My One Year Anniversary in London

One year ago today, I moved from Chicago to London. Things happened rather quickly once I decided to proceed with the move, but anyone close to me will attest to that fact that this was not an easy decision or one made overnight. In fact, I had been thinking about such a move for years. However, I never went through it earlier as I knew that moving abroad is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of upheaval and no real guarantee that the move will live up to ones expectations — particularly if you are doing it alone.
So to say that this past year has been quite the journey, is an understatement. There have been a few times (mostly when I’m sick or alone) when serious doubt has crept up. In the previous 10 years, I had built up a very comfortable life in Chicago with lots of wonderful friends. However, there have been a lot of other moments, when I look back and affirm that at that time in my life, this was the best decision for me. I was accomplished in Chicago, but I wasn’t happy. I was going through the motions with life and wasn’t really living up to my potential. Plus once I realized that my relationship with Racquetball Guy wasn’t going to work out, I knew I had to make a change. It would have been easier to try and make a change in Chicago, but I didn’t want that. I wanted to do something big and bold. I was tired of playing it safe. Plus for a number of other reasons, the timing was right – one big one was the fact that I work for a company that was willing to help facilitate the move.
So now that I’m here, has it been easy? No! But I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m still in the adjustment phase. And really, had I moved somewhere else in the States, I think I would have had similar challenges. It’s tough moving to a new city where you don’t really know anyone. And as you get older, its tough finding people that you deem worthy to be in your social network. I’m making progress, but it’s very much a work in progress.
So do I regret the move? No! This really was the best thing for me. Yes, I’m still going through some growing pains, and I feel homesick at times, but I know that over time, London will live up to my expectations. In fact, it already has. It’s very multi-cultural and I’ve met lots of wonderful people. Plus it offers insight and access to the rest of the world that I never would have gotten by living in another American city. In addition, I’m getting the opportunity to explore Europe. So far I’ve been to Amsterdam, Prague and my all time favorite so far in Europe, Barcelona!
So would I recommend a move abroad? Yes, but only after careful consideration. Ideally, it’s great if you can find a company to sponsor you, but it’s not impossible to go it alone. Particularly if you’ve got the appropriate funds (ideally about 3 to 6 months living expenses) and already have the immigration/work visa angle worked out.

2 Comments
  1. I moved from Philadelphia to London. My own experience is that it did take longer than a year to really settle in, but it was exciting and enlightening and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for the world.
    I got terribly homesick the second year, I think. But got through that.
    One of the things I appreciated the most was getting out of the American mindset and into the European world view: I was shocked at how the British could laugh at themselves and their country when Americans would balk at any self-parody. And there’s much more of a feeling of sharing borders and getting along.
    Anyways it sounds like you wanted a change. I’m glad you’re enjoying London and be sure and eat out at every opportunity! Expensive, I know, but there are some dives with great food. 😉
    (Got here via All About George, btw.)

  2. Are you still in London? Curious!

Leave a Reply