So (like myself) you’ve made the decision to be a walking, talking cliche and move from your hometown to London for a few years to travel, be slightly (although hopefully not too) irresponsible and eventually come back enlightened and completely self aware? Well you’ve come to the right place my friend because although exciting, moving to London is also scary and overwhelming. If I had to give myself 3 pieces of advice in order to make my transition to London living a-hell-of a lot smoother, this would be it.
SAVE LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SAVED BEFORE. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. (SAVE).
In case you didn’t get the gist of this first tip, save. No seriously. London is ridiculously expensive (and this is coming from an Australian) and it’s not unheard of to spend £500 per month to share a room with a total stranger in a 10 bedroom share house. Unless you’ve got a high flying career in finance, you’re going to want to save as many pennies as you can and not be too footloose and fancy free when you first arrive in London. Don’t get me wrong, have fun and make memories (after all, that is why you came to London in the first place) but just because you have lots of money when you first come here doesn’t mean you should buy every fabulous coat and boot that you lay your eyes on. Save that money for travel and important things like a deposit for a flat share and the first few months rent while you find your feet. Your future self will thank you.
LOWER YOUR INITIAL EXPECTATIONS
When I first moved over to London I would constantly get wide-eyed friends, family and even strangers asking me “So, do you love it here?! Are you having the time of your life?!” I never really knew how to answer that question. I mean, I kind of liked it but love? Definitely not. I always felt like I should be loving it, I mean, isn’t that what everyone says when they live in London? Why wasn’t I loving it? Was something wrong with me?
Well, the short answer to that question is no.
Of course everyone will have different experiences of their time in London and although I’m so glad I made the decision to move, it hasn’t been an easy ride. The excitement of moving can often lead us to glamorise what we imagine our lives to be like once we’re living in London and this can often lead to disappointment. Between making new friends, landing a job that you enjoy, getting used to living in a hectic city, sharing a house with strangers and learning to stick to a tight budget, it can be overwhelming and at times, very stressful. Don’t worry, chances are you will have the time of your life but in order to take some of the pressure off, lower your expectations of the first year while you figure everything out.
The good news: fast forward to a year after I moved and I can safely say that yes, I love living here.
SAY YES TO (NEARLY) EVERYTHING.
If you’re moving to London solo (kudos to you by the way), you’re going to really have to put yourself out there a lot. As populated as London is, finding friends can still be tricky and it takes a while to find people that you genuinely click with. Just be patient, because your people are out there! Finding friends is a lot like dating; you ask them out, go for a drink (or 5) and depending on how it goes, you either never see them again or you decide that, hey, you actually kind of like this human and ask to see them again. The great thing about London is that because of the amount of young expats exactly like yourself living here, everyone is wanting to meet new people and make new friends. Say yes to as many things as you can and watch how your life starts to transform for the better. After all, you came here to challenge yourself right?
Have you ever moved cities? What would your top tips be? Leave them in the comments section below!