This week marks two years since I arrived in London. In fact, I actually didn’t make my second anniversary, I came home two months shy of it. I’m back in my native Australia after a big ol’ adventure abroad, a path so many before me have travelled. I really did have the adventure of a life time; I fell in love, I changed careers, I travelled the world, and I truly found self love and balance. So yeah… just a few small minor life tweaks really. Ha!
WHAT I LEARNT
- Australians really are laid back larrikans. That’s not just a stereotype. And I bloody love that about us. There’s nothing like moving abroad to make you appreciate your heritage.
- I learnt about the value of money. I had to go back to square one, and as someone who had gone from parent’s bank account directly into employment – that was foreign to me. Suddenly I was unemployed and worrying about every penny I spent. When I got a full time job again, I was so careful and grateful for every paycheck.
- I learnt about the importance of work life balance. Before I left – I worked. That’s it. It consumed my life. But abroad I worked ‘normal’ hours and touristed and travelled my way across Europe on my weekends. Boy, had I been missing out on life!
- I learnt that no one really cares about what you’re doing. They might judge for a second but then they return to their lives. YOU live with choices, so make ones you want, not ones you think others want for you.
WHAT LONDON DOES BETTER
- Nightlife. Australia is too much of a nanny state. Our liquor laws basically treat us like children. In the UK pubs spill onto sidewalks and they trust their citizens to have a few casual drinks at local parks! In Oz? Well, don’t even try and take a glass anywhere near a door to the outside world.
- Cheap travel. The deals you can get while overseas are seriously amazing. 5 pound return flights to Europe!? Um waaaaaht!
- Moving with the times... Australia only just got Amazon, we are getting excited about the fact we’ll soon be able to use contactless cards on public transport and there are places of Australia that still haven’t got internet…talk about time warp.
- Christmas. I mean I love an Aussie Christmas… but the festive season in London is next level amazing. The lights, the decorations, the markets, the mulled wine. It’s like Santa explodes on the UK come November and it’s bloody brilliant.
WHAT AUSTRALIA DOES BETTER
- Coffee. By the end of my run in London I pretty much didn’t like coffee anymore. I barely had a nice enough one to continue enjoying it as a beverage. So much so, my fellow Aussies and I would go on weekend jaunts to search for Australasian baristas!
- Dating. When I first arrived I went on a few dates with some Brits, and it was bizarre to say the least. They were excruciatingly polite, to the point where you were unsure if they even liked you. So when I went on a date with an Australian and he said ‘I just want to pause this conversation for a second to tell you you’re smoking hot’ I was taken aback, and so relieved. Sometimes you just need the flattery of that Aussie ‘tell it how it is’ trait.
- Lifestyle. The view from my bedroom window in Australia is the actual beach… in London I could see the window of my across road neighbour and basically give you daily commentary on the colour of his boxer shorts. I’m a summer soul, my mood changes depending on the weather – so London just wasn’t my place long term. I love everything about our Aussie way of life… and even though London summer with its 11pm sunsets is glorious, it lasts all of 5 mins.
- Wages. The pay you get in London for the same job in Aus is actually shocking. I have found both cities have a similar cost of living, however Australian wages are nearly double Brits. It’s one of the big pulls to home. London life just isn’t sustainable long term on that money!