Can you believe it’s been a year since I made the traditional Australian rite of passage by moving to London? Because I sure can’t.
Time flies when you’re having fun…And the frantic flight of time is so noticeable when you’re living on borrowed time. Back in Australia, I would not bat an eyelid at the realisation another year had passed while I wasn’t looking. When you’ve only got 2 years in a place, the pressure to achieve everything you’ve dreamed of is on.
With just a year left on my visa, there’s still so much I want to do in Europe that it’s honestly a bit overwhelming. Every week I seem to get in a flap about how I don’t feel like I’m doing enough or seeing enough, when in reality I’ve crammed more into this year than any other year of my life.
And it’s honestly been the best decision I’ve ever made. But for now, instead of stressing myself out over the very long list of things left to do, I will reflect on everything I have done in the 12 months I’ve been in London.
I’ve seen more of the world in the last 12 month than I’ve seen in the last 12 years, and that’s exciting, and the entire reason we come here.
I’ve been to a beer festival in Augsburg, Germany and taken cooking lessons in Florence, Italy. I’ve travelled by myself for the first time in Belgium, including my first ever stay in a hostel. I also trusted a male AirBnb host, against my better instincts, to leave me alone while I slept in his room and he slept in his absent children’s bunk bed. Although he was a bit strange, and his apartment smelt of fish, I was just grateful that he ultimately did leave me alone.
My Australian boyfriend joined me after six months and we dove straight into living together and travelling together. We visited Amsterdam, somewhere neither of us had been before and immediately began to imagine continuing our European life there. It wasn’t long after this I realised I needed to get back into blogging, and really document my life – because even if it’s something no one else is interested in, I need to look back on it and be proud of it.
I got a new tattoo in Manchester, and had a taster of old school college towns (and old school sexism) in Cambridge, where my boyfriend immediately began to imagine continuing his academic life there. I faced bankruptcy in beautiful Oslo, Norway and farewelled my 27th year on earth in Lanzarote. That’s 8 holidays in 12 months – not great, but not bad either. There’s so much more detail I could go into, but then this would end up a much longer post than I intended.
I think there’s a trend among bloggers, and travel bloggers in particular, to only show the glamorous side of life abroad. But I don’t think it’s a stretch for anyone to imagine that it’s harder than anyone would like to admit. Just yesterday, my boyfriend and I were sitting on the green by the River Thames, just a short walk from our house, drinking cans of gin while we enjoyed the last of the day’s sunshine. Instead of reflecting on how lucky it was I could do that, I found myself staring at a large group of friends sitting near us with a large basket of alcohol, revelling in the familiarity you only get from having done this a thousand times before. That’s something we don’t get to enjoy so much anymore; familiarity. Routine is one thing, and I’ve certainly got that. It’s amazing how quickly you wind up back in a routine that seems monotonous and repetitive even while in a completely unfamiliar place. Full time work will do that to you, I guess – and the more I live it, the more I think that it’s not really for me.
As a result, I realised I’ve only been giving you all pretty brief and stylised snapshots of my life that is largely when I need to rant about something or I’ve gone on a trip. For the next year of my life as an expat I want to involve you more. I want to give you all a better idea of what it’s really like: Because it’s not all sunshine and daisies and prosecco on the deck. Whether the story I have to tell is just about how incredibly boring my week was, I’ll tell it, because it’s real and it’s important to me that I tell you real things.
So buckle up for a hell of a lot more over-sharing.