Back in 2003 Jacqueline Fortuin started an adventure with her husband and two small children: they went for a trip Down Under and did not expect to still be there 20 years later…
Jacqueline grew up in a small village in the Hoeksche Waard in The Netherlands, went on to study law at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam where she met her husband, Chris. They both graduated, got a job, got married and had 2 children. Then in 2001 they visited her brother-in-law in New Zealand and both she and her husband felt there should be more to life than running the rat race they were in. So, the seed of migration had been planted.
Thinking and talking about where to move to was happening, taking into consideration what they wanted to get out of it. Most importantly a better climate, more peace and quiet, job opportunities and preferably an English-speaking country. Australia seemed the obvious choice. So, the visa process got started, but that took a long time and in the meantime their daughter needed to start school. So, they decided to go on a tourist visa for 6 months with a possible extension for another 6
months and see what would happen. Well, that was a golden move, because while they were travelling around Australia their visa was approved!
Now things were getting serious because they needed to decide where they would like to settle down and give the Australian way of life their best shot. They had travelled through New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland and had fallen in love with Brisbane. Not too big of a city but still plenty of job opportunities, and with a great variety in nature with the coastline, rainforests and mountains it was perfect! It didn’t take too long for her husband to find a job and they had a house built. And 20 years later they are still there, combining their love of bike riding as true Dutchies with hiking in the Australian bush.
Even though she has been in Australia for a long time Jacqueline still considers herself Dutch. In the first few years she and her husband would often check with each other if they wanted to move back to The Netherlands. But the longer they are here, the less likely that is. Especially now that the children have flown the nest and are starting their own lives. But she sometimes misses her family and friends, the Dutch food and the typical ‘gezelligheid’.