Making the decision to leave the UK

Green Park, London. Copyright Ngaire Ackerley, 2013

Green Park, London.

Making the decision to leave the UK is probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make so far in my life. I’ve lived here for almost 5 years and as my visa comes to an end in October, I had to start thinking about whether I would renew it and go down the passport route in the coming years or if I would leave the UK.

I won’t lie, I’ve had a serious love-hate relationship with London over the years, but the most important thing in the last few years has been the friends that I have made here. I became involved in rugby teams (before getting injured), blogging events, twitter meetups, events held by the New Zealand Society and doing photography for the New Zealand Business Womens Network, I’ve even taken on co-organising the WordPress London Meetup Group with over 1400 members! From all this I’ve met some incredible people and made lasting friendships, so how could I leave?

The incredible venue at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London

The incredible venue at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London at the New Zealand Business Womens Network 5th Birthday

Ngaire and Gorillas

Me with the Amahoro Group of Gorillas in Rwanda’s Mountains.

I’ve travelled Europe extensively and even managed to visit Africa and the USA. Living in the UK makes travel opportunities so accessible! Yet, in the last few years Europe hasn’t been wowing me as much as it used to. After visiting places like Bosnia and Africa I became eager to have new ‘different’ travel experiences.

I won’t go into the reasons why I can’t always love London, I’ll just say the lifestyle has worn on me and I’ve never really gotten used to it. I’ve never really gotten used to the darkness and winters either.

So getting back to my decision.

A year ago I knew this was coming up and I kept toying with the idea of staying or going (back to NZ). I started saving because I knew either way it would cost a lot of money, whatever decision I made. But then, I started worrying about whether my decision was going to be the right one. Talking to people didn’t help; it just confused me even more. This had to be ‘my’ decision. Then while I was travelling in the USA late last year, the worry and stress got too me too much and made me ill while travelling. Less be said, I had to make a decision soon and stick to it.

Being the OCD organized person that I am, I decided to write a pro/con list of London vs. NZ/AU. I soon found out that working as a WordPress Web Designer/Developer meant there was more work in Australia than New Zealand. So I started comparing costs and lifestyle between Australia and London. The decision was pretty tight and a little thing kept on tugging at the back of my mind saying I want to travel Africa more and see more of the world.

So, I decided I would leave the UK when my visa was up.

Then I found a volunteering opportunity in Namibia and decided I’d leave two weeks before my visa is up.

Decision was made and the first flight had to be booked before I could change my mind (which I probably would have within a few weeks again).

My favourite spot: Mt. Maunganui

My favourite spot in NZ: Mt. Maunganui (you can walk around the base or up to the top)

I haven’t set firmly on moving to Australia yet. Instead, I’m giving myself 8 months to volunteer, travel and experience life on a few different continents. Once I reach New Zealand next June, I’ll decide what my next steps are. Whether they are housesitting around New Zealand to see more of my own country, freelancing or throwing myself into writing and photography. Or, it might be that I do move to Australia to work as a WordPress Web Designer/Developer or get another visa and return to the UK. Or it could be none of these. I’m keeping my options open.

All I know is it is time for a change from London. You only live once and I know I have to make each day count. The world is such a big place and I feel I need to see more of it. I need to experience other peoples way of life. I need to understand more about helping people and wildlife around the world. My travelling won’t ever end, I know I will continue to feel the need to see and experience more cultures, wildlife and incredible wonders that the world offers. But these next 8 months will be the chance for a ‘dream’ trip of sorts.

I would like to thank everyone who has made my time in London an amazing experience. I don’t think you’ll ever know how much it’s meant to me. I have friends all over the globe now, many of which I hold dear to my heart. I hope we’ll keep in touch.

Stay tuned in the coming days/weeks as I share my plans leading up to leaving on October 18th.