Here's the thing - I liked my life. I had a good job, great friends, a loving family and yet I felt restless. My cushy lifestyle just wasn't challenging me in the ways that I wanted it to. I could have easily continued my life as it was for the next 5 years and would have been content - but where's the fun in that?! I grew up in a small mining town in the North West corner of Western Australia and then moved to Perth, ie. the most isolated city on Earth, so my experience with the world at large was pretty limited. I'd done some travel but have always wanted to live in a major city and to travel solo - only I never had the funds, nor the lady balls to do so. So here I was, 26 years old and at a crossroads - do I stay or do I go? Decision made... I moved to London. Read on for the rollercoaster of emotions that was my first few weeks.
The United Kingdom is great at many things. Incredibly fast internet. Chocolate Hobnobs. Harry Potter. Another thing it's good at is creating miles and miles of red tape through which you have to wade through to get anything done. I enjoyed hours of frustration with figuring out how to do things that would be otherwise be done with the click of a mouse back home.
- Bank Accounts - you have to apply for these in person and need a silly amount of identification. Lloyds Bank is the one I found easiest to deal with. They'll set you up with a basic, no frills account with your Australian passport as ID.
- National Insurance Numbers - again, have to be applied for in person and take weeks to process. I'm actually still waiting on mine to finalise.
- Renting - Many places will need references (personal and professional) before you move in and this can prove difficult if you've just moved to the country and aren't working yet. I got around it by providing a guarantor and my previous employer as a reference.
- Finding a job - Many companies in the UK rely on CV scanning software which means that if your carefully curated resume isn't in the correct format, it doesn't matter how many you send out, they are unlikely to be seen. This is a great link for working around this particular challenge.
I know it sounds like a lot of complaining. And it is. Uprooting your entire life is incredibly overwhelming but you just need to calm down. Regroup. Remind yourself that this is what you've been working so hard for. Make a concentrated effort to keep in touch with friends and family back home or you will actually go insane. Try not to convert your clams - it'll just make you sad. And just remember: