Parker Family Wanted Down Under


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Parker Family

Loving to surf means Stephen longs to live by the sea in Australia, but his wife Marta knows only too well how hard it is to move far away from family.


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A better work-life balance and outdoor lifestyle have led to

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Stephen Parker's lifelong Australian dream.

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I was born in Birmingham,

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which is about as far from the ocean as you can be in the UK.

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That was the one thing missing for me - being by the sea.

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But Bulgarian-born wife Marta

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knows every mile from home takes you further from those you love.

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When Stephen mentioned to me about his dream,

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my answer was no.

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A trial week by the sea near Melbourne

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gives them a chance to test the waters.

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Look, look!

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But will thoughts of loved ones back home mean the dream drifts away?

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Or will it stay afloat down under?

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It would be great if I can say, "I'm sure we're going to get our dream

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"like that," but I'm just not convinced

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that this will be the situation.

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Australia's long been the most popular destination

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for Brits emigrating abroad.

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Boasting a buoyant economy and fabulous climate,

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they're tempted by the promise of a better life down under.

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But the reality of leaving behind everything and everyone can

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sometimes turn that dream into a nightmare.

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Landlocked, Brummie-born Stephen Parker is a most

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unlikely surfer dude, but he's long had a dream of living in Oz,

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and riding that perfect wave down under.

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Bulgarian-born wife Marta, however,

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is reading from a different script.

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An aspiring actress, she's determined to stay in the UK,

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close to where she's made a new life for her and her family.

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Across a trial week in Australia, the couple will get to see where

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they might live, the lifestyle they can afford,

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and the jobs they could get if they emigrated.

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Then, at the end, they'll reach their final decisions,

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and vote on where their future lies.

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After 24 hours in the air via Dubai and Sydney,

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as the Parkers touchdown in Melbourne,

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the distance from home is already sinking in.

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The length of the journey definitely gives you a feel of how incredibly

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far Australia is from the UK.

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I think it would make it very difficult for my friends and family

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to come and visit us, and that does bother me.

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Despite the long journey,

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Stephen's full of anticipation for the week ahead.

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It's somewhere I've always wanted to travel to.

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I'm hoping that we find out that Australia has the lifestyle,

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and the finances add up as well.

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Let's hope so, Stephen.

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It still concerns me that this step might be too big for us,

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or for me personally,

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and Stephen's got some convincing to do.

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He's got just seven days to convince Marta

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their future lies in Australia.

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Meet the Parkers.

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Dad Stephen, Mum Marta, and baby William, who's one.

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Stephen met Marta six years ago at a wedding

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in her home country of Bulgaria,

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where, at the reception, Marta took fate into her own hands.

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Quite literally.

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We were sat on the same table, but I didn't like my place,

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so I decided to swap our place cards over.

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We hit it off pretty much straight away.

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It was like on the movies, really,

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when people meet,

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and immediately fall in love with each other.

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We kept in touch.

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I came to visit the UK.

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He went to visit me in Bulgaria.

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Things moved along, and a few years later, she moved over to the UK

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to be with me.

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And Marta wasn't just leaving the country of her birth,

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but also a successful career.

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I did lots of theatre, movies - Bulgarian, international.

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My father was a famous actor in Bulgaria,

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about 40, 50 years ago, and my mum was an actress as well.

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But with her father having passed away,

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at first it was difficult for Marta to leave her much-loved mum.

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We were very close.

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It was difficult when I left.

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I was missing my friends, my culture.

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I had a little bit of difficulties with language,

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finding work.

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The couple married in 2014, and although it's taken a while,

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they are now happily settled in the UK with baby William.

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However, Stephen wants to give it all up,

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and is asking Marta to make yet another move.

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It's always been a dream of mine to move to Australia.

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I was...I was born in Birmingham,

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which is about as far from the ocean as you can be in the UK.

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Whilst I had a really great upbringing,

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that was the one thing missing for me, was being by the sea.

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As soon as he was old enough,

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Stephen moved to the coast and took up surfing.

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But since moving to London for his career,

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the opportunities to ride the waves have dwindled.

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It's actually an eight or nine hour round-trip to get to a good beach

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where you can surf.

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And that's something that I believe Australia can offer over the UK,

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that you can have that lifestyle.

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Just one problem, Stephen - Marta, having already made a move

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away from her family, had other ideas.

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When Stephen mentioned to me about his dream, living in Australia,

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my answer was no.

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So with a dream put to one side, everyday life continued,

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but, for Stephen, things changed when he began to miss out on

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spending time with his new family.

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Stephen wasn't able to spend a lot of time with us,

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because he was very busy at work.

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I was working in a very high-pressured job in London.

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And I just wasn't around enough to support Marta when William was born,

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and that really, really affected me.

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Stephen decided to take a career break

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and spend more time with the family.

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To have that time with William in his first year has been the best

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thing I've ever done. Having a baby has really made me re-evaluate my

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life and think about what's important.

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And further changes in family circumstances meant that Marta began

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to have a change of heart when, sadly, her mother passed away.

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Sadly, you know, a new chapter of our life has started without

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Margarita and decided to take a career break last year,

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the first thing Marta said to me was,

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"Well, now's the best time to look at this if we're going to do it."

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For Marta, however, it's not an easy decision.

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She now feels settled with Stephen's family in the UK.

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We're going to give it all up and go to Australia,

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and start all over again.

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Will we make it there?

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Will it be good for us?

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It might not be.

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-Here we go.

-Ooh!

-Wow!

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And Stephen's aware that taking William away from family

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-will be difficult.

-Cheers!

-Cheers, guys!

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I had a really close family and a really great upbringing,

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and that's something that I think's really important

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to how you develop as a person.

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And so to take that away from him will be,

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you know, a big decision to make.

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He's pretty confident, though, that he'll be able to persuade Marta

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it's a risk worth taking.

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We love being outdoors and moving to Australia will be perfect

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for all of that. I think when she sees the environment

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and what it will be like, the house we can live in,

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and what it will mean for William,

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I think that will help convince her to give everything we've got up that

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we have in the UK.

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But it might not be as easy as you think, Stephen,

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if the trial week doesn't convince Marta.

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I need to be 100% sure that this is the right thing for us to do at the

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moment. It would be great if I can say, "Yeah, I'm sure everything will

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"be fine in Australia and we're going to get our dream life there,"

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but I'm just not convinced that this will be the situation.

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For their trial week, the Parkers are staying in the quiet, friendly

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Melbourne suburb of Seaford, 45 minutes from the city centre.

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What will they make of their first taste of Aussie living?

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-This is nice, isn't it?

-Ooh.

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I like that it's not too big, but feels spacious.

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-Yeah.

-Really nice and cosy kitchen.

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I do like it.

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Just what Stephen was hoping to hear.

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Marta's already making some positive noises,

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but it's not long before the reality sets in.

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Yeah, I'm feeling excited

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to find out about life in Australia,

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but on the other hand I'm a little bit terrified.

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Let's just take it one day at a time and try and work out what we need to

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know and how we can make the best decision.

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Back in the UK, the Parkers lived near Guildford in Surrey,

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in a detached single-storey house, which,

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after four years of hard slog,

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is a place they're happy to call home.

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The idea was that we would buy it and build around the plot.

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It's lovely. I love it. We've got a bigger kitchen,

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a second lounge.

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We've got a great house, exactly as we like.

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It would be really quite, quite difficult to sell it.

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Emotionally, it will be difficult to part with it.

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But if they do, they know exactly what they want

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with their £500,000 budget.

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Something detached with a little bit of outdoor space.

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Big garden with lots of trees.

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If we get over to Australia and we find that for our budget,

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we can't get anything close to what we're living in

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currently in the UK,

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and we don't like the look of the neighbourhood,

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and what we see, I think that's going to be a real stumbling block.

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To give the Parkers an idea of what's available in Melbourne,

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we'll show the couple two houses on budget and one which could be their

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dream home. With baby William being looked after by a child minder,

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his parents begin their search in Sandhurst,

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a new development just 15 minutes inland from their rental property.

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Built on an island with a golf course,

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will this two-storey house come up to par?

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OK, here we go.

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It's a really nice entrance space.

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The house promises much, but then disappoints.

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I thought it was going to be bigger,

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the living room, to this,

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-because of the size of the hallway and everything.

-Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

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It feels just a bit darker than I'd like it to be.

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-Maybe there's more space to come.

-Hope so.

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And, yes, they find it, but upstairs.

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Oh, wow.

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That was the room that we were missing downstairs.

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Yeah, but it's not quite how I would choose it.

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Probably a bit too modern for my personal taste.

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It just doesn't have character,

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I think that's the best way to describe it.

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And the view isn't helping either.

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I'm not impressed about the view.

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I would like to see more trees.

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And all I can see is houses and people playing golf.

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-It's not ideal.

-It's like when I cook at home sometimes,

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it's got all the right ingredients,

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but it just comes together and doesn't seem to taste that good.

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-It's just...

-Yeah, yeah.

-Oh, dear.

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And what about the main bedroom just beside the kitchen?

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A good-sized room.

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Not so sure about it being off the main entertaining area.

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You're always going to be the last one going to bed, aren't you?

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-That's for sure.

-And while the en-suite lifts spirits...

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Mmm, en-suite.

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The shower's nice. It's really nice.

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It's got good space and...

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It's a nice feature. It's nice to have it.

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-Yeah.

-It's back downstairs to find baby William's room.

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That's a bit better.

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The problem is that he's going to be downstairs while we're upstairs.

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-Yeah, not ideal.

-No.

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So will the outside brighten things up?

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Oh, wow.

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-A hot tub.

-It's a bit strange, cos it's kind of like the

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centrepiece of the whole garden, isn't it, really?

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-Yeah, I can go without it, to be honest.

-Yeah.

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But, surely, they're impressed with being on an island?

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It's just a bit...bare.

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As well, there is nothing to stop Willie to jump in the water.

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-It's not very safe.

-So this property hasn't impressed,

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but is it somewhere they can even afford?

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So, what do you think?

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The layout's not quite what we're after.

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-I'm looking for something cosier...

-Yeah.

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-..and with a bit more character into it.

-Mmm.

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How much do you think it's worth?

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I think this house is definitely way over our budget.

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I would say £650,000.

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I think around our budget of £500,000.

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-Shall we have a look?

-The Parkers have a budget of £500,000.

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Oh, how wrong was I?

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-I'm pleasantly surprised.

-Yeah, I'm quite encouraged that we could find

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something within our budget that would be quite...quite good for us.

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So with house-hunting off to a tentative start,

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let's hope property number two will be more to their taste.

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Back near the rental home, in the small coastal suburb of Seaford,

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with family friendly facilities and the beach

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just a few minutes walk away,

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could this four-bedroom house win both Stephen and Marta over?

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It looks like more of a block than a house.

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Oh, dear, and once again,

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it's straight upstairs for the living quarters.

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Ooh, that's nice.

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I like it, yeah.

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It feels a bit more inviting, doesn't it?

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Yeah, it feels just cosier. It has this family feel to it.

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There's lots of work space, which is really good.

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-Yeah.

-And also lots of storage.

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So is the topsy-turvy layout getting their thumbs up?

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-Next-door, the main bedroom.

-Aw!

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Yeah, this is more like the style I'm after.

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I like seeing the sun through the tree out there.

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It's a nice big TV.

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But the smiles disappear when they see the bathroom.

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Don't think I've ever seen a bath like that before.

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Nor me, no. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

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I'd probably have a regular sort of rectangular bath and a shower

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-cubicle, nice and boring.

-Yeah, I agree.

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Well, the bedrooms are faring better in this house.

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This can be William's room.

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Yeah, nice big windows and good storage.

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It's definitely closer to what we... What we're after.

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-It's different, but it's got a bit of character and...

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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So far, so good, would you say? What about the outside?

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-That's what you call a tree.

-Beautiful tree.

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It's very green.

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Not much space for William to play, I don't think.

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Yeah, it's not the ideal place for us.

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It's not quite what I was hoping for or expecting in Australia.

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So a bit of a disappointment with this house,

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but they'll be even more disappointed if it's not within

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their budget of £500,000.

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So what do you think?

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It's a difficult one, isn't it?

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Because it's quite an unusual different sort of place.

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But it's not right for us at the moment.

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I think it's probably going to be around the budget,

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maybe slightly less.

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Maybe...

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£460,000?

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The couple have a budget of £500,000.

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OK, we underestimated it a little bit.

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I think there's a lot of potential here,

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but it's unfortunately not just for us at this time...

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This time of our lives.

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Well, the house-hunting experience has been less than positive so far,

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but we think we've found what could be the couple's dream home.

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It's in the suburb of Mount Eliza.

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Although further away from the city,

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it's as close as you can be to the beach, which should be a huge pull.

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Will this modern four-bedroom home impress Marta and Stephen?

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That's more like it.

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Definitely very cosy.

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I would see myself sitting on the sofa and looking out of the window.

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So a good start and it doesn't stop there.

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-It's nice, isn't it?

-It's nice.

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Yeah, it's the best kitchen we've seen.

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Yeah, definitely. It's big without being too big.

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This one feels a lot more like a home -

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as opposed to a holiday house...

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-Beach house.

-..or beach house, yeah.

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So can the optimism continue into the main bedroom?

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-It's a good space.

-Yeah, very good space.

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For the type of property, it's not as grand as I'd expect.

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I'm missing something, and probably that's the wow factor.

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Not what Stephen wants to hear.

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Can the en-suite keep Marta positive?

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Good space, nice-sized, good-sized shower.

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A lot higher spec than the other two properties.

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And William's room certainly gets them smiling again.

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-Interesting bed.

-Yeah, it'll be great for William.

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Nice windows.

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Yeah, very good room.

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Although you do feel a distinct lack of enthusiasm for this house.

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-Nice bathroom.

-Yeah, it's a great bath, very deep.

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But once outside, the mood shifts.

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-Oh, wow.

-It's really nice pool, isn't it?

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Amazing outdoor living space.

0:19:530:19:56

Yeah, this is more of what we were dreaming of.

0:19:560:19:59

Somewhere where we can sit in the nice warm weather

0:19:590:20:02

-that we don't, or we rarely get, at home.

-Yeah.

0:20:020:20:04

It's exactly what we were hoping for, isn't it?

0:20:040:20:06

It's exactly what we want, yes.

0:20:060:20:08

I'm definitely sold on the garden.

0:20:080:20:09

So has the garden rescued the day for Marta?

0:20:100:20:13

This house is definitely my favourite out of the three houses

0:20:140:20:17

that we saw today. I think it comes

0:20:170:20:23

very close to what we're looking for.

0:20:230:20:26

But the only thing I absolutely love about this house is the garden.

0:20:260:20:30

It's a lovely house. It's just,

0:20:300:20:32

I think we'd probably find something that's a bit...

0:20:320:20:35

A bit more perfect for us.

0:20:350:20:37

I'm guessing that this is going to be over our budget,

0:20:370:20:40

probably around £640,000.

0:20:400:20:43

I think it's worth about £570,000.

0:20:430:20:47

The couple have a budget of £500,000.

0:20:470:20:50

-Yeah...

-£700,000 is over our budget,

0:21:000:21:03

but this is probably more house than we need.

0:21:030:21:07

I would like us to find something more modest, more smaller

0:21:070:21:13

with, probably, the same outdoor living space, just without the pool.

0:21:130:21:19

Which, I hope, um,

0:21:190:21:21

our budget is going to cover.

0:21:210:21:25

So it's been a mixed bag on the property search.

0:21:250:21:29

House number one on the golf course was a bit of a bogey.

0:21:290:21:32

A strange layout coupled with the unfenced lake

0:21:320:21:34

meant it wasn't for the Parkers, whatever the price.

0:21:340:21:38

Property two had the space the family wanted,

0:21:380:21:41

but its boxy and plain exterior wasn't winning Marta over.

0:21:410:21:44

House number three had the garden of their dreams,

0:21:460:21:49

but at £200,000 over budget,

0:21:490:21:52

it was a stark wake-up call as to what their money could get them.

0:21:520:21:55

So when it comes to homes down under,

0:21:550:21:58

will the couple vote home or away?

0:21:580:22:00

Based on the three properties we saw today, our vote goes to...

0:22:000:22:05

-Undecided.

-UK.

0:22:150:22:17

-Undecided?

-Based on what we've seen,

0:22:170:22:19

I don't think that you can say it's any better than the UK, but...

0:22:190:22:24

-Or any worse, really.

-I'm sorry that we didn't find...

0:22:240:22:28

..the best house for us today.

0:22:300:22:33

But it's somewhere out there and we just need to look for it.

0:22:330:22:37

So, maybe not the best start to the week,

0:22:370:22:39

but, hopefully, tomorrow will go better.

0:22:390:22:41

I hope so.

0:22:410:22:43

With Marta not sold on Aussie homes,

0:22:520:22:54

and even Stephen sitting on the fence,

0:22:540:22:56

there's still some way to go

0:22:560:22:58

to make the Australian dream a reality.

0:22:580:23:01

Getting the right jobs down under could help turn things around.

0:23:010:23:04

Back in the UK, Stephen worked for 15 years

0:23:060:23:09

as a highly successful environmental manager.

0:23:090:23:13

However, the long hours eventually began to take their toll on him

0:23:130:23:17

and his new wife, Marta.

0:23:170:23:18

I wasn't there for her when she needed me.

0:23:200:23:22

It really made me feel quite guilty, and, as a consequence,

0:23:220:23:25

I started to re-evaluate what was important to me

0:23:250:23:28

and what my priorities are in life.

0:23:280:23:30

Stephen decided to take time out.

0:23:300:23:32

Over the past year, he's been studying for a master's in business

0:23:320:23:36

and has now got his sights set on a consultancy role down under.

0:23:360:23:40

Finding the right role in Australia is really crucial

0:23:410:23:43

because my career is really important to me,

0:23:430:23:45

and it's important to me that I can provide

0:23:450:23:47

the right level of support for my family.

0:23:470:23:50

Marta is working in fashion retail,

0:23:500:23:52

but is keen to get treading the boards once again

0:23:520:23:55

if there's a move down under.

0:23:550:23:56

Acting is a big part of my life.

0:23:580:24:01

If my chances of getting acting work there are slim,

0:24:010:24:05

it might affect my decision.

0:24:050:24:07

I hope Australia has something to offer me.

0:24:090:24:12

The couple set out to explore what work opportunities

0:24:140:24:17

there might be in Melbourne.

0:24:170:24:19

Stephen heads off to a multinational accounting firm

0:24:190:24:22

where he meets Matt Nelson, and straightaway, the news is mixed.

0:24:220:24:27

The nature of your technical background,

0:24:270:24:29

it is a skill and a background

0:24:290:24:32

that is valuable here in the marketplace,

0:24:320:24:34

and certainly even for a company like ours.

0:24:340:24:37

We've all talked about and seen in the press

0:24:370:24:39

that the big challenge for us

0:24:390:24:40

that's just recently come out

0:24:400:24:42

is the announcing of the changing to the visa situation in Australia,

0:24:420:24:45

but it is something

0:24:450:24:47

that will create a challenge for you as you look to move.

0:24:470:24:51

So recent changes in visa control could be an issue.

0:24:510:24:54

But would there be a job for Stephen there?

0:24:540:24:57

Are there many jobs for people

0:24:570:24:58

with my skills and experience in Melbourne?

0:24:580:25:00

There's still good opportunities in the Australian marketplace.

0:25:000:25:04

I think your choice of Melbourne is a pretty good one.

0:25:040:25:07

So, this is musical theatre.

0:25:070:25:09

This is Showfit.

0:25:090:25:10

And across town,

0:25:100:25:12

Marta's getting a taste of what Melbourne has to offer

0:25:120:25:14

in musical theatre.

0:25:140:25:15

She's meeting up with talent manager Ian White.

0:25:180:25:21

Look, I've watched your show reel and you're beautiful on-screen.

0:25:230:25:27

-Oh, thank you so much.

-You're gorgeous.

0:25:270:25:29

To kind of really take advantage of the scene here,

0:25:290:25:32

and I say this to most actresses,

0:25:320:25:34

even when they're more established like you are,

0:25:340:25:36

you need to get into classes.

0:25:360:25:38

Even my really experienced people, I'm always saying, "More classes."

0:25:380:25:42

Because that's not just training you with your skills,

0:25:420:25:45

it's actually you're meeting casting people as well.

0:25:450:25:47

And the accent is quite pronounced, gorgeous...

0:25:470:25:51

-Yeah.

-..but it's limiting for the opportunities.

0:25:510:25:53

Yeah, that's true, yes.

0:25:530:25:54

So you would need to work with a voice coach

0:25:540:25:57

and neutralise your accent.

0:25:570:25:58

So, not that you have to have an Australian accent,

0:25:580:26:01

but it's a neutral accent

0:26:010:26:02

so it can be adaptable to any sort of background,

0:26:020:26:05

you know, culture or character.

0:26:050:26:07

Yeah, I do understand that, yes.

0:26:070:26:09

So, look, there are lots of opportunities here.

0:26:090:26:11

You know, we have a saying here.

0:26:110:26:13

You'll make it if you're hungry enough to.

0:26:130:26:15

Well, Marta's interview seems to have gone well.

0:26:150:26:18

Next, she meets up with Eliza D'Souza,

0:26:180:26:21

an English actress who moved to Melbourne seven years ago.

0:26:210:26:24

So how does it feel for you to be an actress here?

0:26:250:26:29

It's tough, I think, because of the small audience numbers

0:26:290:26:31

and the influence from, say, America and the UK programming.

0:26:310:26:34

There's not a huge, huge volume of production, but, again,

0:26:340:26:38

I think because it is smaller,

0:26:380:26:39

people remember you more and you can kind of build a bit of a network

0:26:390:26:42

and a community, I think.

0:26:420:26:44

And away from home, Eliza has found plenty of acting jobs.

0:26:440:26:48

She's actually appeared in Neighbours.

0:26:480:26:50

Quite small and maybe not the biggest job that I've had,

0:26:510:26:54

but it's, you know,

0:26:540:26:55

it's probably the one as well, that you know,

0:26:550:26:57

people in the UK can relate to.

0:26:570:26:59

But then when I was on Neighbours, my mum was like,

0:26:590:27:01

"Oh, she's on Neighbours!"

0:27:010:27:03

I would say, hit the ground running, go and see the casting directors,

0:27:030:27:05

get into a couple of acting classes.

0:27:050:27:07

You know, find the communities, do some short films,

0:27:070:27:09

do some community theatre, and just start building yourself up.

0:27:090:27:12

So some great advice for Marta.

0:27:120:27:14

Stephen's also hoping to end on a positive note

0:27:140:27:17

about a potential consultancy role.

0:27:170:27:20

What kind of salary can I expect?

0:27:200:27:22

I think with your level of experience

0:27:220:27:24

we would expect someone like that to come in, probably,

0:27:240:27:26

as a senior manager into our business,

0:27:260:27:29

and a senior manager, depending on your past experiences and so on,

0:27:290:27:33

could expect somewhere around the £90,000 per year.

0:27:330:27:36

In certain sectors like mining, oil, and gas,

0:27:360:27:39

you could be looking at earning as much as £120,000.

0:27:390:27:42

The salary range seems to be really favourable compared to the UK.

0:27:420:27:46

So, has it been an interesting day for the couple?

0:27:460:27:49

They meet up later to share their news.

0:27:490:27:52

So how was your day?

0:27:520:27:54

Yeah, it was very nice.

0:27:540:27:56

I feel a little bit more confident about...

0:27:560:28:00

..moving to Melbourne and being an actress here.

0:28:010:28:05

Well, that's great news. I'm really pleased for you.

0:28:050:28:08

And how did your day go?

0:28:080:28:10

It went really well.

0:28:100:28:11

I met a really nice guy, and he said there's a lot of demand

0:28:110:28:14

for people with my experience.

0:28:140:28:16

The salary's good.

0:28:160:28:18

The downside is that he's confirmed the visa situation

0:28:180:28:22

isn't as good as we would like.

0:28:220:28:25

We potentially would only be able to stay for two or four years.

0:28:250:28:28

It might be a good opportunity for us to stay

0:28:280:28:32

for just a few years

0:28:320:28:34

and see how we feel, how we like it.

0:28:340:28:37

So it's Marta now stressing the positives.

0:28:370:28:40

Interesting to see how this vote goes.

0:28:400:28:43

Based on our work meetings today, our vote goes to...

0:28:450:28:47

-Australia.

-Undecided.

0:28:560:28:57

You know that acting is very important to me,

0:28:590:29:02

so today showed me that I've got a fairly good chance

0:29:020:29:07

to keep doing it in case we decide to move here.

0:29:070:29:12

I'm really pleased that you voted for Australia,

0:29:120:29:15

because it's important to me that you're happy if we do move here.

0:29:150:29:19

I had some great news today, but for the visa situation,

0:29:190:29:22

it's just too much uncertainty

0:29:220:29:25

and I don't think I'm prepared to uproot the family

0:29:250:29:28

and move over the other side of the world on a temporary basis.

0:29:280:29:31

Halfway through their trial week,

0:29:390:29:41

and it's fair to say that not everything is going according

0:29:410:29:45

to any prewritten script.

0:29:450:29:47

And with a financial reality check

0:29:470:29:49

and messages from home still to come,

0:29:490:29:52

well, the whole trip could be about to lose the plot altogether.

0:29:520:29:57

First up, they're off for a day

0:29:570:29:59

sampling the Melbourne lifestyle

0:29:590:30:01

to enjoy a well-earned interval

0:30:010:30:03

in the drama of their week, you could say.

0:30:030:30:06

The Parkers are visiting Portsea Back Beach,

0:30:070:30:10

south of Melbourne.

0:30:100:30:11

Back in the UK, Stephen's a keen surfer.

0:30:120:30:15

So today, he's catching some Aussie waves with local life-saver Nick.

0:30:150:30:20

Should be fine out there today.

0:30:200:30:21

Not too windy. See what we find.

0:30:210:30:23

-A few waves around.

-Yeah.

0:30:230:30:24

It's great to see Stephen finally surfing the waves in Australia.

0:30:260:30:30

I hope he has lots of fun.

0:30:300:30:31

Look, look!

0:30:520:30:53

It was good. It was a bit of a warm-up,

0:30:550:30:57

hopefully, for something better in days to come.

0:30:570:31:00

All thirsty work, Stephen.

0:31:000:31:02

The Parkers take some time to refuel down by Port Phillip Bay.

0:31:020:31:06

And a little later, a quick phone call from home

0:31:070:31:10

rounds off a perfect day.

0:31:100:31:11

PHONE RINGS

0:31:110:31:13

It's Stephen's mum.

0:31:130:31:15

Hi, everyone.

0:31:160:31:18

Nice to see you.

0:31:180:31:20

You're all looking very well. How's it going?

0:31:200:31:22

Yeah, it's going well.

0:31:220:31:23

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

-Has Stephen been surfing yet?

0:31:230:31:26

Just today, yeah, just for a bit.

0:31:260:31:27

I'm glad you're having a good time and everything's going well.

0:31:270:31:30

I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip.

0:31:300:31:32

-Bye for now.

-Take care.

-Bye.

-Bye, William.

-Bye.

0:31:320:31:35

But the call from Stephen's mum

0:31:360:31:38

has reminded Marta just how far away they are.

0:31:380:31:41

I'm sure she misses William a lot.

0:31:410:31:43

Yeah, I'm sure.

0:31:430:31:45

Unfortunately, she's the only grandparent William's got left.

0:31:460:31:50

I think it will be a shame if they don't spend, um,

0:31:500:31:53

good time together.

0:31:530:31:55

Thinking back to my own childhood,

0:31:550:31:57

the relationship with my grandparents

0:31:570:31:59

was a quite special one,

0:31:590:32:00

so it will be difficult to take that away from William.

0:32:000:32:03

In Australia, it's absolutely beautiful, beautiful beaches,

0:32:030:32:06

beautiful sceneries and gorgeous summer weather.

0:32:060:32:09

But it worries me that we're going to be missing out

0:32:090:32:12

on a lot of important things

0:32:120:32:14

that are going on back in the UK.

0:32:140:32:17

So it's a thoughtful Marta and Stephen who now have to vote.

0:32:170:32:20

Based on our great day out today, our vote goes to...

0:32:220:32:26

-BOTH:

-Australia!

0:32:360:32:37

Oh, wow...

0:32:390:32:41

Coming down here and seeing the natural beauty of the country

0:32:410:32:44

has made me realise

0:32:440:32:45

why we're thinking of coming here in the first place.

0:32:450:32:48

I'm not 100% convinced yet,

0:32:480:32:51

but it's nice to know that Australia is proving to you

0:32:510:32:55

that it's everything you thought it would be.

0:32:550:32:58

A full house for the Aussie lifestyle

0:33:060:33:08

means the dream is just about back on track.

0:33:080:33:11

For now.

0:33:110:33:12

Financially, though, things will have to stack up,

0:33:120:33:14

and getting the right price for their home in the UK

0:33:140:33:17

could make all the difference.

0:33:170:33:20

The couple think it's worth £700,000.

0:33:200:33:23

Will two local estate agents agree?

0:33:230:33:26

So this is the extension.

0:33:260:33:27

Anyone coming in here would be incredibly happy

0:33:270:33:29

with what they have.

0:33:290:33:30

The position of the kitchen and the sitting room

0:33:300:33:32

at the rear of the house

0:33:320:33:34

just makes it perfect for family living.

0:33:340:33:36

Huge amount of space,

0:33:380:33:40

which could either be a huge double bedroom or two double bedrooms.

0:33:400:33:44

Very clever use of light with the windows.

0:33:440:33:46

Absolutely outstanding.

0:33:460:33:48

Very good-sized garden, very private, ideal for a family.

0:33:500:33:54

Bit more work. But then again, once the work is completed,

0:33:540:33:56

it would be ideal.

0:33:560:33:58

Great, great space.

0:33:580:34:00

Beautiful bathroom. Lovely sink, lovely shower, beautifully tiled.

0:34:020:34:07

Nice and light, fantastic.

0:34:070:34:09

In today's market, and once renovations have been completed,

0:34:110:34:14

I would value the property at £675,000.

0:34:140:34:18

In today's market, and with refurbishment complete,

0:34:180:34:20

I would value the property at £689,950.

0:34:200:34:25

For a quick sale,

0:34:250:34:26

I would value the property at £625,000.

0:34:260:34:30

There's a lot of...a lot of pain gone into that place,

0:34:300:34:33

so that's good news overall, I think.

0:34:330:34:35

Yeah, it's good news to know

0:34:350:34:37

that if we decide to come and if we decide to sell or rent,

0:34:370:34:41

we'll have a very good amount to start with here.

0:34:410:34:45

Happy with the valuations,

0:34:470:34:48

the couple move on to tackle the cost of everyday living in Australia

0:34:480:34:52

compared with the UK.

0:34:520:34:54

Starting with the weekly food shop.

0:34:540:34:56

-Bananas.

-Bananas.

0:34:580:35:00

In the UK, it will be 72p.

0:35:000:35:03

In Australia, £1.48.

0:35:030:35:06

-Double.

-Yeah.

0:35:060:35:07

Not good news.

0:35:080:35:10

Yeah, looking at nappies,

0:35:100:35:11

that's what's jumping out at me at the moment.

0:35:110:35:14

Yeah, the cost is £3.39.

0:35:140:35:17

-And the Australian...

-£8.28.

0:35:170:35:19

Yeah, that gives a difference of £4.89.

0:35:190:35:22

William needs some training.

0:35:220:35:24

We need to start with the potty training earlier.

0:35:240:35:28

And adding it all up...

0:35:280:35:30

So in Australia, we would be worse off £25.08 a week.

0:35:300:35:35

It is quite a bit more, but I think, depending on other costs,

0:35:350:35:39

I don't think we'd notice it that much.

0:35:390:35:41

Yeah, it's manageable.

0:35:410:35:43

Moving on to the bigger bills now.

0:35:430:35:45

The couple base their mortgage on the second property they viewed.

0:35:450:35:49

So in the UK, we pay about £1,600 a month.

0:35:490:35:52

In Australia, that would be £850.

0:35:540:35:56

We'd be saving £750 a month on the mortgage.

0:35:560:36:00

Great start.

0:36:000:36:01

Good news. But Marta plans to continue working part-time

0:36:020:36:05

in fashion retail, so there's a nursery to pay for.

0:36:050:36:09

Cost in the UK, £750.

0:36:090:36:13

In Australia, it's going to cost us £852.

0:36:130:36:18

OK. Quite a bit on top of an already expensive bill in the UK, isn't it?

0:36:180:36:22

-Yeah.

-Yes, but once they factor in their new Australian salaries,

0:36:220:36:27

things start to look brighter.

0:36:270:36:28

So in Australia, we'd be bringing in £2,289 extra per month.

0:36:300:36:36

-Wowee!

-Not bad.

0:36:370:36:38

Not bad at all.

0:36:400:36:41

So will there be a happy ending if they make the move?

0:36:430:36:45

So if we were to move to Australia,

0:36:470:36:49

we would be £2,693 per month better off.

0:36:490:36:55

Oh, yeah.

0:36:580:36:59

The reality of those numbers may vary,

0:37:000:37:03

but I still think that it would be, um,

0:37:030:37:06

a better picture over here if we did move.

0:37:060:37:10

Seeing that figure,

0:37:100:37:11

it makes me feel a bit happier about coming to live here.

0:37:110:37:16

But will it be enough to get another Oz vote for Stephen?

0:37:160:37:20

Based on our reality check today, our vote goes to...

0:37:210:37:24

-BOTH:

-Australia!

0:37:340:37:37

The numbers don't lie.

0:37:370:37:38

With such amount of extra money,

0:37:380:37:41

we can lead comfortable lives,

0:37:410:37:44

save quite a bit of money, and who knows, perhaps, in a few years,

0:37:440:37:50

start thinking of having another baby.

0:37:500:37:52

With another vote for Australia,

0:38:020:38:04

it looks like Stephen's almost home and dry with his mission to move.

0:38:040:38:08

But there's one final hurdle to overcome, and it's a big one.

0:38:080:38:13

While baby William takes a nap,

0:38:130:38:14

the couple sit down to watch messages

0:38:140:38:16

from friends and family back home.

0:38:160:38:19

-BOTH:

-Hello!

0:38:190:38:21

-Hi!

-Oh, hello.

0:38:210:38:23

Steve, to me, was, like, never...

0:38:230:38:26

HE LAUGHS

0:38:260:38:28

..a family guy. But then when he's with Marta and Willie,

0:38:280:38:31

they're just amazing together.

0:38:310:38:33

Marta has made an enormous difference to Stephen's life.

0:38:330:38:37

He's been so happy since he met her.

0:38:370:38:39

When I first heard

0:38:390:38:41

that Stephen and Marta and William were thinking of

0:38:410:38:43

moving to Australia, I was quite excited.

0:38:430:38:46

I thought, "Oh, I'll be able to go there for my holidays every winter."

0:38:460:38:49

Since then, I've sort of started thinking about things

0:38:500:38:53

I would miss about not having them close.

0:38:530:38:56

One part of me would be sad,

0:38:560:38:57

but the other side of me would be totally excited for them.

0:38:570:39:00

It'd be absolutely amazing and I don't think that they should...

0:39:000:39:04

..be worried about that. They should just get on with it.

0:39:050:39:08

So do you really need to go to the other side of the world

0:39:080:39:11

to get out of life what you two want together?

0:39:110:39:14

If Australia is really what you want,

0:39:140:39:16

then just make sure you're making the right decision

0:39:160:39:18

before you commit to it.

0:39:180:39:20

I think not being there to see William growing up

0:39:200:39:22

means I shall miss a lot.

0:39:220:39:25

You need to think very carefully. It is a long way away.

0:39:250:39:28

I would be worried that Australia is maybe lovely for a holiday,

0:39:280:39:33

but perhaps not for a lifetime.

0:39:330:39:35

I thought I wouldn't cry, but there you go.

0:39:370:39:39

They said really clever things about...

0:39:390:39:42

..our potential decision and...

0:39:450:39:47

Yeah, it made me... It helped me.

0:39:490:39:52

It makes you realise how much family means to you

0:39:520:39:57

and what it would be to sacrifice it.

0:39:570:40:02

Yeah, it's a useful reminder of what we would miss,

0:40:020:40:05

but I think I'd already kind of factored that in.

0:40:050:40:08

At the start of the week, Stephen Parker had one objective.

0:40:170:40:21

To show his wife Marta that it was time to move away from their home

0:40:210:40:25

in the UK for a new life in Oz.

0:40:250:40:28

It's been tough, emotional going, however.

0:40:280:40:31

Now, as they approach the final vote,

0:40:310:40:34

it's time to see where their future lies.

0:40:340:40:37

How would you vote?

0:40:370:40:39

The trial week in Australia

0:40:400:40:42

has delivered Stephen's dream in many ways.

0:40:420:40:45

Whenever I've thought of Australia,

0:40:460:40:48

I've thought of a laid-back kind of lifestyle,

0:40:480:40:50

outdoors, good weather.

0:40:500:40:53

Just generally a bit less hectic than the UK,

0:40:530:40:56

and I think Melbourne certainly meets that expectation.

0:40:560:41:00

But it's also left Marta feeling torn.

0:41:000:41:03

Perhaps Australia is the right place for us.

0:41:040:41:07

On the other hand, seeing our friends and family video...

0:41:070:41:12

..made me realise that they do mean a lot to me.

0:41:130:41:17

And they're both aware they haven't just themselves to think about.

0:41:180:41:22

We haven't got much family.

0:41:220:41:24

William's just got...

0:41:240:41:25

..his grandmother and his auntie and uncle.

0:41:260:41:29

It's one thing me moving to the UK and starting my life there,

0:41:290:41:35

but there's a bit more responsibility

0:41:350:41:37

in doing it with your family and your children.

0:41:370:41:40

So will they be able to take the plunge?

0:41:400:41:44

It's time for the final vote.

0:41:440:41:46

Based on our lovely week in Melbourne, our vote goes to...

0:41:460:41:50

-UK.

-Undecided.

0:42:040:42:05

After seeing the friends and family video today,

0:42:080:42:11

it made me realise that I'm going to miss them a lot if we come here.

0:42:110:42:17

Someone in the video said,

0:42:170:42:19

"You don't have to go to the other side of the world

0:42:190:42:22

"to be happy."

0:42:220:42:23

-And I think that's true.

-I'm not too surprised.

0:42:230:42:27

I know how much you like it back in the UK.

0:42:270:42:30

And uncertainty around the visa is just too much of a risk

0:42:300:42:34

for us to move at this stage in our life.

0:42:340:42:37

Part of me is happy that you'll be happy to go back to the UK.

0:42:370:42:43

And who knows? Perhaps one day

0:42:430:42:46

we'll decide to make a move and come here.

0:42:460:42:48

In the end, the pull of loved ones at home was too strong,

0:42:550:42:59

and leaving them behind

0:42:590:43:01

was simply too big an ask,

0:43:010:43:03

even if that meant there was no happy ending

0:43:030:43:06

as Stephen's Aussie dreams

0:43:060:43:08

were put on hold.

0:43:080:43:09

We wish the Parkers all the very best in the future,

0:43:090:43:13

whatever they decide to do.

0:43:130:43:15

Landlocked Birmingham-born Stephen Parker is a most unlikely surfer dude. But he's long held a dream of living in Australia and riding that perfect wave. However, his Bulgaria-born wife Marta is reading from a different script. An aspiring actress, she's determined to stay in the UK, close to where she's made a new life for her and her family.

Meet the Parker family. Dad Stephen, mum Marta and one-year-old William. They met six years ago at the wedding of a mutual friend and fell head over heels in love. Marta left her home in Bulgaria, where she was an aspiring actress, to move to be with Stephen in the UK. Not only did she give up her career for Stephen, but she was leaving her much-loved mum, particularly difficult after her father had passed away.

The couple married in 2014, and although it has taken a while they are now happily settled in the UK with baby William arriving a year ago. But now Stephen is asking Marta to make another move - to Australia. It has been his dream for over 30 years. While he loved growing up in Birmingham, the only thing missing was the sea, so as soon as he was old enough he moved to the coast and took up surfing. But working in London meant chances to indulge his passion were few and far between. But when Marta went into early labour and Stephen didn't get to her in time to help, he knew things had to change. He has taken a career break to ensure more time with his family, but the lure of the surf is calling to him once again.

Marta has had something of a change of heart too. Her mum has now sadly passed away, and with no family left in Bulgaria she believes now might be the best time to think of a move. But she has grown very close to Stephen's family, and taking William away from the only close family he now has would be emotionally very tough.

But Stephen is pretty confident he'll be able to persuade her it's a risk worth taking. A week on the coast near Melbourne gives the family the chance to see what living down under would be like for them if they emigrated.