730 days and a message for the future migrant

730 days and 730 nights have passed since I boarded the plane to London. Rather than repeating the summaries, the messages of gratitude, and the goals of the coming years, I wanted this blog to be slightly different. I wanted to write a blog which covers some of the lessons I’ve learnt whilst living abroad.

For those without English blood, a visa typically ends after two years. I, however, am lucky enough to have English ancestry and the right to stay longer – just the thought of being kicked out is scary, I have so much more I want to do. This is the case for a lot of antipodeans who travel abroad, right as they finally settle their lives and meet friends for life, it’s ripped out from underfoot.

For those who are hoping to migrate to the UK, or anywhere else in the world, I don’t want that thought to put you off. Moving to London was the best decision I ever made, and even if I only had the past two years, I would still stand by my choice to move. Remember that in life it is very much the same, you can’t not do something because you know it will end. Live in the moment and live for yourself.

If you’re reading this and considering an international move, here are some things I’ve learnt, and some quotes that have found accuracy within my life.

  1. Don’t feel fear in leaving things behind, because if it’s meant to be in your life, said thing will find a way no matter where you are.
  2. Age is but a number. At high school I had a very small, select group of friends; people I’d grown up with, either from an early age or the earlier years of college. We had birthdays within months of each other, and that was that. Once I moved to London, I began meeting people and making friendships based on conversation, laughter, and personality. In a lot of these cases, it wasn’t until we had hung out several times that the age difference came out. In some cases the age gap nears 10 years but they are absolute true friends – I’ve shared some of the best days of my life with these people.
  3. “Everything works out in the end”, “Everything happens for a reason”. These are two quotes that I’m sure many people will think are cheesy, or absolute nonsense. I’m here to tell you, I wholeheartedly believe in these simple sentences.  Enough said.
  4. “What’s the worse that can happen?”. When you find yourself in what you believe to be the ‘worst of the worse’ situations, ask yourself this question. If you get fired, something you own gets stolen, you made a fool of yourself at the staff party (believe me I’ve been there), what is the worse that can happen? You find a new job, you earn money to replace it, you strut into work the next day owning that glorious hangover glam. It’s never as bad as it seems. Never forget that.
  5. Technology makes the earth smaller. With modern society comes FaceTime, Instagram, Facebook and all of the other wonderful social mediums. A lot of people believe these sites to be detrimental to our social lives – pulling us away from real interactions – but in reality, for the modern day migrant, the internet closes the international gap. FaceTime has made my move a breeze, because of it I’ve been able to talk to my parents in an instant. Don’t get me started on Instagram, I love that shit.
  6. Save, save, save. If you decide to move to a city, such as London like myself, you’ll soon realise it’s not as cheap as one would hope. When I first moved, I had a lot of savings stashed away, and it was too easy to spend when I arrived. “Oh I’ve made it, I can treat myself” is a bad attitude, learn from my mistake. It’s not that I went out buying rounds for the entire pub, but I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. Money isn’t everything of course, nevertheless it sure does make your life more exciting.
  7. Aspire to Inspire. As my favourite quote, it doubles as a mantra for my life. I lose sight of it somedays, like anything, but I believe I should be living my life aspiring to inspire others. Working towards making a difference somewhere in someone. If we live this way, we become mindful, true to ourselves and find ourselves spending our time wisely.
  8. Be yourself. Try and see moving across the world as a fresh start and a way to stop trying. Being a teenager can encourage being fake and lying to not only your friends but yourself. Be true to yourself, and you will attract people who (as cheesy as it sounds) love you for you.
  9. Don’t put pressure on yourself to grow up. I definitely fell into this trap, in fact not until recently did I climb my way out. There’s this misconception that success is wealth and talent, and that to be victorious you have to start young.  In London, I am constantly surrounded by wealth and talent that I began to doubt my own progress in life; that because I’m 20, I need to be getting onto the path leading to a career, earning some money – some real respect. It took me two whole years of adulthood, of paying bills, of working full-time, of living in London to get completely over this idea. I fully realised that I want to write and I want to travel. So I’m working in a pub so I can do this. Life is too short for stress, friends. Don’t forget point 3.
  10. Trust your gut. It’s as simple as that, don’t do anything if it doesn’t feel right.

I’m gonna finish this blog off by saying that these past two years have been the best. I love London, I love living here, I love my life here, and I love travelling. I love living with a sense of adventure. I encourage anyone and everyone to do the same.

Happy two year anniversary London, same time next year, yeah?

 

Disappointment

Disappointment is an interesting thing. This is a blog I wrote exactly 73 weeks ago and I feel that now is a better time than any to post it.

I was having a conversation with an elderly man and he said something I could strongly agree with.

“Disappointment is the one emotion you can’t hide”

In the past I’ve found myself in a little pool of anxiousness and exhaustion on many occasions and, like this man said, I wouldn’t be able to hide it and people would instantly question it. Starting this post I’m sure you thought I was going to mention something like being stood-up, or ordering at a restaurant and the final dish being far from expectations, but no; this is more about me disappointing others. I am extremely proud of who I am, what I am doing, and where I’ve came from, but since moving here, and a few months before, I have found myself trying to deal with anxiety in situations. When things become overwhelming, I do panic, but more so, I overthink situations to the point I create unrealistic opinions of others. When I say this, I mean I convince myself into thinking that people are displeased, or perceive me a certain way when they don’t.

Lately I’ve been trying to think about why this happens. We all must get this feeling, and surely there is a reason behind it. I am a happy person, I am surrounded by beautiful souls near and far, and I’m healthy; all of which make me a grateful human being. When I live in the present, I am happy – but I find myself looking forward, looking back, and these nauseating motions are the things that I can’t deal with. I have such high expectations of myself, I always have; I want to be successful at life.

I met up with a friend of mine. It was eye-opening. We talked about passions, life, stories we’d heard, family, friends, and future plans. We all grow up and go through phases of questioning our passions, finding ourselves in moments of worry, and manipulate disappointment to self-convince that our lives aren’t quite right.

I constantly say I am 19 years old, almost 20, and that “I can’t wait to be at an age when I’m not seen as a child”. But you know what? I’m 19 years young, I’m going through a hell of an adventure, and I will stress, cry, miss people, laugh, smile and dance. I love this adventure, and being sporadically anxious only makes me appreciate achievement that much more. I am so young, and I have so many years ahead of me for success. Right now I need to live, make mistakes, strive but always know that I shouldn’t worry what people think because this is me. I am going to do everything in my power to achieve my goals, because my heart is full of passion to be injected into the things I love. Family, friends, writing, adventure will always find a place in my life.

I am Paige Bolland, 19 years young, and if anything brings me down I’ll flick it out of my life like the crumbs I find on my desk after nights spent writing.

“She believed she could, so she did.”

After finding this blog in my dusty folder of drafts, I decided to post this even though it’s months old. Since the New Year I have been consciously aware of putting my thoughts in check and living in the moment. My 20th birthday is in 3 weeks, I’ll still be young, and I’ll still have the same passion to strive. As long as I’m not turning up late to a meeting with someone. As long as I’m doing my best, any vibes of disappointment I get from people are insignificant.