“I don’t understand why anyone would want to move to England, it’s so glum and cold, the people are boring, it’s so crowded and sad. This is the best country, stay.”
All I needed was a bank statement. A requirement for my visa to prove I have enough money to not be *immediately* homeless on arrival in the UK. Unfortunately the statement required a hefty price, that of my pride on an otherwise lovely Saturday morning. A line of onlookers behind, I was savaged with the most brutal shade as the bank teller recounted the misery of her childhood in Manchester, believing it her duty to convince me that a move to London would be disastrous. I’m usually quite polite, but this made my lower eyelid twitch into overdrive, with her rant sending my own anxieties bubbling over into a cauldron of self-doubt.
To be fair, this woman was only expressing her opinions, but my own nervousness about the decision is what irked me. Like everyone, I get confused about my feelings and motivations as they bounce around this cavernous head, and self-doubt isn’t something easily eradicable.
When I tell others of my plans to move and the inevitable “why London?” rears it’s head, my answer usually goes something like this,
“Uhhhh ummm idk right like YOLO haha why not yeah?”
Articulate. I’m terrible at being eloquent on the spot without a previously rehearsed answer (answering phones is not a joy of mine). After six months of planning, you think I would’ve come up with a better synopsis for such a life-changing decision.
Usually the question is asked by loved ones with an innocent curiosity and excitement, which I adore. Trust me, if you ever feel attention deprived, move overseas. In return for your ‘bravery’ you will receive endless love and concern, even from people who didn’t give a shit about you before your intercontinental aspirations. But sometimes there are hints of cynicism, confusion and even disgust (!) when I make clear the intent to relocate to a stereotypically drearier side of the globe. It’s additionally frustrating when people add, “You’re going to have SUCH a good time,” because it creates weird pressure to be having fun 24/7, or when they say “Maybe you’ll meet someone!” Ugh, please. Times like these call for more persuasive justification of my decision.
So now, with just a week until D (departure) -Day, I’m going to attempt making sense of my reasons so I can hand out business cards linking this post every time someone asks “why?”
I’ve finished uni
With a degree under my belt, I am at last free of the education system. I really enjoyed
lazy university life studying and am grateful for the chance I had to build knowledge, open-mindedness and critical thinking abilities, but now without a structure of learning and assessment I’m able to leave home to pursue growth elsewhere. Good part time jobs have gotten me through uni, but apart from some short-term stints in Sydney’s film industry, I’m not attached to a full-time job. Career? Bleh. For now all I see is a good commitment-less time to do something wild… like move overseas without offers of accommodation or employment.
Desire to keep travelling
I love Europe and my desire to keep exploring the continent will be hugely assisted through relocation to London. In the time of my normal morning commute to work in Sydney, I could be in another country. That’s un-fucking-believable. I know cheap flights aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, but travelling Europe while I’m young will be much easier without the $2000+ price tag flights from Australia come with. Australia is a sublime, diverse and magnificent country to travel, with New Zealand and Asia not too far away, but for now my temptations lie in Europe, and I will always have the Asia-Pacific to come back and love.
London is English-speaking
Okay guys, London might not actually be my favourite city in Europe. But in England they speak… you know, English. An appealing factor. While most Europeans are enviably bi-lingual, and it’s definitely not impossible to live in a country where the people *shock horror* don’t speak your language, I think I’ll have enough of a challenge relocating without the language barrier.
Supportive friends and family
I’m so lucky to have a network of people who support me. I love my family and friends, you probably do too (your own family and friends, not mine). I will of course be sad to leave their physical proximity, but two years is nothing in the scheme of things. My parents have done a decent job raising an adult, and now it’s time to move out of home and put them aside (in the nicest way possible) to start my own independent journey, something everyone has to do. Sure, I could just move with friends closer to the city, but if I’m going to stretch my comfort zone then may as well throw myself in the deepest of ends – the other side of the world. Plus, my friends and family are all quite adventurous travellers themselves, so I’m confident I’ll see them when they come to Europe. I will continue to cherish my loved ones, and distance is your BITCH when blessings like Skype / social media exist.
I’ve been an Anglophile since childhood
I blame Doctor Who. When I was 10 I told everyone in my class that my family was moving to London. We absolutely weren’t, but young me must’ve gotten attached. Still am.
I kind of like colder weather, and rain
*Gasp*, I know. It’s cosy. If you have me on Instagram you know love a good beach or nature in any form, but trading a sunny lifestyle for a stint in a dynamic metropolis isn’t the worst compromise. Especially when Croatia is a Ryan Air flight away.
Opportunity for personal growth / adventure blah blah blah
All the corny shit you’ve heard before. I’m still at a foetal age in personal development, and like everyone, want to make the most out of life before DEATH. Seriously guys, death is a good motivator for getting shit DONE. I don’t want to be the kid who talks about moving overseas, I want to be that kid. I’m young, healthy (ish) and privileged enough to be in a situation where saving the money required for such a lifestyle change is accomplishable. I want to try new things, meet new people and push comfort zones. The fear of a life unlived is the biggest of all. It’s embarrassing to admit, but Contiki has it right with their #noregrets slogan. I know moving is going to be hard, but it won’t be as hard as refusing to change, staying stagnant and then looking back in 20 years’ time, wishing I taken a chance. I know it will be a daily battle, one of constant questioning and uncertainty, but it will be worth it.
Chance to embrace minimalism
Compulsory when all I’m bringing is a backpack and one unimpressively sized suitcase. I’m lowkey keen to cleanse myself of belongings/junk/fluro singlets from Supre, excited to start from scratch in a new city and only accumulate items that actually bring joy.
London is COOL
There’s PUBS and people from all over the WORLD and HISTORY and the UNDERGROUND and a thriving MUSIC / ARTS SCENE and so much variety in different NEIGHBOURHOODS. Seriously guys, the tube is a blessing. I know the British love to moan, but y’all don’t know how good you got it. Yes, London is a busy, stressful place, but it’s also zesty and alive. Coming from a suburban upbringing, the busyness excites me. I don’t want to move overseas just to DOWNSIZE, puh-lease.
Sydney’s expensive too
So why not go broke overseas?
Work abroad looks good on a CV
Especially if it’s in a legit professional role, rather than pint pulling. I’ve been lucky with work in Sydney’s film & TV industry at Fox Studios, but it’s a very insular bubble without many new opportunities cropping up. I know competition for employment is fierce anywhere, but at least London has a *slightly* bigger media industry and my toes are ready for the dipping. Fingers crossed.
Being the one with a ‘foreign’ accent
It’s a great icebreaker.
I won’t be driving
I love driving, but not having a car in London means no more
speeding, red light camera, illegal parking, servicing fees!
There’s no shortage of information / advice
Plenty of people have done it before, and plenty of people will continue to do so. There are so many articles, groups, forums and, you guessed it, blogs, detailing people’s experiences. Organising yourself isn’t tricky at all with the abundance of expat knowledge on the internet. With D-Day fast approaching, I am feeling, above all, quite calm.
Because I damn well want to, and it’ll make a good story if nothing else
So if you’re interested in coming along for the ride, this is where I’ll be posting my stories, advice and misadventures.
Thanks for reading! I hope I’ve convinced someone out there that moving overseas isn’t that insane, London isn’t that shit, and that if I can do it, you most certainly can too.