What were you doing this time last year?

Ranald Hall, the 327th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, had just bought a house in his native Edinburgh, and was planning to live in Scotland for the rest of his life.

But then a plot twist occurred.

Unexpectedly, Ranny was offered a job in Sydney. It was a lucky coincidence, because, years earlier, Ranny and his wife had gone backpacking in Australia and had loved it so much they’d decided to move to Sydney. First, though, they took a farewell trip around the UK – which made them fall in love all over again with their homeland and cancel their plan.

But when the opportunity to move to Australia popped up again in 2022, they decided to take it, figuring Sydney would offer more career opportunities, be a better place to raise their kids, and be a more interesting and cosmopolitan place to live.

So they relocated to Sydney, sold their house and started a new life.

Ranny, who is an international financial planner with Forth Capital, has a rare skill set. Given his knowledge of both the British and Australian systems, he specialises in helping people who have financial interests in both countries. Often, it will be Britons who have moved to Australia; sometimes, it will be Aussies who have lived in the UK for years before returning home. Ranny and his company understand how to transfer assets between countries in a tax-effective way and deliver a holistic financial planning solution.

As it turns out, this is the second time Ranny has started a new life. After finishing school, he moved to the Hebrides, a group of Scottish islands, where he enjoyed the local lifestyle and culture for two-and-half-years.

One day in the distant future, Ranny says he’d love to build a home on a remote Australian island – although he suspects his wife will veto the idea.