I’ve known Kendall Baggerly for 12+ years now! We went to elementary, middle and high school together then attended the same college and even sorority!! So I’m talking years!!
I loved chatting with Kendall because her story is so inspiring. She did what all of us, no matter what age, dream of doing such as traveling all over the world and moving to a new country (for a short or long amount of time), but somehow life (or should I say our corporate jobs) get in the way and we don’t make those dreams happen.
Kendall has an amazing story and it all started when she studied abroad in Sydney, Australia. She met the man of her dreams and well…. I will let her tell you the rest.
Let’s jump right into it!
Hello my Aussie Queen! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello gorgeous! Thanks for having me 🙂
I’m Kendall, a California native who moved to Australia about two years ago to follow my heart and haven’t looked back since. Right now I work full time as a social media strategist at a marketing agency while also creating content for brands on the side. When I’m not working, I’m typically exploring around Sydney in my VW van with my boyfriend, Glenn.
I find it so fascinating that you uprooted your entire life to Australia after meeting the man of your dreams. Can you tell us about your love story?
Aww, I love thinking back to the start of it all.
I studied abroad in 2015 and flew to Sydney not knowing a single person. A few weeks in, I went to a “gathering” at my housing building to meet new people. After a lot of boring, surface levels conversations (e.g. “where are you from?” or “what are you studying?”), I started talking to this guy named Glenn and realised quickly that he we had something special.
We kept talking after the night we met, and he asked me on a few coffee dates here and there, but both of us were actually afraid to start anything serious knowing that at the end of my study abroad trip I had to go back home to San Diego. But fast-forward to about a month before I was supposed to go home and we decided to really give what we had a go – it was too good to just give up.
So then started a LOT of long distance. He would visit for a few months, and then I’d come visit for a bit…but we were never really settled in the same place for that long. It was driving us both crazy! We eventually decided that Australia was where we both wanted to be, so after I graduated and saved up enough money, I made the move. It’s been a crazy relationship from the start, but all of the struggles and long distance never impacted our love for one another. If anything, it proved that we really are meant to be together.
It takes a lot of strength and courage to move to a whole different country away from your family and what you’ve always known as “home”. What pushed you to get out of your comfort zone?
I’ve always been extremely introverted. I HATED talking to strangers growing up. I still do now, honestly. But there’s something so captivating about putting yourself out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things. I think the fact that I studied abroad and got a “safe” taste of living in a new country made the move much easier, but I’ve found that the more I travel, the more that the concept of “home” changes. It’s more of a feeling than a particular place.
What kind of road blocks were thrown your way during the move?
MY VISA! Oh man. That damn visa…
To live in Australia permanently, I needed to get my Partnership Visa, which essentially means that my boyfriend is “sponsoring” me. To do so, we had to provide SO MUCH evidence that we are in a legitimate relationship. I’m talking screenshots of text messages to each other, letters of reference from friends and family, background checks, everything. Oh, and a casual $8-10k.
Long story short, the waiting time for my visa was about 1.5 years (yes, YEARS.) and I applied about 7 months out from my intended move date. So I moved to Australia on a Work & Holiday visa which let me stay in the country for a year, until my partnership visa got approved.
So my visa would be the biggest roadblock, but it still didn’t stop me from moving when I wanted to. I think you can always find a way to make things work if you want it bad enough 🙂
Did fear or anxiety ever slow you down?
Honestly, I don’t think I can really recall ever feeling fearful or anxious about the move. It felt like the right thing to do, so I was more excited than anything! Of course there were little moments of fear, like being so far from my family and having to really figure out everything on my own (where to live, where to work and how much I should be earning) in a completely new country with new rules, customs, etc. But that turned into more of an enjoyment of figuring things out than fear, thankfully.
I do think that being fearful of big changes in our lives is definitely normal, but it should never be a reason not to do something! I mean, what’s really the worst that could happen?
What advice would you give someone in their early 20’s who’s contemplating on moving away from their hometown?
If you’re even thinking about it, DO IT. Your home will always be there, but your youth won’t. This is the perfect time to try new things, meet new people and put yourself in new situations. I’ve learned so much about myself and my priorities by moving abroad, and even though there have been plenty of ups and downs, I don’t regret a single thing. I think I would have really regretted not moving away.
Do you see yourself ever moving back home?
Honestly, no! At least not in the near future. There’s so much more I want to see in Australia, and Glenn and I are planning some exciting adventures to explore the rest of the country. And then we were thinking of maybe spending half a year or so living in Europe. There are far too many places I want to see to think about moving back home!
But then again, I’m not one to make massive plans – if it feels right to move back home in a few years then we’ll do that. It’s all about figuring out what your heart wants and making the moves that will allow you to be your happiest. Long winded answer, but I think it’s important to note that we don’t have to ever be tied down to a single place or country – just go where you genuinely feel the most alive.
Okay, favorite things to do in Australia? Need all the reccs!
Oh boy, where to begin!! I’ve only explored Melbourne, Sydney and a bit up north (Cairns and the Whitsundays) so I’m not an expert just yet on the rest of the country, but if you’re coming to Sydney there are plenty of things to do!
Obviously go to see the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and grab some food and drinks at the Opera Bar. It’s such a picturesque area.
Then I’d recommend spending sometime in the Eastern Suburbs, which is where all the classic beaches are. The Coogee to Bondi coastal walk is a must – you’ll see so many beautiful coves and beaches along the way. Once you’re in Bondi, check out the famous Icebergs swimming pool (but I wouldn’t recommend getting food or drinks there, it’s expensive and not worth it in my opinion). If you wander into the little side streets of Bondi you’ll find so many cute and healthy cafes (Porch and Parlour, Harry’s, Good One, Orchard St). Bondi is also a great place to people watch. It reminds me a bit of Venice Beach in California – there’s a big mix of fitness fanatics, health gurus, the occasional weirdos, surfers, and tourists. It’s great.
I think it would also be worth getting to the northern beaches (Manly is beautiful) and even a little further up to Palm Beach where you can hike up to the lighthouse. Seriously, Google the images of the view from the top – it’s stunning!
Your BF is a personal trainer, does he train you or what kind of workouts do you do? (Your bod is so toned!)
Aw shucks, thank you! My overall health and outlook on fitness has been such a journey. I used to workout because I hated the way I look (I’m sure every girl reading this knows what I’m talking about). But now, I’ve realised that my body lets me do so much and I should be looking to keep it as healthy as possible because I love all that it allows me to do.
So now I do a mix of weightlifting and cardio, which my boyfriend has been incredibly helpful with. He’s trained me to do squats and deadlifts in the correct form, and to not fear lifting heavy.
Outside the gym I try to be as active as possible – learning to surf has been the most fun “workout”! And then hiking and just generally walking everywhere I can.
Favorite healthy meal?
I’m obsessed with Buddha Bowls! My go-to is a bowl of spinach, roast veggies like broccoli, sweet potatoes and onions, avocado, quinoa, chickpeas or salmon, and maybe a fried egg or some halloumi if I’m feeling cheeky. YUM.
What does self-care look like to you?
Self-care to me is a lifestyle outlook. I don’t really set aside a specific time to do self-care things, but rather try to implement that mindset into my everyday choices. It means making decisions every day that will benefit my mind and body – from choosing to eat healthy food to only using natural skin and hair products. It also means putting my mental and physical health at the forefront of everything and choosing to do what genuinely makes me happy, even if that means taking time off work or saying no to going to events or gatherings.
You have a full-time job, a side hustle (you have to follow her), you travel a lot, and have a big social life. How do you balance it all?
It’s all about priorities! Mental and physical health is the most important. I know that sounds selfish, but if you’re not feeling your best then anything else you do will likely suffer.
I also have a bit of structure to my weeks in a sense. I’ll go to work during the week, and on the weekends I smash out any photography or videography work for brands or my Instagram (and pray it doesn’t rain!). That also means I can travel on the weekends and get that content at the same time, which helps a LOT. I think that finding something you love to do means that you’ll make it work with your current situation until you’re able to hopefully do it full-time.
What are your life goals/plans?
I’d love to eventually settle into a little beach home somewhere up north just outside of Byron Bay/Noosa, where I can spend more time in nature and focus on photography and videography a bit more. Ideally, Glenn and I want to spend half the year in Australia and the other half exploring the northern hemisphere so we get to experience non-stop summer. That would be the ultimate dream!
Where can we find you? Pimp yourself out!
I’m on Instagram as @kendallbaggerly which is where I mostly am at the moment! I’ll likely start up a blog to document my future travels, but that’ll be in a few months time. Until then, let’s all connect on the good ol’ gram 🙂