Simon MacLean was a man on a mission to get back to Australia, but his partner Jane simply wasn't ready to make the move. Where did they end up?
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Simon MacLean was a man with a mission.
Going to Australia is the thing I most want to do...in my life.
For fiancee Jane, that was a big ask.
He loves me and he wants to be me with forever,
but it doesn't mean that I HAVE to go.
A trial week down under proved tempting...
I have had one of the best days of my life.
..but when the reality of leaving
-loved ones brought her back down to earth...
-That was awful.
..Jane was faced with an unbearable choice.
I am going to break my mum's heart if I come here.
If I don't come here...
..I'm potentially stopping Simon living his dream.
But where are Jane and Simon living now?
Is it in the UK, or could it be Australia?
With breathtaking coastlines and a relaxed outdoors lifestyle,
Australia is a popular destination
for those looking to start a new life.
And with more kangaroos than people,
there is plenty of room for the 34,000 Brits that make the country
their new home every year.
Having moved to the UK from Australia almost half a century ago,
Simon MacLean has spent most of his adult life longing to return to the
country he once called home.
Now, with his sons from a previous marriage all grown-up,
he believed the time was right to make the move.
But first he needed to convince partner Jane to give up everything
she loved in the UK.
The journey from the UK to Perth took the couple nearly 9,000 miles
from home. But, despite spending 20 hours in the air,
they agreed it was a smooth ride.
The flight was good.
I don't particularly like flying,
and, actually, I quite enjoyed this flight.
Maybe it's because I was looking forward to getting to Australia.
Simon could hardly believe his feet
were finally back on Australian soil.
I've been, well, thinking about coming back to Australia ever since
I was a kid and I just can't wait to see what it is like for real.
But it was going to take more than nostalgia to win Jane round.
I have got to put Mum out of my head and Simon out of my head
and see how I am going to feel about coming here forever.
She has got to make her own decision.
I am never going to force her,
but I am hoping that she will love it enough to want to come.
Things would need to live up to Simon's expectations in the week
ahead if he was to persuade Jane
their future lay on the other side of the world.
When we first met them in 2016,
Simon MacLean and Jane Fisher lived in Chester, with their dog, Harry.
They had been together for three years.
We are just best friends.
-Absolutely best friends. I can tell him anything.
-Yeah, that's true.
-And, you know, I trust him, I love him to bits.
And even though he is a quirky old devil, I love him so much,
I really do.
-You can't just say "ditto"!
Having grown up down under,
mature student Simon had Australian citizenship and was desperate to
pursue his dream of moving back to the other side of the world.
I do regret that I didn't go when I was young,
but life gets in the way.
I got married, I had children - I don't regret either of those.
But it did prevent me going to Australia.
The subject had been a constant thread throughout the couple's relationship.
I think the pressure started almost immediately when we met.
You could say, literally, from the first conversation,
when I put my coffee down, I noticed place mats with Australia.
And it was like, "Oh, have you been to Australia?"
And it spiralled from there.
Going to Australia is the thing I most want to do in my life,
in our lives. But it would be like starting afresh, completely afresh.
In a new country and a new life,
and that's something I find very exciting.
Though banker Jane was not opposed to emigrating,
she hadn't imagined it any time soon.
I am looking at sort of, ten,
15 years' time I don't really want to work in Australia.
I want to lie in the garden and drink gin.
When Simon popped the question, Jane happily said yes,
but not necessarily to a life on the other side of the world.
I actually said to him,
"You do know this doesn't mean that I'm definitely going to Australia?"
Cos it doesn't, you know?
It means that he loves me and he wants to be with me forever,
but it doesn't mean that I HAVE to go.
With his children from a previous marriage grown up, for Simon,
it's now or never.
Yes, I am no spring chicken,
but I still feel fit enough and young enough to go to another
country and start again.
And if I leave it too long, I'll never get there.
For Jane, though, a move meant breaking close bonds in the UK.
Her best friend Sam was more like a sister.
I'm a certain age and it's taken me a long time to find my Sam
and I might never ever be able to have a friend like that again
because you don't get two Sams in this life, you really don't.
She's absolutely brilliant.
And as an only child,
Jane could barely conceive the idea of leaving her elderly mum.
She's just my mum, you know, I love her to bits.
Leaving her forever...I don't know.
Jane was torn between the people she loved most in her life.
I really can't imagine my mum potentially saying goodbye to me,
cos it could, it could be a goodbye.
And then again, I can't imagine waving Simon off on a plane to start
a life without me. I..I...
Which ever way I turn, it is wrong for somebody.
The week ahead was Simon's long-awaited chance to see if
Australia really could be his future.
But did he convince the love of his life to buy into his dream?
I want Jane to be happy.
I want us both be happy.
And I think she will be happy in Australia.
But there is no getting away from the fact that you're asking somebody
to give up an awful lot.
I am really looking forward to getting out there and seeing if it can be my dream.
It's just...can I do it?
-When push comes to shove, can I do it?
Simon and Jane spent their trial week in Perth,
capital of Western Australia, and Simon's boyhood home.
This two-bedroom house in Rockingham was their base for the week,
and as they arrived, Simon was already feeling at ease.
Ah...my Aussie home.
-Bigger than you thought?
I thought it was going to be really small.
As the couple explored further, Jane's first impression proved true.
-This is quite small.
-I would not want to buy something like this,
-it is too small.
-Yeah, too small.
It wasn't the kind of property to make Jane move half a world away.
I don't think I'd be rushing to
leave my little cottage to move into this.
No, no, I agree.
A nice place to stay for the week, though.
Good place to stay for the week.
Back in the UK, the couple lived in Jane's two-bedroom bungalow
in the village of Clutton, just outside Chester.
-I love my little house to bits.
It is, yes, small, but it is cosy small.
But I would love a place that is our house.
-That we buy together.
-We buy together and choose together.
Yeah, I understand that.
If they moved, their budget for a home down under was £300,000,
and they knew exactly what they wanted.
Modern, open-plan, we like that sort of inside-outside sort of living.
Yeah, I would like something... I would like a decent-sized garden.
Finding that perfect home in Australia was crucial if Simon was
to get Jane on board.
To give the couple an idea of what was available in Perth,
we arranged for them to view three properties -
two close to their budget,
and a third which should have been everything they were looking for
in a dream home.
The search began in the suburb of Waikiki,
30 miles south of Perth city.
Did this modern three-bedroom home hit the mark?
-That looks stunning.
OK, we'll take it.
Simon thought so.
-Oh, now you're talking!
-Oh, my goodness.
-Look at that view.
-Oh, my God!
And Jane was dumbstruck.
I...It's not often this happens, there are no words coming out.
-Would this do?
Things were off to a good start.
Think of the teddies I could get in here. Ah, wow.
Ah, walk-in robe!
And though the en-suite had a drawback...
-Only one sink.
-Only one sink.
..the family bathroom made up for it.
-I like the shower head.
-Oh, I like the shower.
-That is nice, isn't it?
And outside didn't disappoint either.
Ah, love it!
-Look at that.
-It is a great entertaining space, isn't it?
The pair seemed tickled pink with this property,
-but with a budget of £300,000, would the price be a hit or a miss?
-So, what do you think?
-325, I reckon.
-I'm going to go 275.
-Do you want to turn it over?
-Go on, then.
-No, you do it.
-No, you do it. Ladies first.
Ooh, all right, then.
Nearly bang on the money.
Being affordable, Jane was almost moved to tears.
-I can't believe we could... Oh, wow.
-We could live here.
Oh, my goodness. Wow.
Oh, let's just... Come on, let's just have it.
Simon's day couldn't have started any better,
and there was still two more properties to view.
The next was in Warnbro, a popular
suburb 40 miles south of central Perth.
Did this three-bedroom property impress as much as the first?
-I think we're going to have a view.
Ah, we're going to have a view.
We are going to have a view.
Simon was so smitten, he had forgotten to stop.
-Have we just driven past it? Yes.
After a quick U-turn, it was time to look inside.
-Oh, right, straight in.
-First impression, nowhere near as nice.
-Not as nice, yeah, I agree.
-Nowhere near as nice.
And the kitchen?
-The kitchen area.
-This one hasn't got about a wow factor for me.
Nor did the outside.
-Here we go.
-Oh, it's small.
But things took on a more positive vibe in the main bedroom.
Ah, now, this is nice.
I like this.
A bit cramped.
Though not for long.
No, I'm afraid it is still not...
-Not selling itself.
This property fell far short of the first one,
but if the price was below their £300,000 budget,
would it change their minds?
OK. I am going to say 250.
I'm going to have to agree with you. I think about 250.
-Come on then.
-You are kidding me!
-I am working on the principle
we've been shown a lovely one, a not-so-nice one, and now...
-The mansion is next.
-The mansion is next.
-The mansion is next, yeah.
The last property was in Baldivis,
a semi-rural suburb with plenty of amenities for modern living.
But did this stylish four-bedroom house become Jane's dream property?
Ooh, now you're talking.
That would be a yes, then.
I thought I loved the other one until I saw this.
Sounded like things were back on track.
Oh, this is lovely.
Yeah. This is what we were talking about, isn't it?
Beautifully modern, beautifully open-plan and it is just what we want.
It is, yeah.
And the cinema room was also a hit.
Ah, a theatre room!
Jane was lost for words again in the main bedroom.
Here we go, here we go. Here we go.
Oh, look at the...
-Look at the floor.
Look at the floor. Oh, my goodness.
-What's round the corner?
-I don't know.
-Why are we whispering?
-I don't know.
I don't know. Awed silence, I think is...
It is like being in a church.
Oh, it gets better. This is just amazing.
This is like a film star's house.
-And his and hers sinks.
So, would you move to Australia for a house like this?
Simon's work was done, but with their £300,000 budget,
could they afford this property?
Here we go again.
I am going to say this is £365,000.
OK. I think it might surprise you.
I am going to say 325.
What, you think it is only 25,000 over budget? Really?
Shall we turn this one together?
Go on, then.
-Go for it.
-There you go.
It was £23,000 over budget...
-..but a lot less than Jane was expecting.
That makes it a bit more tempting, doesn't it, for you?
It does. Yeah, it does.
It is sort of like dangling the carrot a little bit.
Simon's battle to persuade Jane to make the move down under
was off to a decent start.
Property one's location had them both swayed
and was well within the couple's budget.
They had a very different point of view about the second property,
though, and the price shocked.
Finally, house number three was the dream home, and though over budget,
Jane felt she could be tempted.
So when it came to houses in Australia,
did they vote home or away?
Based on the properties we have seen today, our vote goes to...
You know, those properties that we saw today were amazing.
I'd be mad to vote anything but Australia.
Well done. Right decision.
Jane's first vote for Australia meant Simon's dream was a step closer.
But affording the Australian lifestyle depended on the couple
securing the right jobs down under.
Back in 2016,
Simon was an ex-fireman, studying fire safety engineering
with a view to launching a new career.
I would like to feel I can earn
a salary of around about 50,000 sterling.
Whether I walk into that sort of job on day one, I don't know.
Jane worked in a bank, where she was part of a bereavement team.
What I do is when somebody passes away,
I help the next of kin and executors
deal with their estates and sort out their finances.
Unsure if a similar role existed down under,
Jane did consider retraining, but...
If I can't get a salary, that I'm expecting and if Simon
can't get the salary that he's expecting, the move's off.
The last thing I want to do is travel all the way across
the other side of the world to struggle.
Simon's dream of a fresh start hinged on their work experience day.
He met with expat Andy,
who had been in the fire safety industry since arriving
over 26 years ago.
Straightaway, Simon was keen to know if there was plenty of work.
It is steady.
In our business now, we have taken on a new person
just to do the auditing, it's that big and much of a job.
-Are there opportunities for people like me?
I mean, not only in the consultancy side.
the fire engineering is part of
near enough every building that we tender now, so yes,
opportunities there, definitely.
And was his time spent studying fire safety engineering worth it?
Do those sort of qualifications work in Australia for me?
Yes, certainly they would.
That was great news, and what about the money?
Between 90,000 and 100,000.
So, £45,000 to £50,000.
And the more you go up the management scale,
you could be anywhere up to 140,000, maybe £70,000.
Fantastic. Andy, thank you very much,
really appreciate that useful information.
No problem and good luck.
It was a positive morning for Simon.
This is the area I want to concentrate on, it is the degree
I've done, and I am excited about the potential of working
in Australia, doing what I love doing.
Across town, Jane visited a local recruitment agency who specialised
in the financial sector.
She was met by Chris.
-How you going?
-Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you.
Jane was keen to know if her role as a bereavement specialist could transfer to Australia.
I made some enquiries and the bereavement role,
if it exists at all, it would be in head offices in Sydney or Melbourne.
That was disappointing news for Jane, and there was worse to come.
At the moment, the staff numbers within branches isn't a high area
of need in terms of recruitment.
I think you are telling me it would be hard for you to find me a job?
Uh, look, it just depends how flexible you are
in your seeking of a job.
It looks like a Jane would have to take a step back in Australia,
but if the money was right...
What would the salary be?
I think the salary for those lower-level customer service
positions would be around 60 to 80,000,
-or 30 to 40,000 in pounds.
That was almost double what Jane earned in the UK
and that was just the starting salary.
I think there would be opportunities to grow from there by demonstrating
your experience once in the role, being able to incorporate the skills
you did learn in the bereavement process.
So whilst the news for Jane wasn't all bad,
was it good enough for a vote to move down under?
Today, we have been having job interviews and now
we're going to decide - is it England or Australia?
-I'm not too surprised.
-I'm sorry, but...
-I'm not too surprised.
It just... It's not going to be as easy as I thought.
Right now, I feel I'd be absolutely stupid to leave a job that I love
and I'm secure in for... Well, for nothing.
It had to be Australia for me.
You'll just have to keep me.
I will. I'll keep you.
With Jane voting for the UK, Simon had his work cut out.
So would a day tasting the lifestyle of Australia help his cause?
We sent the couple on a trip to Caversham Wildlife Park.
Hello, baby! He's loving that.
Is he...? Is he...? Eh!
-Everybody needs a break.
Jane was in her element
and Karen the koala rekindled fond memories for her.
I've wanted to do this since I was tiny.
My dad used to tell me about koalas.
Not that he knew anything about koalas,
but when you're a little girl you believe everything, don't you?
Worth moving to Australia for this, then?
-You just never miss an opportunity!
That is the best thing I've ever done, I think.
That was absolutely unbelievable.
It was what Simon wanted to hear.
Next was a visit to one of Australia's oldest wineries.
-Would you like a wine taste today?
So, this is the Chardonnay Pinot Noir.
There's water there, if you need, and also a spittoon.
-I won't be needing that.
I could drink that forever.
But it wasn't all rose-tinted glasses.
I have to remember that, yes, this is amazing,
this is wonderful, but I can't do this every day.
I have to get a job so I can have the dream house that I want.
So it's a circle.
And at the minute, there's a little bit of the circle missing for me.
But when it came to voting for lifestyle in Australia,
what was the verdict.
Based on our lifestyle day, we are going to choose...
I have had one of the best days of my life.
I got to tick boxes I never thought I would tick.
I loved every single minute of it.
I couldn't go any other way.
-What a perfect day.
-It was great.
-What a perfect day.
It was a significant moment for Jane and it looked like
she was coming round to Simon's dream.
But could they afford to live down under?
We provided a comparison of costs in Australia and the UK.
First up was the groceries.
Tomatoes... What's going on with this?!
So it's £1.07 more expensive.
They just want us to be fat.
Minus 73.52 equals...
-That's not actually...
-..as bad as I thought.
The extra £74 per month on food didn't faze the couple,
but what about the bigger outgoings?
Basing the sums on the first property,
they realised their monthly mortgage increased by over a third.
£142.59 more expensive in Oz.
-That's a shock.
-That is a shock.
You thought it would be more expensive?
I thought it was going to be double.
On the bigger outgoings,
they would spend more than £250 extra per month in Australia.
That's over £3,000 every year.
Aw, unhappy face.
It was disappointing but,
as a student, Simon didn't have an income in the UK.
So factoring in his wage in Australia and Jane's potential
increase in earnings, the couple discovered they could actually be
much better off in Oz.
..per year better off in Australia.
You can fly home as often as you want.
Is this right? Is this...?
No prizes for guessing how this vote turned out.
-It couldn't be anything else, really, could it?
With Jane's third vote for Australia,
Simon's half-century dream was tantalisingly close.
But the DVD from family and friends
had the potential of changing all that.
Hello, darling. I hope everything is just as you dreamed it would be.
Hi, Dad. Hi, Jane.
-Hi, Simon. Hi, Jane.
-I hope you're having a lovely, lovely time.
Jane and Simon are a perfect match.
They're opposites to each other, in my opinion.
um, Simon calms Jane down a lot
cos Jane is very full-on, shall we say?
I'll kill her!
I think Simon can be a little bit shy at times, a little bit
quiet, and Jane counteracts that because she's very, very gregarious.
She's always right.
When we have arguments and what have you, she always is right.
-They bounce off each other well.
-Yeah, good banter.
They've got a similar sense of humour.
They've got similar interests.
His politics, to my mind,
is sometimes a little bit dubious, but...
Oh, I love her!
She takes me shopping because I'm housebound otherwise.
So she does that and that's wonderful.
For six, seven years or so he's wanted to go to Australia.
It's no surprise to me. It's been a long time coming.
I think Jane's going to have a struggle because of her mum,
who she's very, very close to and of course Simon is leaving the boys
behind, Daniel and Connor, and that's going to be very hard.
I don't want my dad to feel like he can't do what he wants to do
because of, sort of, me and my little brother.
I will miss him. Of course, I'll miss him.
Um, I think with regards to her mum,
that's a huge wrench and is going to be a big influence on whether or not
they actually decide to go or not.
It's a big shock because I'm all of a sudden going to be all on my own...
..without any hopes at all of ever going to see them.
So we will just pray that while I'm still here,
they'll be able to come and see me again.
We will. We will.
It will be like losing a limb if they do go because she is just...
She is just part of me.
She is...my life.
I'm 83 and I've had a wonderful life so it's only fair
-that she should follow her dream, too.
I'd much rather they came home,
but that's probably not going to happen.
The last thing you want is to wake up in 20 years' time and think,
"Damn, I wish I'd done it then."
-You go for it, mate. You've got our blessing.
We really don't want you to go cos we're going to miss you,
but be happy and make the right decision for you.
We'll miss you. Um...
But, hey, that's life. Go for it.
I am behind you 100% in whatever decision you do make,
but you do know that I love you so much and I'm going to miss you
like crazy if you decide to go to Australia.
Please, please, please just do whatever makes you guys happy.
You've wanted to do it for ages.
I love you both loads.
Be very sure, dear.
Be very, very sure.
And I don't really want you to go, you know that.
I'll miss her.
-Was it as hard as you expected or harder?
-It was worse!
I just want a magic button that I can press and everybody comes, too.
-They all come with us?
-Hm, it would be nice, wouldn't it?
The prospect of leaving family
and friends had always been a stumbling block for Jane,
and in spite of her previous votes for Australia,
Simon was no longer sure what way her final card would turn.
Yesterday I'd have put money on it.
Today, not so certain.
And I understand why.
I know time is ticking and, you know, but...
..um, there's just so much whizzing round my head at the minute.
It's a 50-50. I really don't know.
I really don't know.
I'm not coming out to Australia without her, so it'll be the UK.
We stay in the UK.
Whichever decision I make,
I'm going to stick with it.
It was a make or break week for Simon and his dream rested on
the final turn of the cards.
It's been a big week. We've had a lot of fun,
but now we need to vote on where we're going to live.
I love you.
I just thought, "Where do you want to be when you grow older?"
And...I want to be here. I want to do this.
I'm going to break my mum and Sam's hearts.
But it was always going to hurt somebody and I did it for me.
I'm relieved. I'm delighted.
And, gosh, I love you so much.
It may have been touch-and-go right to the final turn of the cards,
but having witnessed everything Australia could offer,
Jane was ready to take the plunge
and make Simon's dream of returning to the land he left
almost 50 years ago finally come true.
But now, 12 months later, are they living at home or away?
It's 2017 and the couple are living in...
..Chester with dog Harry.
But not for long.
Following the success of the trial week,
bags and suitcases are literally being packed.
Our trial week in Australia was a fascinating experience.
Not something we'd ever done before, obviously,
being followed around by a film crew.
But by the end of the week I think we'd both become luvvies.
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.
But also, we got to see Australia.
I liked Australia from the get-go
and I was just hoping that Jane would like it as much as I did.
I think what I saw was really what I had in mind because I wanted it
to be sunny and I wanted it to be, you know,
lovely open spaces and large houses, and that's really what it was.
It made me realise that, yes, that's where I want to live.
And I was so pleased, so delighted, that Jane enjoyed it as well.
Whilst there, Jane was in constant
contact her best friend Sam in the UK.
They had an amazing time, amazing time.
..the lifestyle, they just...
It was all they expected it to be and more, I think.
And I knew then, in my heart of hearts, what her answer
was going to be, that she was going to go.
Everything was perfect apart from the jobs.
So on the final vote I had to think about all of that.
It wasn't a case of, "Oh, what are you going to do?"
And dithering about, I had to think,
"Right, what have you seen in the week?
"Has it been positive, has it been negative?"
All positive. So that's why I went with my vote for Australia,
more than anything because it was perfect for me.
When she turned over the card and it said Australia,
I knew mine was Australia,
ah, the feeling was fantastic.
I just wanted to hug her and give her a big kiss and run off
into the sunset and plan the journey to Australia.
So it was a fantastic feeling.
Jane and Simon spent another week
on holiday down under before returning to Chester.
It got to the end of the two weeks and we had to leave Australia,
and it was quite hard to do, actually.
I would've quite happily missed that plane and just stayed there
on the chance of finding something and doing something,
but practicalities get in the way and you have to go home.
But I really missed it, and we got back to the UK,
it was fun for a short while telling everyone about it,
but almost straightaway I was thinking, "Come on,
"we've got to get things moving and we need to be out there."
If someone had said to me, "Jane, you can just stay,"
I would have said, "Yes!"
But... The "but" again!
Obviously, it's not all about me.
You know, I've got think about Mum because I can't leave Mum without
a secure environment for her, somewhere that I know she's safe,
because I wouldn't settle.
I'd be constantly worried about my mum.
I more-or-less knew straightaway that they were very serious about
wanting to go and they've never differed from that idea.
They've wanted to go ever since they came home.
So that's nice that they're going back.
Jane began the search for an assisted-living apartment
for her mother where she would feel comfortable and secure.
Out of the blue one of my colleagues said to me that she knew of this
new assisted-living apartment that was open.
So I thought, "Right, well, I'll go and have a look."
Because I didn't want to take Mum somewhere that wasn't right.
I wanted to go and get a feel for something.
So I went off on my own and went into this place and straightaway
I was like, "Yeah, this is what I was hoping for."
So we got home and worked out the figures and I sort of said,
"Well, Mum, it's doable, we can do it."
So she joked and said that she would love the penthouse,
cos there's a beautiful penthouse at the top,
and she joked and she said to the manager, "Oh, I'd love that."
And, you know, we all just giggled about it.
And then it was a matter of months, two, three months after,
we got a phone call to say that the penthouse was available...
-"Would your mum like it?"
-We couldn't believe it, could we?
-We couldn't believe it. That moved quite quickly, actually.
Very, very soon after that I came to live here.
And I feel that my life is here now.
And...I'm going to talk to them.
You see, years ago I couldn't have
talked to Jane and looked at her face.
And that's going to make it so much easier, having them Skype me.
There will always be somebody for a very long time with me,
doing it with me, so that doesn't scare me at all now.
With Jane's mum Meg settled,
Simon began to put plans into action to get them back to Australia
as soon as possible.
I knew that I could go to Australia.
What was less certain, of course, is Jane.
We assumed because we're a couple that it would be fairly
straightforward, but once we started doing the investigation,
I think quite rightly,
Australia makes sure that it's not just a marriage of convenience.
They want to make sure you are a couple in a genuine relationship.
It was nowhere near as easy as I thought it was going to be.
Um, we didn't have enough information,
we didn't have enough documents for them.
So we went through this quite intense process of trying to pull
together all of that information to prove we are a couple.
We know we're a couple, we know we love each other,
but trying to prove that to other people is not always
as straightforward and easy as you think it might be.
Particularly when you're trying to explain it to a stranger
who's located on the other side of the world.
So the application went in in April this year
and, worst case scenario, and this is worst case scenario,
it can be up to 16 months for me to get a visa.
Along with the potential wait of nearly a year and a half for Jane
to get a visa, something else
unexpected threatened to block their path down under.
Partly because I'm not as young as Jane,
you have to work in Australia for a minimum of ten years to qualify
for a pension, so I need to get going,
otherwise I'm going to be working into my 80s.
When we started to look into things like pensions,
we realised that time wasn't on our side.
So it was either we risk waiting for my visa to come through
and then we go together, which could be 16 months...
So I wanted to get out there, I wanted to get things going.
The other thing is, I'd finished my degree.
I want to start doing something new, I want a new career.
I don't want to start it in the UK
and then stop it and start again in Australia.
And when we looked at it on paper,
it made sense for Simon to go and set our life up for us.
Because he has the Australian citizenship,
there's no worry about a visa.
Simon could go tomorrow, it doesn't matter.
So he said, "Well, I'll go out,
"set the business up or get a job and get our life ready for us,
"if you like, to go over."
So we just pushed things along by Simon going first.
And Simon... Simon! Harry and I will follow soon after, hopefully.
I feel like one of those Wild West pioneers.
I'm blazing the trail so that my darling can come out and have
a comfortable life drinking gin in the back garden.
But while Simon's frontiersman spirit is courageous,
Jane is worried about work
and how that could affect their future together.
Simon is going to be sponsoring me,
that's how I'm going to get my visa, Simon is my sponsor.
And if he doesn't get a job, then he can't sponsor me.
And if Simon doesn't get a job,
I very much doubt I'll ever get out there, and that's reality.
Also, because Jane's visa for Australia would be sponsored,
she wouldn't be allowed to work in a bank,
as she has for the last two decades in the UK, for at least two years.
So she would be totally reliant upon Simon getting a job.
But there might be a spanner in the works.
I've had a slight change of plan.
I would prefer, and I know this
gives Jane a little bit of a pause for thought,
I would prefer to work for myself and do my own business.
So I settled on providing what they call a virtual assistance business,
and that's helping other smaller, medium-sized businesses,
who have perhaps got to the size where they need assistance,
they've got too much to do, but they're not quite big enough yet
to take on a full-time member of staff to do it.
So they will contract with somebody like myself so many hours a month
to do those fill-in bits for them.
I am worried that he is going to start a business
rather than get a job because it is a time thing.
You know, to start his own business, I know he'd be fantastic at it,
that's not a worry at all, but it's a time issue.
Because Simon's my sponsor, he has to have some form of income
for me to go over cos he's the one that's providing for me
for the next two years, that's what he has to do legally.
If he is going to, I'm going to say take time setting up a business
that doesn't sound right, but it is going to take time and if he's going
to do that for the next, what, two years,
then that's two years we're going to be apart.
And I think it would take a very special relationship to do that.
I mean, two years apart...hard.
I think Jane's going to struggle while Simon's gone.
Cos any relationship's difficult,
you've got to work at it even when you're together in the same place.
Being thousands of miles away, yeah, I think Jane will struggle
with that but she has a massive support system here
with lots of friends and we'll make sure she's OK.
And Meg, Jane's mother, takes the long view.
A lot of my ancestors went to Australia many, many years ago
when they went to work in the mines.
We've lost touch, of course, but they're there somewhere.
And she knows that being apart for a short time is a small price to pay.
I know that they both desperately want to go
and it's going to be so good for them.
I mean, they haven't got children.
They've got Harry, and it sounds as though it's going
to be very, very good for Harry, you know?
No, I think it's going to be lovely.
I hope it's going to be lovely.
Simon's original dream of living
down under has now become Jane's dream.
And whilst saying goodbye to friends is hard,
saying goodbye to the love of her life is even harder.
I think watching you go through the airport doors
is going to be awful, I really do.
I think then I'm going to know it's real.
And I think only then I'm going to actually take it all in
that you're going to the other side of the world without me.
And I'm dreading it.
Two days later, Jane drives Simon to the airport.
Are there concerns? Are there worries?
Well, let's go through worst case scenario...
I get out to Australia,
I think I can run a business and get it going but it doesn't take off,
it takes longer than expected and I struggle to get the business going.
Or what if the visa doesn't come through?
I mean, that would be the nightmare scenario.
They say, "Sorry, we don't think
"you're in a relationship, you can't go."
That would be a nightmare.
I'm on the plane, I'm back to the UK.
I'm living in this weather instead of the sunshine,
but that's the reality, that's what would happen.
You'll be out with me before you know it.
You will, you'll be there.
I hope so.
-I love you.
-I love you, too.
With Simon winging his way across continents and oceans
to begin laying the foundations for a new life down under,
the future is looking bright.
We've also discovered that since filming their interviews,
Jane received her Australian visa and is also now on her way to Oz.
We wish them both the very best.
Having moved to the UK from Australia almost half a century ago, Simon MacLean had spent most of his adult life longing to return to the country he had once called home. With his sons from a previous marriage all grown up, he believed the time was right to make the move. But he needed to convince partner Jane to leave everything she had loved in the UK, including her mum.
When we first met them in 2016, Simon and Jane lived in Chester with their dog Harry. They'd been together for three years, were very happy together and loved each other to bits. Having grown up down under, mature student Simon had Australian citizenship and was desperate to pursue his dream of moving back to the other side of the world. The subject had been a constant thread throughout their relationship, and though banker Jane wasn't opposed to emigrating, she was feeling under pressure to do it sooner than she wanted.
When Simon popped the question, Jane happily said yes - but she was adamant this was not her necessarily saying yes to a life on the other side of the world. As an only child Jane could barely conceive the idea of leaving her elderly mum. Jane was torn between the two people she loved most in her life.
The trial week was Simon's long-awaited chance to convince the love of his life. But after a week of nail-biting touch-and-go moments, was it enough? Did Jane buy into Simon's Australian dream? Twelve months later it's time to see where the family are now calling home.