Moving abroad is something me and Dave had often talked about, although for a long time I saw it as a ‘some day’ kind of situation. I spent twelve years living in London, And had happily come to think of it as my home.
London was my dream growing up, I remember the first time my mum took my and my sister to Portabello Road to the weekend markets, and after watching Disneys Bed Knobs and Broomsticks countless times as a child, Portobello in real life was even more wonderful than I could have imagined. London was pure magic to me, and needless to say, most birthdays meant a trip to London for the day, we’d see a show, I think star light express was my favorite, eat at Hard Rock Cafe, and just wander around the city.
From the very first time I went there, probably 11 years old, I knew that was where I wanted to live. Forward several years later and I found myself at the London college of fashion studying makeup, later assisting and then building my own career in the fashion industry.
At 23 I met my husband Dave. He was just like me, from the countryside, and had moved to the big city, wanting something more, more adventure, more culture and to be surrounded with other creatives.
We lived in north London and east London during our early years together and later bought our first flat together in East London.
I think your twenties are such defining years in what you experience emotionally and physically, and London was a huge part of that for me. During my twenties and living in London, I found friendship with people that have played a key part in who I have become and continue to grow into.
I think a place very quickly becomes a home when you feel like you have family there, whether that’s family you are biologically related too, or people that just make you feel at home. I was lucky I had both. Both with Dave, and the fact that my sister lived really close to me in London with her husband.
Needless to say there were highs and lows, but I always felt grateful to be living in London. There’s not many times in life that you dream of something, and the reality is better than the expectation, but London was that for me. It continued to surprise me.
SO WHY DID I LEAVE?
I still remember after a year of living in our flat we bought, after practically gutting the whole thing and then putting back together again (don’t even get me started on dry rot) Dave said it again ‘I really want to live in another country’ and this time I really thought about it.
I thought about the idea of ‘someday’ and realized someday never comes if you’re not careful. I had a million reasons why we shouldn’t go, work was going well, we had friends we loved, we were on the property ladder, our family’s were a couple of hours drive away and we were happy.
But the more I thought about all the reasons not to go, curiosity got the better of me, however daunting it all seemed.
I knew it was something I’d always wanted too, but I just presumed we’d do it ‘one day, later in life when we had ‘time’ ha! We had narrowed it down to New York and Los Angeles as serious contenders. Dave had a brother in LA so we went ahead and booked a flight for a month in LA, just to try it out. In that month we did as much as we could, from work meetings, meeting friends of friends, getting to know the area and taking a road trip for 9 days around California.
Everything about LA was different to London, most obviously the weather. The people were laid back, and the positivity I experienced had a profound affect on me. I think I really came away with the feeling that if you want something, go get it, no explanation needed and anything is possible. I loved the ocean, and spent a lot of time in Venice walking around imagining what life would be like if we made the move.
I fell in love with LA very quickly. It actually surprised both me and Dave how quickly I began to really embrace the idea of making this our new home. I remember ringing my mum and saying I had the same feeling I did when I first moved to London, that it was better than the expectation and that scared me a little, because with that I knew I’d potentially be saying goodbye to a lot of people I loved.
But I couldn’t ignore that feeling. I felt excited, elated, and terrified all at the same time!
On November 21st 2016, with only two suitcases each, Dave and I got a one way ticket and flew to LAX. We were doing it. We were REALLY doing it.
Yes it was hard saying goodbye to friends and family, but they knew how much it meant to us, and I think it’s worse to never know what could have been.
The beginning was hard. Maybe harder than we had anticipated. Our move had cost us a lot, both emotionally and financially. It was a stressful time, and yet we never once questioned going back. Slowly but surely, we began to meet more people, lovely people! We started to find our feet with work and we found an apartment to rent in an area we loved.
10 months on, and I now think in dollars rather than pounds, I wear sandals a lot, and I walk to the beach most days. The move has taught us so much about what we want from life, and also what we don’t. I think it put a lot of things into perspective for us, and I feel so grateful that we took a risk.
To sum up why did I move? I guess it comes down to ‘why not?’ We had an opportunity to try something new and we did it. We also knew that we both wanted it and that we were lucky to be able to do this together as a couple. I have no idea how long we’ll stay or if we will end up making this our home for good, only time will tell, but for now it is and that’s all that matters. We love LA and love that we get to call it our home (for now anyway) and for anyone else who is considering a life changing move, what do you have to lose? If you don’t try, you’ll never know x