Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Making The Decision to Live Abroad Solo

Having the world at my feet at the age of nineteen, I should have been enjoying what life had to offer. Don't get me wrong, I was, but I wasn't exactly satisfied with how it was going and I wasn't sure why. With a Diploma degree recently achieved, I wasn't ready to settle into a full-time job at home (Australia) just yet. So that's when I had to re-consider where my life was heading. That's when I decided to live, work and travel abroad.

I have been asked the same questions thousands of times so I feel as though I should justify why I made the decision to do so. To me, there are three simple reasons. Firstly, I want to gain cultural fashion experiences by working internationally. Secondly, (as cliché as this is) I want to see myself grow for the better and learn to become independent. And what better way of doing that than moving to another country? Thirdly, I've always wanted to travel and see the world and I think by living abroad, you can experience so much more of that. 
Yes leaving family and friends is extremely hard and this may sound selfish, but you have to put yourself first and do what's right for you. If moving or travelling abroad for a long period of time is what you want to do or if it will help you in the future, go for it 100%. You will never regret it. "You have to do what you really really really really want to do, even if it scares the shit out of you." - Kristen Wiig   
As I arrived in London just over one week ago, ready to embark on my one year adventure, i'm yet to completely experience my three reasons. But once I do, you will definitely hear about it. If you're already planning or wanting to move to another country, just do it. It's already the best decision I have made for myself.

1. Why London? I decided to live in London because of two main reasons. London is considered one out of four cities big fashion capitals of the world. As a fashion stylist, I believe finding an opportunity to work or recieve an internship here, to meet and learn from the best of the best fashion influencers and to gain the international fashion culture experiences is a great way to build my career. Secondly, my pop was born in England which meant I could get an ancestry visa to work and live here to up to 5 years. I can also apply to extend that once the 5 years is over. This made applying for a visa and moving here super easy and fast. London is also a great destination as it is literally a 2-4h train ride to Paris, Belgium, Switzerland + more and short planes trips around Europe and just outside Europe. 

2. What If You Don't Like It? Having already travelled to other countries, I sort of knew what I was in for but I had never been to London, so I had no idea if I was going to like it or not. I heard many people say, everyone who goes ends up staying so it made me feel a lot better. Yes the weather isn't as great as Australia, but I don't mind the cold so that wasn't my main worry. Being the travel bug I am, I knew I was going to like it. So far, I am loving it. But moving here wasn't all about liking it or hating it. For me, it's all about the experience.  
3. Are You Afraid? Yes I was afraid, I still am, but I am also extremely excited which overrides thinking about it is as much. Leaving family & friends was the hardest part but you meet new people & thank the lord for technology, you can still see your familiar faces. This is also my first time living out of home, so of course I was terrified as I am learning the do's and the dont's, how to pay bills, learning to budget etc. all on my own. But for anyone thinking about living abroad, it's an exciting learning experience as you're still travelling around a new city. 
4. Where Will You Live? Luckily for me, I moved into a share house that my cousin already lived in so I didn't need to research flats prior to moving. Yes I still need to pay rent, bills and groceries. If you want to live in London, Zoopla and SpareRoom are great websites to find property to rent for yourself or for finding a room in already shared flats. AirBnB is another great site if you wan't to rent a place to stay from local hosts, if you haven't yet found a place to live.  
5. How Will You Live? Isn't It Expensive? Yes living in London is more expensive than other cities. The first thing I made sure I did was budget and save. When you're living solo, budgeting is very important as it helps you with deciding what and how much money is shared between specific categories. I used MoneySmart's Online Budget Planner. I made sure I saved enough money before arriving and you should too as a lot of flats expect a deposit up-front which can be up to two months rent. 
Public transport is great in London so there was no need for me to organise a car. The tube is the most convenient way to travel around the city as it's simple and very frequent. I bought an Oyster Card which is the cheapest way of travelling on the tubes. There are also buses and taxi's so it's not hard to get around here.
When it comes to the groceries, buying food basics such as dairy, meat, fruit & veg weekly/fortnightly is a must. They are my priority when it comes to my budget. With other grocery musts such as cereal, canned or bottled foods (e.g. baked beans) and cleaning products I usually shop at the 99p stores for. It may not be the healthiest but it is the cheapest. I prefer going out and buying food, so I would rather spend as little as possible on the groceries if I can.
If you have any other questions about my big move or living abroad in general, ask me on my tumblr or below and I will answer them for you!

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