and achieve it. This could be anything – fitness, academic, personal. For me that was doing my first Triathlon, and later my Bikini Competitions. Bodybuilding pushed me to my limits, yet I was always in control, so it taught me a lot about my body and my mental strength. 

What will be your challenge?

5. Be accountable for what you eat

Learning how to meal prep has changed the way I live forever, I would say this is the most important lesson I learned living overseas. Cooking meals in batches, which you portion up and store in the fridge so you have your food sorted for 3-4 days at a time is an amazingly efficient use of time AND you are completely in control of what you’re eating. 

I started meal prepping 4 years ago in preparation for my bikini competitions, so the food was bland and seasoned only with herbs and spices. Since then I’ve experimented with flexible dieting (meaning it was ok to add sauces to my food again, yet I was still measuring food), then I tried Intuitive Dieting where I gauged how much I needed to eat instead of measuring it out. I need to tighten the reigns every now and then, but I feel my most healthiest when I’m preparing my food for 80% of the week and the other 20% I’m having other unplanned food, whilst out and about or enjoying a meal out with friends.

If you’re really looking for results, you need to get in the kitchen. Why not start with improving your breakfasts and taking your own food to work? Read my post on Top 3 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

6. Embrace your evolution

Don’t pigeonhole yourself and think that all you have been is all you ever will be. Your skill set will evolve at work and lead you into roles, which will challenge you & make you uncomfortable. Your friendship groups will change as other circumstances change like age, job, location, hobbies, lifestyle, relationship status etc. Sometimes that can be an opportunity to move on and step away from people who no longer add value to your life.

See yourself through the eyes of others. You will always be more critical of yourself, and perhaps doubt what you could achieve, so share your dreams with a trusted friend and they will show you the ‘you’ they see. 

I met some very special people in Australia, each and every one of those people have shaped who I am today, and am so thankful to because they’re the reason I say YES a lot more and dream BIGGER than I ever did before.

Australia, you changed me forever, I will never forget you. 

Lucy x

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