Australia. There’s probably more Irish there at the moment than Australians. It seems to be the place for Irish people to emigrate to and yet, despite the fact that several of my friends are over there right now, I have zero interest. Sure, I would like to visit Australia at some stage, but I don’t want to move there. Though when I say this to people, even close friends, they look at me like I have two heads or something. When my boyfriend returned after spending 4 months there, one of the most common questions he got was ‘Would you go back?’. And most times he answers ‘No, not without Breige’. Cue people turning to me with an inquisitive look on their face. Which quickly turned to shock when I said I had no intention of heading out there anytime soon.
Why is this so shocking? Why is it such a bad thing to want to be close to home? Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel and can’t wait until I can jet off somewhere again. I’m not one of those people who never wants to leave their county, let alone the country. But Australia isn’t a priority right now. If someone handed me a wad of money and said ‘Here, go travel!’. Europe would be first on my list. Which apparently is ‘boring’ as it’s on the doorstep and I can go there anytime. But it’s what I want! And people seem to sneer at this for some reason.
I don’t want to leave Ireland like my grandparents had to. I’ve lived here most of my life, it’s my home and I’m damn proud of it. Especially after the international spotlight has shone so brightly on us recently, I can’t tell you how happy I was that the Queen of England and Barack Obama’s visits went smoothly. The atmosphere here after that was amazing, a mix of hope, pride and happiness. There was no talk of IMFs, recessions or bankers, just the sheer pride of being Irish.
As much as I want to stay home and help rebuild the economy, it’s looking worse as the days go by. The timing for my college graduating year couldn’t have been worse. We went into college during a boom, when jobs were plentiful. One of the first things that was said to us in college was that everyone in the course who had graduated that year either went into a job or into further studies. 4 years later and it’s a different story. Even after a year, there’s still so many of us unemployed. It is disheartening and at the same time frustrating, because my generation didn’t cause this recession and yet we’re suffering for it. Suffering for something we had no control over.
It’s no wonder that so many people I know are now living abroad. And it’s in my mind more and more everyday. Should I stay or should I go? By the end of this year, unless things pick up, I might just have to go. Where to? I don’t really know. London maybe, or perhaps Canada. Australia? I might not want to go there, but the way things are, I might not have a choice.