I'll start of by saying London isn't for everyone. Most people are appalled at how expensive it is (£3 for a flat white?!), some can't deal with the lack of fresh air and others just aren't cut out for the busy life. But nevertheless, millions of people flock to the capital city each year. It's been over four years since I took the leap to move to the big city of London... am I a certified Londoner yet? I've had my ups and downs, but most of all, learnt a hell of a lot on the way. In the post I'll be chatting all about my experiences and the things you need to know about living in London.
1. Dreaming big isn't big enough
When I look back, moving my life to London at the age of 18 to start a degree in Fashion was a pretty bold move. I didn't know a soul, I didn't really have a clue about life and had only visited the city briefly once or twice before. But I've truly embraced it all and never really looked back.. but I believe that all comes down to always dreaming big and being focussed on an end goal. There's always going to be competitive people around you but as long as your focussed on your journey and work HELLA hard, the rest will fall into place. Be prepared for setbacks and don't expect anything to be handed to you. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
Like a lot of large cities, London can be a pretty anonymous place. Being from the North where you say hello to everyone in the street and even say thank you to the bus driver when getting off, London is a pretty big adjustment. For me, moving to London for university meant being thrown into a situation where everyone was in the same boat and I have been lucky enough to meet really great friends on my course who I've gone on to live with. Being away from my family for 99% of the year makes me value my friendships so much. My friends are my family in London and these people often know you better than you know yourself.
3. By all means be spontaneous - but planning ahead and researching is key!
You'd think throughout my time living in a city I'd have learnt this one by now - but sometimes even the best made plans can fall through without researching ahead of time. My friend and I were going for dinner in Shoreditch on a Tuesday evening and I hadn't booked but had a few places in mind. An hour and a half later after walking around what felt like the whole of East London and being rejected for a walk-in table by around nine restaurants, I was so bloody hangry! Always book ahead kids! The same can be said for travel in London as there is always delays or closures popping up at the worst of times. I religiously use the Citymapper app and have notifications set to my location so I can always avoid delays.
4. Hustle and budget well
One of the biggest things I noticed when I moved to London, is how much more it cost to live. Everything from dining and drinking out, to going to the cinema and food shopping is guaranteed to be a lot more than the rest of the country. And there is more temptation to spend money too, shops on every street and a Starbucks on every corner, I'm always finding myself spending unnecessarily. And of course, you've got the extortionate rent too which is painfully higher than any other city in the UK. I find it helpful to factor in and plan my spending by week. This often means making a packed lunch most days and selling my unwanted clothes on eBay to get by - but its the price you pay to live the London life!
5. And finally... Never look back.
Moving to a new city can be hella scary, but I feel like my best tip is to embrace it and not look back. It's important to take every opportunity your given and not take anything for granted as it could be gone tomorrow. Don't dwell on what you might have left behind and how easier life would have been if you were still in your small town, but instead live for the excitement and to make something of your life.
If you have any questions about moving to London, feel free to drop my a tweet @helloomonica!