I met Maeve at the CERN Toddler Group and she seemed to me like one of the most happiest and peaceful moms I’ve met over there. She was easy to talk to, very friendly and to me she was just super stylish and calm. When at a dinner party she told me all about her adventures abroad I knew I had to bring her to the blog! Her movings and travels were so interesting! Take a look 🙂
When did you first move out of your country and why?
I left London in England with my family to move to Ireland when I was six months old.
In which countries did you live already and for how long?
Northern Ireland 1998-2000
Why do you move so much?
I never planned to move so much but I am an adventurous person so I guess it is only natural that I have lived in quite a few places. Growing up in Ireland when all of my extended family came from England made me see from a young age that it was possible to live in that way.
Do you enjoy moving around?
Mostly yes. I enjoy adventure and learning about new cultures but as I have grown older and with the arrival of my two children I have developed more of an urge to settle down in one place.
Is there any country where you felt like you were at home?
I have felt at home in different ways in all of the places that I have lived. I feel most at home in England and in Ireland, in fact I am torn between those two countries but my husband prefers to live in England and his work is here in London so that is where we are for the foreseeable future.
What do you like most about moving so much?
I like the change of perspective moving country gives you and the feeling that you can shake the dust off your old life for a while. I like how the places you live and the different cultures that you live in become pieces of your identity even after you have moved on. I also love that I have made so many friends in all the countries I live in. We do not always stay in touch every day after moving but there is a feeling that we as a family are part of an international network and that we have people to visit in so many places in the world if we ever travel there.
In your opinion what are the biggest disadvantages of moving so much?
Missing relatives and loved ones at home. Losing touch with what is going on culturally at home and missing out on the benefits of putting down roots. This is quite a literal thing for me as I love gardening and I have never had the chance to develop a mature garden and see the fruits of my labour in this respect. I also find that my routine becomes interrupted by moving, this effects us all as a family. It is not ideal moving house with young children. I find my ability to do the things I love like writing and painting become diminished when we are in the chaos of moving and it takes quite a lot of work to get that sense of calm back.
Regarding finding a home, do you prefer to rent a furnished place or an empty one?
We rent unfurnished houses these days as we have a lot of our own stuff but we did rent a furnished house when we first moved to France as it was more convenient after relocating from Chicago. We bought and sold all our furniture in Chicago, only using it for one year which in hindsight was probably not the most convenient approach. However I absolutely love hunting for beautiful things in antiques shops and second hand stores. I now have quite a lot of French and Swiss furniture in our London house which is nice as it reminds us of our time there.
When you move to another country, what do you always take with you, no matter what?
Tea bags. We English people are fanatical about our precious tea. We take Yorkshire breakfast tea with us wherever we go and have a supply shipped to us for the duration. Although they now sell it in some supermarkets in France which is something I thought I would never see.
Is decoration important for you or you just live with what you get?
We usually live with what we get and make it work for us. Although there are definitely some houses I could not live in because of the decor!
Do you think you’ll ever stop moving? When?
Possibly. This last move to London feels pretty permanent due to my husband’s job and my oldest daughter starting primary school next year. I love London for its cultural richness and the excitement of living in such a big city, we also have a lot of friends and family living in the vicinity so I am happy here.
Where do you picture yourself when you retire?
I dream that we will move back to Donegal in Ireland where I grew up. Part of my heart will always be in Donegal but my husband does not feel exactly the same as I do so we will see. I would also be happy in many parts of the U.K. My husband is a physicist and they tend to work long into retirement age so I feel we may need to be near a university with a physics department wherever we live for a long time to come and that is fine by me.
Any piece of advice for those who are just moving for the first time?
Travel as light as possible. You will be amazed at the things you don’t need or can easily and cheaply replace when you arrive at your new destination.
Thank you Maeve! I hope we can meet again when I come to London one of these days!