Well this is it, I’ve reached the half way mark of my 2 years in the Uk. Honestly, starting out on this adventure, I did not expect to make it to this point. I feel like this is a big achievement in my life, living and surviving (because there are definitely days were its more about simply surviving the day then it is about actually living) 365 days abroad. There are many reasons why I did manage to make it this far. Some of those reasons are because of certain people, some of those reasons are the need to continue ticking off experiences and places on my ever growing list.
I’d never fully realised how much could happen and change and be crammed into just one year. I’ve shed so many tears, so frequently, in my first 12 months of living over here. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much before in my life. London you break my heart and I’d honestly never have it any other way. I’ve discovered that living abroad, on the other side of the world to everyone you’ve ever known, means the highs and lows of every day life become amplified. Good days can be great, absolutely fantastic even, totally can’t believe I’m living the London life, meeting awesome people and doing all these different, exciting things. Then there’s the bad days where even if it’s only a small thing to set me off all of a sudden it’s the end of the world. It feels like I haven’t slept in weeks and nothing seems to be working out and I’m barely holding it together. I then have to remind myself that I have an amazing support group both here and back home. There have been so many times when something major has happened and I’ve become so close to throwing it all in and getting the next flight home. The many awesome Aussies and Kiwis I’ve met both in London and whilst traveling have reminded me of why I’m here doing this and pushed for me to stick out, see the 2 years through, which is exactly what I plan to do.
Work the past few months has been one of the biggest challenges for me whilst living over here, both physically and mentally, but I’ve managed to push through. It helps having a trip booked, a new country to explore, every month to keep me motivated to show up each and every day. I’ve learnt new skills and have also come to understand myself better as a person. This job has taught me what works best for myself and what doesn’t. I’ve worked with a great team of people, all with a variety of personalities and from a variety of countries which makes each shift an interesting one as well all have come together to get the job done. Despite working many long hours I’m still broke. This is the brokest I’ve ever been my whole life. I’ve been weeks out from pay day and have had less then 100 quid to my name. I still wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather have next to nothing in my wallet and have all the experiences I’ve been having the past year. One day I’ll look back at this crazy chapter in my life and I know I’ll regret nothing because it has all helped me grow and become a more resilient and resourceful person.
In my 6 month post I mentioned the beast from the east and the coldest winter I’d ever experience, well it’s now coming to the end of summer and It’s safe to say, with a lot of complaining, I survived the London heatwave of 2018. Survived it despite the lack of aircon (or even a fan-Argos and Amazon both being out of stock). London in the summer is not a comfortable place.
At the start of summer I finally moved out of the Hostel in Notting Hill into a flat with some Aussie and Kiwi girls in Ladbroke Grove. From one end of Portobello Road to the other. I feel so much more settled here in the flat. It’s great having a kitchen and my own space and I live with great girls who are always up for a chat or drink whilst cooking dinner in our tiny kitchen! I spent my days off riding along the canal behind my flat to grassy spots and sun baking by the water with a good book and some tunes. I spent lovely warm evenings drinking and picnicking in London’s various parks with friends and many warm nights out and about in the city meeting new people. Because I spent most of the past 6 months working and traveling I didn’t go on as many day trips as I had when I first moved over but managed to fit in a few such as hiking in Hastings, along cliff tops over looking the sea. It was a grey, misty and muddy day. I finally ventured up to Stratford-Upon-Avon, a pretty, little town that’s been on my list for 2 years. It was another grey and drizzly day but I still managed to get out and wander around. I’ll definitely be going back while the weather is still decent. I chased deer in Richmond park, avoided getting stung by the hundreds of bee’s at Mayfield Lavender Farm and experience the craziness that is the Notting Hill Carnival, which happened to fall on my 1 year anniversary of arriving in London. Perfect way to celebrate- drinking with friends on our balcony as the parade went by on the street below. It resulted in a couple of sleepless nights due to all the music and partying going on in our area over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
In one year I have lived in 3 different places, 4 different rooms. I’ve shared a room the entire time, something I haven’t had to do in a very long time, with almost 20 different girls from all over the world.
1 year = 25 Flights, 12 countries, countless cities, hostels, hotels, cabins and so many amazing people met along the way. I’ve travelled via train, plane and bus and even boat, covering many, many miles, through so many different landscapes. I’ve witnessed and experienced a variety of cultures, tried new foods, drunk different drinks. Thousands of photos have been taken, a million memories have been made.
Isn’t it crazy how much a year can do?! I started this journey thinking I wanted life to go a certain way and after a year it’s changed into something else. I would never have thought my life would go this way a year ago. It gives me hope. If I’m ever feeling down, I remind myself that life is full of surprises and I’m almost certain that a year from now, possibly even less, I could be living life even differently from now.
The first day of year 2 in the UK involved starting a new job. A fresh set of 365 days to travel more miles, learn new things, go on more adventures, meet great new people and live a life a I once thought not possible!