Your Yorkshire Evening Post has readers who keep in touch with @LeedsNews from around the world via our website and facebook. Alison Bellamy reports.
For many people, moving away from your home city or town, and leaving loved ones behind is perhaps the hardest part of emigrating.
There may be sunshine and a new way of life, as scores of former Leeds folk have been telling us about their how their lives differ to the Yorkshire norm.
There is Tony Cockram in Los Angeles; John Sayers in Japan; decorator Ken Wilkes and his family in Australia, Darren Rundle and family in Vancouver, Canada; Leeds United fan Matthew Green in Kuala Lumpur and fellow Leeds fan Charlie Busby and family on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand.
And as a new year approaches, being away from loved ones can be particularly tough.
Many West Yorkshire folk living abroad find it helps them keep in touch by using social media such as Facebook or Twitter and via the YEP website.
Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos have an army of loyal fans wordlwide, who communicate thanks to the internet.
People like Matthew Green, who is now happily married with a baby son and settled to life in Kuala Lumpur since moving there 10 years ago. Matt said: “I was born in New Farnley, Leeds, and spent a few years in Bahrain as my Dad was an ex-pat before moving back to Leeds in my teens.
“I’m now managing partner of a firm of independent financial advisors, giving advice to the expatriate community. Life can be very different but also pretty much the same. The weather, culture, people are obviously worlds apart from Leeds, it’s 32c every day all year long, the only thing that changes is the amount and time of day the rain comes. I still get up and to work every Monday and look forward to Friday afternoon all week long.
“I met my wife, Cindy, nine years ago and six months ago we had our first child, Kaedan.
“We live on the outskirts of KL, about 15 miles from the famous Twin Towers. We are lucky to be on a lovely gated community with great facilities, you can start to take such things from granted.
“We are also very lucky in that we are surrounded by what most people would consider dream holiday destinations; in the time it would have taken me to drive to. Blackpool from Leeds I could now reach Phuket, Bali, Langkawi, Singapore etc. Because of that we tend to take lots of long weekends away rather than a long annual holiday.
“I rarely miss home other than not getting to see my nieces as often as I would like, it would be nice to have a proper pint of Tetleys and visit Elland Road more often though.
I usually get back once a year, usually Christmas, but not this year as we don’t want a 14 hour flight this year, with a small baby.”
Leeds will always be home to Tony Cockram, who moved from Garforth to Los Angeles 13 years ago. He said: “I came to LA as a plasterer in 1990 and was fortunate to get into the refining business. I am now a production manager at a facility in Carson, California.”
Tony is married with two girls, Erin 18, and Meghan 15. Erin is in high school and Meghan a junior. Meghan has Down Syndrome and over the years the family has done a lot of charity work for Down Syndrome awareness.
Tony added: “I am lead singer and rhythm guitar player and songwriter for a band called Blue Powda Monkeys. We have been the opening act for bands such as UFO and the Michael Schenker Group.
“My family are in the Garforth, Kippax and Crossgates area. I was born in Wakefield but moved to Garforth with my family when I was 10.
“My mum and dad, and two of my sisters still live in Garforth with another sister is in Kippax. My mum had seven brothers and three sisters most of which along with cousins live in the same area. My dad Kevin Cockram is the head of caretaking services at Garforth Community College.”
Painter and decorator Ken Wilkes and his wife Wendy and family moved from Beeston to Australia in 2007: “We decided to leave as were getting fed up with the weather and the way England was being run. We sold our small semi in the Barkly’s and off we went and now live in Bateman’s Bay.
“Life in Oz is amazing with beautiful scenery everywhere. We live four hours south of Sydney on the coast and it has the best climate. It does get very warm in summer with temperatures reaching 40c some days.
“Food and bills are higher than the UK but wages are 50 per cent higher. It is a big move and we miss our family and friends but you never seem far away these days with the web and facebook. We’ve been back last year to surprise my brother on his 50th, My eldest daughter Laura is a qualified nail technician and runs her own business after going back to school. Our youngest Craig just settled straight away and has loved it since, he has just left school and is hoping to be a motor mechanic.
We live two minutes walk from the beach and every weekend just feels like your on holiday, just a great way to live.
If anyone is thinking of moving or saying i wish we could move to Oz just do it. Yes it is a scary thing to do, but how will you know till you try it?”
Morley couple start new life in Canada
Morley couple Charlotte and Danny Boldison moved from Leeds to Alberta, in Canada, just three months ago, to start a new life.
And despite average temperatures at the moment of minus 20c, Charlotte says they couldn’t be happier. Former Asda home shopping worker and hairdresser Charlotte, whose maiden name is Raw, and electrician Danny, who worked for Fulton Foods, lived at Richmond Close, in Morley. He attended Bruntcliffe High School and used to play drums for South Leeds Steel band.
Charlotte, who attended Saint John Fisher Catholic High School in Dewsbury, said: “We got married on 12/12/12 at Leeds Town Hall. We had decided to make to the move to Canada in 2011 after a holiday and after watching the Disney film UP.
“The biggest difference here is the weather. Everybody is so friendly and welcoming.
“I do miss the food, especially mint sauce. And what I’d do for pie and mushy peas right now. If I show anybody here pictures of the architecture in Leeds, they are blown anyway.
“It’s funny what we take for granted,
“We also miss our families and friends but seem to talk to them or see them on Skype more that we did in England. Some are planning to visit us next year.
“Danny is an electrician working for a local company he loves, unfortunately due to complications with my visa I can’t be a hairdresser over here just yet, I need a licence. So I’m working as a dog walker and get to see the beautiful parks and get my doggie fix as we had to leave ours at home.
“To say we have only been here just a few months we love it and know it’s the best decision we ever made, although we do miss good old Yorkshire. We want to wish a Happy new year to all our family and friends.”
She said during December January time there was usually lots of snow: “In Grande Prairie last year, they had 46cm of snow and it’s was -39c on 27th December so I think we might be in for lots of snow.”
Sunshine life for TV’s Yorkshire lass in Mallorca
Former ITV calendar presenter and Vicky Locklin now lives in in Mallorca.
The self-confessed ‘Yorkshire lass’ and her 10-year old son Will are fully embraced in Spanish life after more than a year in the sunshine.
Journalist Vicky said: “After an amazing holiday in Palma, I thought ‘What am I going back for?’ Freelance work as a journalist was drying up, life was getting me down and we were already starting to plan a move to ensure my son had a chance of being in a school catchment area.
“So we started to put feelers out, One day I got a call abut a job which fitted in with school for Will - and that was it.
“I now present my own show on the English speaking Radio One Mallorca. I write for the local paper and present a cooking show on the Mallorca Today TV. My proudest achievement though is my son Will who spends all day speaking Spanish, Catalan, English and a bit of Swedish. One thing you learn very quickly is if you move to a Mediterranean country is the laid back lifestyle, you also have to get used to the fact that this can drive you nuts when it comes to paperwork, banking or anything that involves a ‘form’ to be filled in.
“I earn less than in the UK but we seem to be able to stretch it a lot further. Maybe its because the year round pleasant weather and the golden sand beaches are free to all.
“I do miss my friends and family but do get visitors. I’m a great believer that in life its better to have a go and it not work out than never have a go. It was the best thing we have done.”
Vicky says that unlike the UK, there will be sunshine for the festive season: “The real celebration here is three kings on 5 January: The fiesta of the Oriental Kings (Els Reins) is celebrated in memory of the three wise men. We all head to the local port where hundreds watch as the kings arrive on a boat at night. Fireworks light up the sky and they throw sweets and gifts to the kids in the crowd. It’s Brilliant.”
My New Year message is: “All the best and here’s to a great 2014 for us all. Reach for the stars and make every day count.”