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?

 

Survival Instincts

From a young age you always hear the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, and more often than not people will say this to you as a piece of ‘much required’ wisdom.  As much as I accept this phrase about not holding prejudice based on someone’s outward appearance, I do slightly disagree.

Judgment is an inherent quality that our brain feeds with experience. We have established this instinct for survival; the judgments we make are what permit, or prohibit, things to get close to the core of our lives. Moving to a new country, I found myself surrounded with the unknown in things as simple as a phone shop. I spent the first month making choices purely based off harsh judgment and gut feeling.  There were the initial times of pharmaceutical and grocery shopping, I would walk an extra block to shop at a chain-store over a cheapened corner shop. When I was flat hunting, as simply as talking to a person over the phone, I would judge the landlord on the language they used, and immediately accept or decline the idea. For all I know these are the simple judgements that have extended my life, or have caused me to miss out on opportunities.

So what happens when you take a leap of faith and do leave things up to chance? Once I was settled within a house, had a group of friends, and had all standard life requirements organised, I went through a phase of doing spontaneous adventures; going outside of my comfort zone with relation to cafes, experiences and stores. I think the key point here is that because I was successfully living, not only attempting to adapt and survive to this new environment, I didn’t need that safety net of judging everything as heavily as I once had. I remember phone calls home, discussing this exact topic with my parents.  There comes a point where after the judging and hard work has been done, you do need to loosen the reigns of planning, and live life day by day, decision by decision. Sometimes there are positive consequences to veering away from that planned path of judging things critically. This way of living, or leaving life to serendipity, is what makes for a more rounded life. You come across things you may have never knew existed, you may meet people who are destined to be in your life, or find a new passion.

Judgement is something that is I believe to be socially acceptable when you feel that your life or well-being is at risk. I think that we need to make decisions for ourselves based off our intuitions and personal judgements; ultimately we have to live with our own decisions and choices, so we need to be satisfied with them. Nevertheless, don’t forget to give things a chance; we need judgement to survive, but we need spontaneity to live.

Travel V.S. Money

You never realize how isolated New Zealand is until you find yourself in the midst of London.

Being in London, for almost 3 weeks now, I have soon come to realize that London is one multi-cultural location. I moved to England expecting to be the foreigner in my work, in my new home, in general — however that is not the case, I move to the busiest city I have ever encountered, and I work in a store with zero British people. I move to the furthest point from home, and I live with New Zealanders and Australians; it’s funny how the world works isn’t it.

However, what makes me really excited about being in London, is not the beautiful sights – you soon cover the tourist attractions within the first few days – but it’s the travel opportunities. From New Zealand you would have to save a good few months to go anywhere decent, however for under £80 I am off to Prague, Czech Republic, for two days in March [flights + hotel included]. This may seem insignificant to some, but if you were to ask any of my Kiwi family and friends to travel to such an exotic location for that price, they would take that opportunity within a heartbeat.

Before I pressed the ‘BOOK NOW’ button, the only thing holding me back was the money. Even though it’s only £80, all I could think was that those coins could come in useful within the next months… then I remembered that I strongly attempt to live my life by “Just say yes” – which you should have got a grasp on if you’ve followed my blog from the beginning.

What really reinforced this decision to just do it was a prior and interesting conversation with someone the other day. Talking to someone with a fair few years of experience on me, I listened to them.

The basic topic of our conversation was money.

I don’t know how we got onto the subject matter, but it had something to do with my current ventures to find a second job so I can afford my new, independent life whilst still saving money. Since I left high school and from the point where I decided to move here to London, saving was an important thing to me; I had three jobs at one point. We were discussing this, and this said wise owl said they would rather have less money and participate more in life. This (like pretty much everything I hear/see/do in life) got me thinking about the bigger picture – they are so completely and utterly correct. I have never been one to save all my pennies, ask my parents, but being in a new country standing on my own two feet, I have the same feeling of motivation as I did to get here, but now it is the incentive to be able to stay here in a healthy financial state. However he tinged my views on saving ever so slightly; I realized that you have to have balance and sometimes seeing a concert, or going out with friends, is more important than having a few extra quid in the bank account. Now obviously there is a point where saying yes becomes too often. As someone who is self-reliant I know that you do need to be smart with your money, but in my opinion you shouldn’t live out your life and only have white picket fences to show for it. So needless to say, no wonder I said yes to this trip to Prague.

“If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

So try live, and remember that the experience will be worth more than the pounds in your pocket.