Why you should move to London before you are 31

Why you should move to London

Y’all know I love London 95% of the time, I mean I’ve been banging on about it for the last 600 blog posts. I know that moving overseas can seem like a monumental leap, it’s expensive and life always seems to stop you from going…but sometimes you just have to take that first step. So why should you move to London before you are 31? Well…


Because it’s always the wrong time

Think of any year of your life, there are always birthdays, weddings, funerals, breakups, makeups, Christmas celebrations and an unmissable party. If you go overseas you will miss them all! #shock #horror. There is no ‘good year’ to move overseas. Which thankfully makes any year an awesome year to take the leap and move to London. There are hundreds of ways to make celebrations and commiserations special even from the other side of the world, you just have to think a little harder about it. And each of those times that you miss will be replaced by epic adventures, funny tube stories and pop-up cereal cafes. Realistically it is never a good time for work either, you are always working towards a promotion or have just got one, or you might be ready to make a radical change (I seem to be queen of those) – but hey in NZ you are in the enviable position that employers value time spent overseas…so fuck it, just go.

Because London isn’t the only answer, it’s just the easiest

This post and the reasons listed could apply to any country or any experience that takes you outside your comfort zone (literally, if you are thinking about having a baby most of these will apply too), so feel free to replace London with your country, city or radical life change of choice. The focus on London is mostly because I live there and want more friends, but also because, for Kiwis at least, London is the easiest option. As long as you are under 31 you can get the two year visa with only a little hassle and a tiny bit of stress, and then a life on the top of the world is within your grasp. NB: there is a rumour that there are other cities besides London in the UK, I have not been outside Zone 1 yet so can’t comment*.

Because of the bad times

Ok so you may not Facebook or tweet the bad times, they are more a tears over Skype to a best friend scenario – but they will give more strength to your life then the good times ever could. The bad times will be that secret little fire you hold inside you for the rest of your life saying “you got through that, you can get through anything”. The bad times will be the stories you tell over and over because that 28 hour train ride is way more entertaining after a few wines then a happy day in Paris could ever be. But mostly the bad times are important because they are magnified when you are overseas with no support network, which means you can discover who exactly you are and how you react without anyone else looking over your shoulder. And because when the good times swing around again the sunshine has never tasted so sweet.

Tower Bridge at Dusk

Because you will always feel like you missed out

You can live a perfect and happy life without going overseas. You can to be honest, do whatever the merry fuck you want with your life. But if you are reading this blog post you already have that persnickety worm in the back of your brain saying that London could be in your future, and once it is there you will always feel like you missed an opportunity if you didn’t at least try. It’s like that new pair of boots that you want to buy, you won’t stop thinking about them until you do … except more travely less leathery.

Because it means you can stop thinking about it

Dude even if London turns out to be the worst time of your life and you HATE it (see earlier item about the bad times) you can at least stop wondering, stop obsessing, stop being caught in this should I/shouldn’t I limbo. You can take that next step and start planning.

Because you will be missing out, but so is everyone else

THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER. Particularly with social media everyone is always going to appear to be having a much better time then you are. Case in point, when I post a picture of a new London pop-up market my sister posts a picture of a New Zealand beach in the sunshine – both of us are having awesome fun but at the same time wishing that we were on the other side of the world. There is always going to be something you miss out on (felt especially keenly in UK winter when everyone posts damn NZ summer photos on Instagram), but you just have to slap yourself sensible and focus on the magical times you are having right now. And if all else fails just drink through the pain.

Tower Bridge Opening

Because it will make you think differently about New Zealand

All of a sudden you will look at NZ with a whole new perspective. The things you took for granted before will become so dear to your heart that they will form part of your identity. For me (particularly with all the unrest in Europe/Syria at the moment) it’s coming from a country that values international law over just dropping bombs, it’s coming from a country where arts are just as valuable as English and Maths, and my god New Zealand is so green. London will also readjust things you thought you knew – housing for example…in London if you can walk around your bed and only have a couple of patches of mould you are living in a fucking palace.

Because it will make you think differently about your friends

When you are taken out of your friendship circles all of a sudden, it gives you the breathing space to figure out if you are friends because you actually get on well and support or inspire each other, or if it’s just because you went to school/university together and, well, just kept hanging out. I know so many people who have gone overseas and done bit of friendship pruning; and been all the happier for it.

Because it could be amazing

I moved to London after vowing that I would never live in this city because “I wasn’t a mindless sheep who followed the Kiwi OE crowd and who would want to live in London anyway it’s totally expensive and lame”, I thought I would be home after three months, I thought I knew what this experience was going to be. My god was I wrong, London changed me in ways I could not have imagined, it gave me the confidence to be the real me. If you move to London it might be hard, cold, challenging and terrifying…but honey what if it’s amazing?




How to survive London

Author: runawaykiwi

12 thoughts on “Why you should move to London before you are 31

  1. I totally recommend the experience of living abroad, it’s quite a unique life experience. I wasn’t thinking about it until it happened because I was contacted for a job interview. Don’t regret a bit. London is an easy option because it’s UK so English all around, because it’s really cosmopolitan and because it has a good job market. What I miss the most apart from family and friends is the sunshine, the smell of the sea and the variety of fresh food in the supermarket

  2. I never thought much about living abroad until a few years ago but it just never seemed to work out. I hope I’m able to make it work one of these days.. even if it’s only for a month or two!

  3. I didn’t move to London, but I moved to Scotland and I agree with many of these! It’s never going to be easy to move abroad, but it will definitely be at its easiest before you turn 31 and on those youth visas! As much as I miss things back home, I know my friends see photos of my housewarming, etc. and feel they are also missing out so at least it’s everyone!

  4. Love it! I’m a little bit in limbo as my hometown (plus where I live now) is just 30 miles outside of London and I simply commute in every day. So the best of both worlds maybe? I’ve never lived in London and can escape back to the countryside each day and get some fresh air …. although a little bit of me wonders what it would be like to be in a fancy studio flat in Islington.

    As it happens I’m 39, my girlfriend lives nearby, I have a house and sometimes wrongly(?) think I should be doing what 99% of my other 39 year old schoolmates are doing. That being live in a semi-detached house, with a people carrier and 2.4 children and not city hopping 😉 But there are no rules of course!

  5. I’m at the other end of the spectrum – I’m a Brit currently in Auckland. I have a couple of comments. Firstly, to any Kiwis thinking of travelling: Do it! You’ll probably have an amazing time and, even if you don’t, you can come home. To New Zealand. I’m so envious that New Zealand is your home to come back to. And Rebecca – just post pictures of Christmas markets and sparkly Christmas lights when you get all the NZ summer photos (before Christmas at least)! So magical. Keep living the good life :0)

  6. So true a lot of that stuff I’m fortunate traveling on a British passport made it an easier decision to just pack a bag and head off 1 way to the United Kingdom
    I miss so many simple things about home yet the experiences to have here in Europe have to be experienced without regret
    I’ve been here 4 months now feeling more settled than I did when arriving gear vibe London with lots of good energy including meeting a lot of not just English people living in this awesome city, heading home in February 2016 but il be back in 2017 good old New Zealand will still be there waiting for me to return again 🙂

  7. Considering a move to London in early 2017 (can you tell I’m a planner?) and your writing voice sounds just like the voice in my head- “for fuck’s sake & all.” I’m from the US but hopefully it won’t be too much different I will enjoy it as much as you do!

  8. Loved this post and so many others in which I didn’t comment. Very inspiring and truly makes me want to leave my country tomorrow. I’ve just changed every time you said ‘New Zealand” for ‘Brazil”. Worked perfectly.
    I very much agree with you, you just have to take the chance. I remember this one quote I read on Pinterest (yeah, I also go there for motivational quotes):
    “-What if I fall?
    – Oh, but my darling… what if you fly?”

  9. I love that city! London and I had a bit of a “divorce” in early 2007, looking back it was the best most terrifying time of my life. I wouldn’t’ of traded it for the world. Reading your blog reminds me of all those times. I agree with all your points, it’s hard and necessary, but in the end worth it. Good luck on your journey–All the best!

  10. I’m planning to move to London next year to attend Le Cordon Bleu and hopefully stay once I’ve finished. I’m overwhelmed to say the least. Reading your blog is really helping me calm my tits just a little. I just wanted to say I’m glad I stumbled upon it!

  11. It can be a blessing and a curse having your home town so close to London (30 miles away). A blessing that it’s always been “just down the road”, so just a short train ride away, but a curse that you never had to make the decision to make that bold leap to emigrate/transcend the globe to get there

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