More and more Australians are choosing to leave our family and friends for a chance at living in the UK, particularly London. There’s a lot of perks with this such as easy access to a two-year working visa, flights to London being cheaper than ever, LOTS of shortages in key industries such as education and close proximity to Europe.
Even though I had looked into the possibility at the end of my degree, I never thought I would be one of those brave enough to leave everything and everyone they know to go to the other side of the world alone. But I did, and it has been the greatest, most challenging time of my life so far. In my time living the UK and travelling around Europe I have learnt many things such as:
You are stronger than you think
One year into my journey I constantly hear “you are so brave, I could never do that” when I talk about my current situation. Now it’s exciting to travel by myself but two years ago I would have been on the other end of the conversation. If I can, you can too!
The people you meet travelling will change you for the better
I still consider myself to be a shy, socially awkward person around strangers, let alone around anyone I’m interested in. However, meeting people from all walks of life and getting to know them makes you more confident, more knowledgeable and more accepting. I now have friends all over the world with various different jobs, religions and political views,
There are Australians everywhere
For a country with so few people in comparison to other world populations, we sure do get around! Whether it’s in a pod hostel in Reykjavik or a sidewalk in Cinque Terre, chances are you’ll find an Aussie (or our neighbouring Kiwis) somewhere close by. In London, I know more Aussies than British people! Reminders of home are never too far away.
Confidence is key
I still consider myself a shy and socially awkward person to strangers, especially ones I’m attracted to. However, if I had not faked confidence on many times in my first few weeks in London and Europe, I wouldn’t have the support network that I have today. Fake it till you make it! Go up to that group of girls and ask if you can sit down. Go to the events purposely created for making friends. You will feel awkward when you arrive but you’ll only regret not taking that chance.
You only regret the travel you didn’t take
Yes, there are sticky situations in almost every trip overseas. But then there are the friendships you make with people all over the world, the Contiki day songs that will make you smile years later, the pictures that will light up your Instagram feed for months to come and the memories you will have for a lifetime.
Fat, poor but happy
On my first (of many) Contiki trips after I moved over, our trip manager said this statement many times. Yes, I’ve had worried conversations about finances and getting out my stretchy pants, but I’ve never been so happy in my life. Take a chance on what you think will make you happy. Happiness is all that matters in the end.