Why did I move to London?
Okay, let’s be honest here. I have no idea.
That certainly sounds a bit odd, you think? I totally understand. Let me tell the story.
I moved to London in April 2016, so just over a year ago. Before that, I had studied for my master’s degree in Durham and had lived there for a year until September 2015. After finishing my degree, I had to move back to Hamburg, because, you know, my rent ended and I had no job lined up and pretty much no money left. So what do you do? You move back home.
At some point during my year in Durham, I believe after the first term (which was three months into the year, I had decided that I wanted to stay in the UK after I finished my degree. Back then, I was planning to work in the Publishing industry, and it was obvious that most jobs in this area would be in London. But I could have just as well worked in that industry back at home, so why did I decide to stay here, away from my friends and family? I want to say because I had better opportunities here, or because I liked living in the UK more than in Germany, but none of these things are true.
I simply decided to live here, because I could. Just for a change of scenery, just because I was bored of having lived in Hamburg all my life until then. I often feel bad for this being the only reason, because I often think that it’s not a good enough reason. I know that my family isn’t happy with me living so far away, especially my mum. She always says that this is not what she imagined when I was a child, she always thought that we will have a strong bond and see each other regularly when I grow up. And we definitely have a strong bond. We just don’t see each other very often.
So because I can never give them what I feel would be a “good enough” reason for living abroad, I often feel a little guilty about it. But that doesn’t change the fact that I really want to live here. Back in Durham, I set my mind on it, and I told myself that I would do it. I wanted to challenge myself and see what it would take to move to London.
The last year has been an ever-changing path of ups and downs and I often found myself thinking: why am I putting myself through this? I could have chosen the easier route, staying in Hamburg, finding a job there, close to family and friends. (And probably in my own flat, without random flatmates, because in Hamburg I could actually afford this. Take note London.)
But that never seemed like an option to me. I decided to leave, without being able to return to my cuddly little comfort zone at the end of every day. It was a conscious decision, and I felt like I knew what I was signing up to. (Even though there was much more to moving abroad than I expected.) Of course, it also helped that, at that time, my boyfriend had moved to London already. Back in Durham, we decided that this was our goal; both of us living in London. But this decision was made much later, long after I had initially decided to stay in the UK. He is definitely one of the main reasons for me living here. But it was rather a factor that reinforced my decision, not prompted it.
So to look back at the question, why do I live in London, maybe this is the answer:
Because I wanted to challenge myself, because I had the opportunity to easily move to a different country and learn about different perspectives, a different way of life.
Because I thought that there is more to life than spending it in one place. Because I was 24 and I thought “now or never”.
Because I could.
Have you ever moved abroad or lived in a different country for some time? Why did you do it? I’m curious to hear about your experiences!