When I meet people for the first time (and I meet a lot of people in my job) and we've established, that yes, I really AM from Australia, the next (inevitable) question is some variation on:
"Why on earth would you want to come here for?"
often closely followed by:
"But don't you miss home/your family/your friends?"
After two years living here, I'm starting to become more consistent in how I answer. And, in all honesty, it boils down to one simple sentence:
"I've always wanted to."
For as long as I can remember, and certainly from the start of my university degree, I knew I wanted to have the experience of living in another country. While I might be doing the same things as I would be at home, it somehow feels different at the same time. And the chance to travel relatively cheaply is a big drawcard as well. Travel in Australia is expensive. For example, to travel between the town where I used to live and where I grew up, it was a 90 minute (one way) flight that never cost me less than A$400 (return). For that amount of money here in the UK, I can take a few short flights and explore some of the great cities of Europe.
So that answers the 'why' - the chance to experience a different way of living, and the chance to travel to so many amazing places.
As for the 'missing home,' the honest answer to that is yes, I do. I miss my family, my friends, beautiful beaches, and proper sunny/hot weather. But, in this digital age, staying in touch is easy. Being able to email/text message/Skype family and friends keeps me in touch, and makes me admire my Mum, and how difficult it must have been for her being so far away from her family when she moved to Scotland with Dad after they got married. When I complain about the weather, my sister will always remind me about the incredible experience that I'm living right now, being able to travel and see the world. And it takes me about 30 seconds to remember that she's right. I've living a life that many other people only dream of.
Australia will always be there, and will always be home. Two years away has made me more appreciative of what I've got back home, and that I will be back there one day. For me though, at this point of time in my life, living overseas is the right place for me - and I can't imagine doing anything else.