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A millennial moved from Australia to Canada for her career. She said the people in Vancouver are welcoming, but the cost of living is high.

Madison Hoff   

A millennial moved from Australia to Canada for her career. She said the people in Vancouver are welcoming, but the cost of living is high.
  • Kellsie Bain is a makeup artist who moved from Australia to Canada.
  • Bain moved for her career and because she wanted to see the world beyond Sydney.

Kellsie Bain, 33, said she "always had a travel bug."

Bain, who grew up and lived in Sydney, told Business Insider she visited the US several times in her 20s, including trips to New York City. She dreamed of moving there.

"But as I got older, I just realized how difficult that was, especially as an Australian, to get a US visa," Bain said. "It's quite challenging, especially being self-employed."

While her dream of moving to New York may not have come true — at least not yet — the "travel bug" didn't go away, and she was able to move somewhere else: Canada.

"Canada is exactly what I expected it to be like," Bain said. "There's a few things here that have shocked me. I didn't think the homeless problem would be as bad as what it is here."

Bain said she got her visa "approved in a couple of months, and it was just a lot more simple" than what the process would have been like for a US visa.

Bain, a destination makeup artist, said she "had to pack up the house" she owned and made the "big move" to Canada in the summer of 2022. She said, "I travel a lot with my bridal makeup business, so I've kind of been traveling throughout that time, but primarily I keep coming back to Vancouver, and this has been my base since then."

Bain was excited about the move and ready for a change. "I wanted to meet new people, and I wanted a challenge," she said. "And, that's what I got."

Pros and cons of living in Vancouver

Bain noted to BI several personal advantages to living in Vancouver, including the people who she has found can be welcoming and generous.

"For the most part, I've been here on my own, which has been challenging," she said but added people have supported her and her business.

But there are also pros beyond the people, such as the location.

"It's a beautiful country," Bain said. "The landscape is stunning. I love being close to the water."

Bain, who said she's into health and fitness, also has found "a lot of people live a really healthy lifestyle here" and that people love the outdoors. She said she loved the spin studio she joined.

After living in Australia and given her work as a destination makeup artist, Bain said another pro is the proximity from Vancouver to other places.

"The main reason behind my move was I started to get global attention from my TikTok," Bain, who had over 100,000 followers on her TikTok account at the time of reporting, said. With that attention, she said there were people looking to book her work, and she wanted to be closer to where bookings would need her.

While Bain moved partly for her career, she was also ready to see what life was like outside of Sydney after living there for so long.

"I felt like I really wanted to experience more of the world," she said.

While she finds the summertime can be beautiful, she finds the weather and temperature in general a large con of being in Vancouver. She misses the weather and beaches in Australia, although she noted there are beaches in Vancouver too.

She said she also misses her family dog and "the familiarity of being around my family and friends." Plus, she said, "I miss the Australian people."

"They're down to earth," she said. "They're honest. They're loud, and I really miss that at times."

Another issue is the cost of living. She has found this is quite high.

Bain said she's been subleasing because she prefers "short-term rentals because I really don't know what's around the corner." She looks for fully furnished apartments when subleasing. Her current rent is over 2,000 Canadian dollars.

"A few years ago, I definitely wouldn't have been able to afford that on my own, but I'm grateful that I can now," she said.

Bain had to adjust her work in Canada.

"I had more of a client-facing business two years ago," she said. "In Sydney, I was doing four or five weddings a week, and then on my days off, I'd have clients coming to my house to get makeup done."

She thinks Canadians aren't as obsessed with makeup as Australians and Europeans are.

"So when I moved here, I just wasn't picking up as many client-facing makeup jobs," she added.

She also found that wedding work in Canada is more seasonal than in Australia due to the snowy winters. Given that, she tried working at a hotel spa early on after her move to help make some money, but she did that only briefly as she said she wasn't making a lot at the hotel.

"I had to basically transform my whole business," she said. "I launched an online business selling masterclasses, workshops. I do coaching calls for makeup artists."

In addition to launching the masterclass in the spring of last year and starting those calls in the summer, she also does content creation and picks up makeup jobs in Canada.

She said if she were "relying solely on makeup jobs and client-facing work, it would be very, very hard to live here."

Bain is happy living in Canada and the positives that come with being there. However, her dream of New York isn't completely out of the picture either.

"I think eventually I'll move back to Australia, but there is a part of me that would love to experience living in the States, even if it's just for a year or two," she said. "New York still really interests me, but then I also just think I've just built my reputation in this town and built my business up here."

She said while she's confident she could do it, "it's also a very expensive process to get a visa in the States. So I don't know what's around the corner, but we'll see."

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