It’s been a few months since writing on the blog and the reason behind that was I decided to take a bit of a break from it while I figured out life here in London as a new expat. I was feeling unmotivated, had writer’s block and was questioning my direction with the blog. After a few months away from this space, I feel recharged, refreshed and ready to share expat and travel tips once again. My goal with the blog to begin with was to inspire and I somehow lost sight of that. Sometimes we need to step away to realise our focus. And my focus with the blog is still that, to inspire. Inspire you to travel, move abroad and live the expat life if its something you want to try. After living abroad four times, I can honestly say it adds so much richness and experience to life. So if I can even inspire one person to do it or help someone in away way than my job has been done.
Getting more Real
I also want to be more real and honest on this blog and not just write about travels and expat life like its all easy and there is no hardship that comes along with it. Let me tell you it can be extremely tough at times. Some of those who know me well, know that I deal with anxiety and once in a while it gets triggered. To put it this way one day it can feel like I know my direction and trust exactly in where I’m headed and what I’m doing and the next can feel like an internal freak out of intense worry, feelings of uneasiness and a potential lingering panic attack. Super fun. Relatable anyone?
Luckily I have learned what it is and learned better ways to handle it over the years. Unfortunately this is something a lot of us can struggle with and Its scary putting it out there but I want to share more about it as I think it’s extremely important to talk about. The first few months in London brought on a lot of anxiety while waiting for my job to start and almost thought I was going to have to move back to Canada. More on that below.
Living Abroad Can Trigger Anxiety
Living abroad can bring on anxiety in major ways as well. And if you are someone who deals with anxiety it can be quite challenging at times. Being away from family and friends, feeling like you are alone, having to be there for yourself all the time and rely on yourself can feel scary. But it also makes you a stronger person and well equipped for stressful situations. Starting over in a new country can be really hard for some and London started off as one of those places.
Holding On To Old Fears
In 2011 I moved to London and spent three months living here. It was meant to be two years but I ran out of money pretty fast and had to move home. Coming back out here again I swore to myself that would not happen for a second time. It was the fear of failure that had stayed with me and started to show its face once again. And low and behold it almost did happen again. London can be one tough place to get set-up let me tell you. There are some people who have a seamless experience and then there are those with experiences like mine.
The Start of Expat Life in London
Rewind to August 2019 when I moved out here. I had saved all year, paid for my Ancestry Visa and had enough to get set-up with a flat, find a job plus go on a mini holiday. I had saved for all that and thought I had planned it out perfectly.
It took one month to find a job which is actually not bad in London. I even had two job offers in my field as an event planner and felt pretty great having two options. I took an offer and knew I’d be starting in a few weeks after my background checks came through. They assured me it shouldn’t be more than three weeks. So the minute the offer was confirmed I booked a ticket to Portugal where I did a 10 day solo road trip. I was feeling on top of the world.
Two Months Waiting For a Job to Start
What I thought was going to be a few weeks to starting my job turned into two months. Two long painful months of not knowing when the first pay check would come. And after living in a hostel for two months, spending money on my trip to Portugal and putting down my deposit and paying rent in my flat, funds were looking pretty grim. I was terrified, anxious and had no idea when my I would start my job. The problem was my background checks were taking ages to come through as they had to verify all the countries I had previously lived in over the last three years (Australia, New Zealand and Canada). I didn’t know what to do. Hours were spent following up, sending in as much information as possible which involved hostel bookings, car rental documents from the road trip in Australia, rental agreements for the apartment in New Zealand, emails showing I had worked at the places I said I did. Anything I could think of to speed up the pace. And some of my checks were even being delayed due to the tragic Australian wildfires.
During the time of waiting, I started to look for other jobs and picked up temp work where I could. It’s a tricky situation to be in because you could get a call at anytime saying the checks were completed and start the next day. It almost felt like a joke. How could waiting for a job to start take so long? How do people go through this? The sad thing is this is actually more common than not here. I have met a few people who have had similar experiences.
Good News Finally Came
Finally after those two long, painful, anxious months I got the phone call that the checks were through. It was a glorious day let me tell you!
Then comes the next fun part of having to wait a whole month to get a first pay check. I mean after four months, what’s one more right? The first one came just in time for holidays. Merry Christmas!
It Does Get Better
Fast forward now, I’ve been working for three months and replenishing the savings and I get to travel again! Travel is the whole reason I decided to live the expat life in London. You can easily travel to any part of Europe and pretty much the rest of the world. London is so well connected. It took six months to feel like I’m finally starting to get settled and although it was a rough start, I don’t regret any of the choices I made. I’ve still had some amazing experiences being aside from the job part. London you didn’t beat me this time, I’m staying a while 🙂
Since moving to London there have also been so many positives which completely outweigh the beginning and I feel so grateful to be here. I’ve met some amazing people, formed new friendships, became a stronger version of myself, added a new country to my travel list and grown as a person. I think travel and living abroad can teach you so much about yourself and I can tell you I have learned a lot about myself in the past few years abroad.
So with that being said I’m back at it here and will keep on writing with the hope to inspire you to travel and live the expat life if it’s a dream of yours.