This week I'm happy to introduce Jade from the blog An Invisible Crown for the next installment of the Perspective Series. This is a series about expats sharing their experience of living and traveling abroad and how it inevitably changed their outlook and perspective on life.
Hello, Lost in Travel readers! I'd really like to begin by thanking Chelsea for allowing me to participate in her fabulous Perspective Series. This is my first ever guest post on another blog, so I really hope you all enjoy reading about my experience of being an Australian in London.
When I was finishing high school, a lot of my school friends were planning to take a gap year in various parts of the world. London, of course, was the most popular for this large bunch of Aussie teenagers. I had previously travelled to Singapore as a child and loved it but had absolutely no interest in living in a whole different country. I was an Aussie chick, I loved Australia! About a year later, at nineteen, I met my to-be husband, G. G was born in Australia to English immigrant parents and spent the formative years of his childhood travelling between Sydney & London. After university in Australia, he moved back to London and spent two years working hard and travelling even harder. He finally came back to Australia in 2002 and we met soon after his return.
G & I got engaged and planned to move to the UK in the beginning of 2004. We booked our flights and packed our bags and even planned a side trip to Phuket to start off our new adventure with a blast of sunshine before we hit the bleak winter in London. A few months before we were due to leave, after a lot of discussion and soul searching between the two of us, G decided that he wanted to pursue a new direction in life and decided to apply for a University degree. After another three years of living in Sydney, we got married and finally started re-planning our move to London. G graduated in the second week of June 2007 and on 30th June, we were flying to London.
After almost seven years in London, I can look back and reminisce and living in London is one of my favourite topics to write about. We never came here with firm plans on a time line of how long we would stay and I never expected to experience the huge amount of emotions I experienced in the first year of living overseas. I suffered from terrible homesickness for a few months and slowly got used to a life where I couldn't just drive around the corner to visit my Nan or book a flight for the next day to visit my parents. In hindsight, that has probably been the worst experience for me as an expat. However, on the other side, there were so many exciting things happening at the same time. We travelled a lot in our first two years – visiting Spain, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia & the USA. I made new friends quite quickly, work is always good for that, especially if you work in an industry like I do that places a lot of importance on social networking and close, friendly working relationships.
I used to think that Australia and the UK were quite similar but they aren't. I think Australia has become very Americanised (not that that's a bad thing – I would LOVE to live in the States one day) and the UK is so much more multicultural than Australia is. The UK also has a massive pub culture and I quite look forward to meeting friends for a glass of wine or a pint of cider and a good old gossip. I would never have done that in Sydney, we meet friends at their homes or at the shops – pubs are strictly a weekend thing, if at all. However, Australia has that glorious weather that I desperately miss and as I sit here writing, I look out the window at the fifth day of rain in a row and the nth day in a row of a cold, grey sky and I just dream of sitting in my backyard in Sydney, sipping a cold drink and enjoying the sunshine. (Luckily, in a month's time or so, I'll be able to hop on a flight and in two hours, be in Spain where I get all that sunshine as well as some seriously awesome food and a chance to practice my really bad Spanish!)
In 2011, I lost my contract with the company I was working for due to the recession and I decided to go back to Australia for a few months on my own to visit with family and friends. I was really shocked how much both Australia and I had changed in the last few years. Australia was getting really expensive and without having a job, I lived a pretty limited life at my parents house. When I flew back to London in the beginning of 2012, it really hit me now that we may never actually go back “home” - either that or we would consider moving out there to retire, because Australia isn't really home for us any more.
Since moving to London, we have adopted a dog, bought a house and travelled the world and honestly, I can't see us doing this anywhere else. I'm not sure what life has in store for myself or my husband and I may be eating my words this time next year, month or decade but for now, I'm going with the flow and calling myself a Londoner.
If I've managed to keep you reading to all of the way down here, thank you so much for your support and I'd love to see you at my blog, An Invisible Crown, where I share bits and bobs about my life, including travel stories, photos & general bloggy fodder!
Thanks so much for writing Jade! Be sure to stop by her blog and show her some love!