Expat living from a Kiwi in London
Exceedingly amazing travel experiences. Europe, Africa, America and Asia just to begin with. Being an Expat has allowed me so many incredible moments in my life. Could it be for you?
As part of an Expat Link Up, I’ve decided to share a little bit about being an expat to help anyone considering it figure out if it’s for them.
Why did I become an Expat and move to London back in 2010?
I’d always wanted to travel when I’d seen my sister working on cruise ships and travelling to all these amazing places as I grew up in little ol’ New Zealand. In 2008 I jumped at a scholarship opportunity to do postgraduate study in Austria for close to 6 months. My thesis was on ‘Narratives in Still Photography without Text’, which meant it gave me an excellent excuse to travel around Europe taking photographs. This is where my passion for travel began and it only grew from there. I finished my degree, got a bit of industry experience and saved as much as I could before returning in 2010, basing myself in London this time.
Has it been what you expected?
I’m not sure what I expected of London and being an expat. The travel opportunities have exceeded my expectations. I never thought I would see so much of the world while holding down a permanent full-time job. The trick has always been to make the most of public holidays and match them up with the odd day of annual leave and saving big time. Finding ways of travelling cheap as a solo person has also helped.
London itself. Well anyone that knows me, understands that I have a love-hate relationship with the city. I love that there is always something to do, the green parks, that Europe is on your doorstep and that I’ve come to have some really great friends.
The word ‘hate’ is a horrible word, but the things I ‘dislike’ about London I’ve been trying to learn to accept. It’s a big city, as with any big city there will be a lot of rude and weird people around, it will be dirty and people will litter. Transport can be trying at times and the custom service is something else. But I can’t change who these people are or what they do, I learnt that I just need to focus on what I am doing and think happy thoughts.
I think London surprised me initially, when the weather wasn’t as bad as I expected (I arrived in spring). People have this belief that London is just grey and miserable, but that is because we always complain when the weather is bad and not as often when it’s a lovely sunny day. That being said, the darkness of winter did surprise me and that is one of the worst things about living in this part of the world. 4 years on and I still can’t handle leaving home in the morning in darkness and returning home in the evening in darkness.
What did you consider/wish you had considered before you moved?
Making friends. You don’t really think about this when you’ve grown up with a group of good mates and studied with a group of like-minded people at University too. When you move somewhere completely new and know almost no one, you have to make an effort to make friends. I wish I’d joined a sports group sooner, I wish I’d started blogging and going to blog-related/social media events and NZ events much sooner. It would have made life a lot happier in my first few years in London, rather than just focussing on making the most of my time, even if I am alone. However, that being said, those first few years were big travel years for me, so while the expat London lifestyle may not have been the best, the travelling was incredible.
Three tips to help someone figure out if the big move is for them.
- If you love to travel, save, save, save and try to land a decent job to pay for your travels.
- Get out and meet people straight away (learn to say ‘Yes’), plus find the balance of saving for travel vs. social life spending.
- Be aware that London is a big city, if you come from a small city there will be adjustments in your lifestyle, just be prepared to deal with them and focus on what you came here to do.