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Downshifting - Brits Abroad


Lifestyle change of Brits abroad
Bondi beach, Sydney, Australia Maybe you fancy surfing to work for a change?
One in three Britons are plotting their escape from these islands to work or live abroad, according to a report.

According to projections, an extra 6m Brits will be living on foreign shores by 2020.

While the majority will make the move at retirement age, around 2m will be taking up jobs in different countries, the research suggests.

Stress reduction, shorter working hours, better weather, cheaper property - the list of motivations is endless.

The range of favoured destinations is also growing, according to the report by Alliance and Leicester International and the Centre for Future Studies which questioned 3,000 people .

While the US, Spain, Australia and Canada are still popular, more opportunities are arising in destinations such as Croatia, Turkey, India, China, Russia, Indonesia and Brazil.

I've gone from working 60-70 hours a week and just about killing myself, to cleaning pools for 15 hours a week, playing golf and having fun
Jim Logan, Spain
Why are Britons heading abroad?

Among the statistics are the predicted 4m people who will choose a foreign country for their retirement by 2020.

For Jim and Anna Logan, there's no going back from Cuidad Quesada, in the Alicante region of Spain.

Jim retired three years ago at 53, when crippling arthritis in his feet and ankles left him barely able to walk.

The couple had previously lived abroad - with a 12-year stint in Zambia.

'Why go back?'

"We're absolutely delighted with life here. It's not a smooth passage - there's all sorts of hoops to go through," said Jim.

"But you have to adjust, and we love it. I've gone from working 60-70 hours a week and just about killing myself as a sales rep, to cleaning pools for 15 hours a week, playing golf and having fun.

"It's not just the sun that has helped me healthwise, but also having time to think about what we eat and just looking after ourselves."

More younger people are also thinking globally, according to the research - the final publication of which is due in August.

We know several people who have gone home and regretted it
Iain Bannister, New Zealand

Iain Bannister and his partner Amanda Ellen, both 31, decided to leave the UK three years ago because they wanted to travel.

"We travelled through South America, then came to New Zealand. We still haven't left," says Iain.

"When we got here we thought 'why go back?'."

Both work for large financial institutions in the North Island city of Auckland. Although, with having children in mind, they plan to return to Scotland next year they have applied for New Zealand citizenship "to keep their options open".

"We know several people who have gone home and regretted it," he says.

'Dumped in a motel'

Although Iain says they had a good quality of life when they lived and worked in Perth, Scotland, the lifestyle in New Zealand is more active and the people have more of a "can do" attitude.

"There are different things to see and do here, and you get a lot more bang for your buck. We live five minutes from the beach and have got the best drive to work in the world," he says.

"But I don't agree with Kiwis who say their life is better overall than people in Britain. A lot of them have travelled to London but don't realise it's not representative of the whole country."

"I don't hate the UK at all, there are things I miss such as the beer and the sociable nature of it."

"What I don't miss is the negativity."

Steve and Lisa Hamilton Steve says do plenty of research before you leave it all behind

But things don't always run so smoothly with a move overseas.

For 32-year-old Steve Hamilton and his wife Lisa, 25, relocating to New Zealand has been fraught with difficulties.

"I packed in my job last week, it had got so bad. If someone had given us a flight back to England there and then we would have taken it."

Steve was recruited as a mechanic with a firm in Auckland, while still living in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.


Because of his skills Steve was granted a 30-month 'talent visa' and they prepared to move their belongings, and two dogs, to the Southern Hemisphere.

"Just before we left I was trying to contact my boss to find out which part of the city I'd be working in, but got no reply.

"When we arrived we were dumped in a motel and got no support. When we were told I'd be working in North Auckland we discovered there had been a housing boom there and it was outside of our price range."

Three days before the dogs arrived - at a cost of £3,000 - the Hamiltons found a place 40 miles outside of the city.

"It is a nice rural, tranquil setting," said Steve.

Their peace was shattered when they discovered Lisa was six months pregnant.

When Steve's boss realised the baby was conceived in the UK things went sour.

Steve now has a new job in a smaller, friendlier town, and the couple have decided to stick it out until the baby arrives.

"We're seeing it as a battle that we want to win, but we are not thinking of staying permanently," he said.

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