Hope everyone enjoyed my posts of my Christmas trip. I had so much fun writing it out. I thought I’d switch this post up a bit and talk a bit about my experience moving to a new country, before moving on for my next travel recap of Bulgaria.
When I first moved to the UK, it was supposed to be for a year and a half, which would’ve been up at the end of February. As I’m not quite ready to leave the UK, I’m currently undergoing the process of applying for an extension to my visa, so I can stay for an additional year. As I’ve been going through this, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting over the past year and a half, and figured I would share my experience.
One thing I’ve found is that sometimes it’s very lonely. I was very lucky back in Canada to be surrounded with an amazing group of friends. I saw them on a regular basis, and had a wide variety of people to hang out with. I had friends to go to yoga classes with, other friends who loved to bake, different friends who were interested in learning about recycling and composting. Sometimes I would be booking my weekend activities 2-3 weeks in advance because I had so many plans.
I had lived in the same city for 9 years, had gone to University there, had a variety of jobs I held throughout, and started my career there. I was far away from my family, but still saw them at least twice a year.
Moving to the UK was a very far move away. It takes a 9 hour flight for me to get home, and my last flight home cost me $1900 round-trip. I was lucky this past summer, and I had quite a few visitors but it’s still not the same. I can’t just call up my friend and go for coffee with her so we can catch-up. Instead, we have to pre-arrange a Skype date and make sure we are both home so we can chat for awhile.
I have struggled to find friendships in the UK. If I’m not away traveling, I’m pretty much always at work. While I do have work friends, I find that we typically only get together for drinks on a Friday night, and generally our main chats are about work. I tried taking a Spanish class to meet friends (as well as learn Spanish) but unfortunately work got really busy for me, so I only made 4 of the 10 classes (and didn’t have any luck making friends).
Therefore, sometimes I really feel lonely and miss the friendships I had back in Canada.
Another thing I have found about moving is that it completely shakes most of what you know about yourself.
Before I moved to the UK, I found that I struggled with what the future held- I had spent a lot of time on my education, but didn’t really like my job. I thought my next steps were going to be opening a yoga studio, moving to a smaller city, and generally living a more relaxed lifestyle.
This felt like a very safe option for me.
Yet, when I moved to the UK, and away from other influences in my life, I realised that this plan of mine didn’t actually sound like how I wanted my future to be. I like to be mentally challenged. I enjoy taking on new and exciting things everyday. Dare I say it, I even enjoy the corporate life.
I realised that I wanted to do something bigger. I wanted to challenge myself and see what kind of changes I could make. I didn’t want to take the job that guaranteed me a 9-5 work day. I wanted to take the job that maybe required a few extra hours, but that made me feel like I was making a difference. I wanted to be able to take nice holidays, and one day if I have children, I want to be able to provide them with opportunities like traveling the world, signing up for activities they’re interested in- all those things that having some money can really help with. This is not to say that I don’t think those things happen with yoga teachers or yoga studio owners- however I realised that it wasn’t the path for me.
I think it’s that moving away made me leave my safety bubble which I had currently lived in, and experience something entirely new. And what I was experiencing outside of that bubble, was something I really enjoyed yet had previously never expected to enjoy.
Moving to the UK also gave me confidence in myself. This is something I’ve struggled with my entire life (and still do, I don’t think it will ever go away entirely). But when you move away from everything you know, start a new job in a different city, it is hard. I didn’t realise how hard until I went through it. But having gone through that struggle, I can see what I can do. I know that I can make it through a difficult time, and it’ll all be ok.
I have probably had more things happen to me in the past 18 months, than in past 5 years before that. I moved to a new country, struggled to establish a new home, went through a break-up, lived in an apartment with mould growing everywhere and a negligent landlord, and then fought with my landlord for my damage deposit back.
That’s just a small sample of what has happened, and having gone through this without my support group nearby meant that I had to learn to be a lot more independent. I do have friends here who helped me through it, but it also meant that I had to learn when to ask for help.
This all made me more confident in who I am. I know that I can make it through a difficult situation, and it’ll be ok.
Finally, moving to the UK has made me very, very grateful for everything I have. I have been able to have so many incredible experiences since moving here. Whether it’s traveling to a new country,
or exploring the country that I live in now
or even just having people to skype with whom I love and I miss. I am so truly lucky to have been able to experience the past year and a half, and I am looking forward to another year.
This next year of my adventure will bring more travel, some of which by myself (as I have fewer visitors planned this year), another trip home to celebrate my wonderful friend’s marriage, and who knows what else.
I would say to anyone who is considering moving: do it! It will be hard, and there will be struggles, but it’s all worth it. At least, it was for me 🙂
Has anyone else ever moved somewhere new? What was your experience like?