Is the grass greener?
I’m here to tell you that no, no it’s not, it’s just a different colour.
My story is a little bit boring. Horrible break up, horribly well-paying easy job, horrible comfort zone, horribly over protective and loving family. God my life was horrible…
And I don’t use the word ‘was’ lightly.
Something hit me one day. Not the break up thing, not the all friends getting married thing… whatever hit me, hit me hard. So, I did it. I did what every Australian tends to do when they’re young… or should do when they’re young. I quit my job, packed my bag, and boarded my one-way flight to London.
Quit your job, get a tan, fall in love, never return… yes, cool. Insta quotes are all great in theory. But they aren’t real. Looking at you #fitspo #bikinibody, you just make people feel worse.
Moving to London has been the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. And everyone speaks English here.
Unfortunately, everything anyone ever tells you about moving to London will largely be a lie.
It’s cold – it is. But it’s different. There is no wind from Antarctica, and there are so many buildings to just hold in that residual heat, that it’s fine. And when it is 25 degrees, it feels like 35. They also believe in heating here. Australia – skip the global warming crap and get on board.
Everyone is racist – it’s true. And I’m from Melbourne, which is a highly race segregated city. It’s everywhere. It’s in your face every day. Clients will ask you in meetings which way you voted in Brexit, before they ask your name. It’s dividing a city, and London is a big city.
Everything is expensive – public transport costs me three times the amount I paid in Australia. Eating out hurts, as does buying supermarket wine and paying rent. My ‘no frills’ gym costs me $30AUDper week and, most of the time I hit the ‘too busy’ (snooze) button. Sushi isn’t a snack on the run, it’s a night out, but if you try really, hard, you make your budget work.
Opportunities are amazing – they are. No other words. If you want to work global, move to London.
The food is terrible – sugar. Sugar everywhere. They laden on the sugar in Chinese take away food, Mexican food, “barbeques” and everything tastes like syrup.
You are on Europe’s doorstep – you are. And you can fly to Mallorca for $30AUD return. Or Budapest, or Paris, or wherever you want to go for the weekend. You just need to roll in to work on the Monday morning with extra concealer under the eyes, it’s totally fine.
Finding your identity is hard – It’s not, you are hipster, or you are Essex. You have fake lashes and a fake tan, or overalls (dungarees) with Nikes in a corporate environment. No one dresses up on nights out, and very few women try to attempt fashion. There is no in-between.
It’s easy to meet new people – it is, and it isn’t. It’s just hard to find the ones. People are like planets, they orbit your world, and if you don’t pick the right planets, then cue; ice age, hurricanes… and whatever bad things happen when gravity is wrong. It’s weird to put yourself out there, especially when you are on the wrong side of 30.
It takes six months to settle – this is an outward lie. Play your cards right, know which one you want to play, and hold the safety ones close to your chest. Everything will be fine.
It’s easy to get around – everywhere in London is an inconvenience. The world raves on about the tube. It’s equally the most amazing and infuriating invention ever created. Particularly in peak hour. Once you’re in the hole, you’re in. You have no phone reception and can’t see over the masses of 5000 other people. You have an armpit in your face and someone is gyrating against your back, but you can’t be late. You are literally fighting for survival, as are the other 5000 people.
London is a clean city – drugs, rubbish on the street and homeless people. Everywhere. From my front step to walking down Regent street. You see deals, you see overdoses and you see vomit. There is no clean city here. However, the recycling system is amazing.
London is safe – I get mad at tourists now for being in my way. I guess I live here. But there are people everywhere. You are surrounded by people, from the second you leave your house, until you close your eyes. Safety comes in numbers. Living in London is the safest I have ever felt.
People drink a lot in London – they do. But only on week nights. Then they go to work the next day. People don’t tend to drink on weekends. Because, maybe, soccer (football) is in off season. But for now, they just don’t.
It hasn’t been easy, and it’s something that I will never regret, but London, I’ve got your back, if you’ve got mine.