Moving abroad is never an easy feat but we all have the power to make decisions that can change the course of our life – isn’t that mind-blowing to think about? One of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in the last couple of years was having the courage to leave ‘home’ and start again in a new city and country.
When we move abroad, three key factors play a huge role in our experience; a solid network of friends, a good home and a decent job that pays the bills. If you can safely tick all three, the chances are – you’re pretty lucky.
Now as the days keep rolling, I’ve found myself reflecting back on the last year since I’ve moved here, hoping to gain more clarity and certainty that I’m on the right path. Here are a few learnings from my time so far in London and some pockets of advice if you’re thinking of moving over.
#1: Money is dire
When I first moved here, I didn’t expect for the living expenses to be so high. In-between the ridiculous rent, transportation and general basic needs, I’m often left wondering how much longer I can put up with never having a sufficient savings account. But this is the price we pay to live in the land of opportunity. There are so many things on from events, music gigs, and of course regular visits to the local pub – you’ll never be bored or run out of things to ‘waste’ your money on.
My advice? Leverage the low cost of groceries and make packed lunches when you can. Also, try and save a proportion of your income, even if it’s £100 a month. It takes time to build a cushion here, but you want to have some financial security in this city – trust me. If you want a real eye-opener for your finances, get a Monzo account and start allocating a budget to spend within your means each month.
#2: The people are harder to crack but give them time
The English are a fun bunch, but they can be quite reserved. Don’t expect that you can just casually chat to the guy you’re sitting next to on the train, it doesn’t work like that. If you find yourself in the wrong share house, with the wrong people, don’t let this dampen your spirit. Guaranteed, once you find your people you will fall more in love with this place.
My advice? Join local community groups like Aussies in London, London New Girl or Kiwis in London. They are packed with like-minded individuals who are in a similar position. I have recently started up Out Of Office Adventures in hope of meeting new people and extending my friendship groups!
#3: You will get to travel more than ever because Europe is quite literally your oyster
One of the greatest things about living over here is the fact that I can pick and choose what country I’d like to visit every month. You’d be surprised how many people laugh when I tell them I’ve moved from Sydney to London. It’s usually followed up with “You’re mad, why would anyone leave #Sydney to come to #London. You must be loving the weather.” I laugh right back at them inside my head and say “I’ve got 44 countries to explore, around me in just a two hour flight, and the whole world to see. London is my gateway” what’s your excuse?
My advice? Look out for the sales whether it’s Easy Jet or Ryan Air and just book em’ in! The more hesitation, the less places you’ll visit. There are a few bank holidays throughout the year, so break up your annual leave and plan smaller trips away so you can see more!
#4: That feeling of homesickness – that’s totally normal
Ask anyone – London can be one of the loneliest places to live. People lead such busy lives and friendship groups are broken into clusters according to postcode ha! I can’t stress this enough – make sure you’re living with a solid group of housemates and in an area where the vibe is strong. Once you find your groove, and your tribe of people, you will feel
My advice? Again, put yourself out there and make sure you’re living in a good house with like-minded people. Check out Spare room to find other humans in a similar position to you. Then just immerse yourself in the British culture. There are moments where you soak it all in and realise you’re surrounded by pubs that existed from the 1600’s. Now that’s pretty special!
#5: You will get a chance to re-define yourself
To me, London is a constant source of energy allowing us to grow, re-define and re-invent who we are and where we want to be. If you’ve come here from the other side of the world, you better believe that you’re going to face some demons. Guess what? Nobody here knows you. Truth is, it’s up to you to make this your experience. Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. You do you.
My advice? Look out for community events. Start a walking tour. Download them dating apps if you’re single. Just do something new. Focus on your passion projects. Put yourself out there and learn more about yourself than you ever have before.
#6: Citymapper is life and so are a 02938398 other apps
This free and (very) useful app will be your god-send to navigating through London like a boss! It will provide you the most efficient route to your choice of destination(s).
My advice? The mobile (plus data) plans here are cheap as chips and will actually allow you to travel through most of the EU at no extra charge. Some other apps that I highly recommend include; DICE (for the best music events), Monzo (to keep your money on track), Treatwell (for beauty deals), Open Table (for dinner reservations).
London, it’s a love/hate relationship. It’s not always going to be easy here, but you will grow from this experience.