After almost two years of London living, I finally booked my flight to go home today. It’s so surreal thinking I’ve spent the last two years of my life away from home. It’s weird because I honestly consider London my home now. I was delaying booking this flight because I didn’t want to go back to what I’m so familiar with - I’m not ready go back to a city I know everything about.
Anyway, I thought it might be fitting to write about what I’ve learned during my time here. Obviously too much to fit into a post but I’ll sum up the most important things that I’ve taken away from this experience. Everyone should try living abroad just once whether it’s for work, school, travel or just because (I will be the first one to preach this). I think I grew substantially within these past two years - way more than I would have if I stayed back home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely been a tough two years but I’m so happy I did it.
You’re not stuck in anything. This applies to jobs, relationships, living arrangements, anything. I’ve had 2 jobs and lived in 4 different flats during my 2 years here. If you’re unhappy with something in your life, you can change it! I’m a very indecisive person but I knew as soon as I was in a position where I was unhappy or not getting any value out of something, I had to change it before I got miserable. I’ve learned moping won’t do anything about your current position and you're the only person that can do something to change it. I think a lot of people also don’t take the risk of moving abroad out of fear but what’s the worst that can happen? You move back so just do it.
It can get really lonely. London has a population of nearly 9 million people…although it’s 100% possible to be very lonely in the city. I found myself always around people during my first 6 months which made the transition a lot easier for me after leaving a stable support group of friends and family back home. But there were definitely times I found myself feeling so alone in such a big city. I learned to get over it and accept that loneliness is a normal feeling. It's ok to do things on your own - how did it take me 24 years to realise that?! The key is keeping yourself busy and constantly doing things. That and putting effort into meeting new people and maintaining relationships. It can be hard in London but you have to put the time into building relationships no matter how busy/tired/stressed you are.
You become extra independent. Before living abroad, I’ve always lived at home so it was a huge shift having to find my own flat, cook for myself and so on. You really quickly learn how to be self sufficient and figure everything out by yourself because really, you don’t have a choice to rely on anyone else. After living in London especially, I feel like I could tackle living anywhere in the world now.
You’re responsible for your own life. I always get ‘Diana, you’re so lucky. I’m so jealous of your life…You live in London and get to travel loads’. It’s only because that’s what I value so I’ll invest all my time and money into doing it. If you want to live abroad or travel, you can do it…For the most part, anyone can do it. Just save some money, plan a little and get the courage to book the flight. You control most of what happens in your life so if you want something bad enough, just make it happen.
You won’t regret it. Moving abroad has been the best decision I’ve made so far. I’ve met some amazing people, embraced the English culture (which I'm obsessed with), completely immersed myself in one of the liveliest cities in the world and grown personally and professionally. For me, London will always be a massive part of my life - it was my first period of real adulthood! Even if moving abroad doesn’t work out, you always have a good story.
Ok, I need to stop writing before I get too emotional but if living abroad is something you value, go for it and if not, don’t do it. I commend everyone who's brave enough to move away from the security of home though - it’s hard but worth it. Thinking that these are my last couple of months in London makes me very anxious but I know I’ll be back eventually.
See you in 2 months, Canada.