London never sleeps, it just sucks…the life out of me and the money from my pocket.

Believe it or not, there is a whole country that sits just outside of the M25. I certainly forgot that fact when I lived there and I’m sure I’m not alone in doing this. Most people who live in London love living in London and wouldn’t consider living everywhere else. A large number of people, particularly when they are starting out in life consider moving there and it’s easy to see why on the face of it.

There are more opportunities, more jobs and better shops. There are world famous tourist attractions and quirky galleries hidden in side streets. People enjoy the faster paced lifestyle there and find it exciting and dynamic. There are oldy-worldy pubs, exclusive bars and a world famous nightlife. New restaurants pop up on a whim in secret locations and there are more fried chicken shops that you can shake a (drum) stick at. But more than that, there is a buzz that you cannot describe. There is a comfort associated with being anonymous in a big city and I find that it’s harder to feel lonely when so many people surround you. I still feel that comfort 12 years after I moved away whenever I first arrive into Kings Cross Station.

A few days in however and little things start to remind me why I left. Little things that when combined make you think ‘why exactly are people choosing to live here again?!’. I read a statistic a few weeks ago that claimed the average salary in London is £30,000 but the average house price is 14 times that amount. Housing is so expensive you cannot actually afford live anywhere of a habitable size or where you can hand on heart say you feel safe walking down the street on your own at night. If you are one of the lucky ones who can, you are so skint from paying the rent or mortgage that you cannot actually afford to leave said accommodation and enjoy all the things that attracted you to the city in the first place. Which means you can only afford to go out once every 3 months at a push. So you basically might as well live somewhere nicer and cheaper outside of London, visit every 3 months, stay in a nice central hotel while you do so and avoid the inevitable ordeal of a tube/night bus journey back to the outskirts where you are likely to be residing.

If I’d decided to get a job in the scientific industry and return to London after I graduated I would have had two options in terms of living arrangements: Move back in with my parents or share a house with a group of friends. Both fine as a short term measure but in the longer term my sanity would have been compromised.

It is an unhappy truth but a truth it is. Maybe one day when I can command a large salary I may be able to afford a decent standard of living in my home town.

Then again, maybe I’ve found out that there is much more to life than living in London; that all the things which I describe can be found via other means. That one can be equally, if not more so happy living somewhere else.


Why I’ve Started My Blog

Yesterday, I went shopping my friend Jayne. I spent far, far too much money and I’m now nursing a financial hangover. However amongst reckless shopping and a visit to the crispy creme drive through there were discussions of a rather fundamental nature. Not of the ‘why are we here’ variety but those of a more personal theme. We were discussing what else we would do if we weren’t in our current occupation (we are both Scientists). Jayne suggested creating a matrix of things you love doing and things you get paid a lot for. I said I love music but I’m not good enough to get paid a lot for it. I also said I always wanted to write. ‘Well why not start a blog?’. I thought this was a good idea so googled how to write a blog. Hence why I am writing to you this morning with a now cold cup of tea and Friends on continuous repeat in the background. I thought about what I would write about. What could I offer to the people of the world in terms of useful information or advice. Well, could write about heartbreak but I think that’s largely covered. I could write about love. Again covered. Then I thought about what could I help people with that I think I’ve made a success of. Well, 8 years ago I moved from London on my own to a completely new part of the country. 5 hours further north in fact. Why did I do this? Because I found a job that I really wanted to do. How easy was it? It wasn’t easy and for most people it’s an incredibly daunting prospect. Despite this, I like to think I’ve made a rather good job of it. Not by chance but by experience; I’ve previously moved to another part of the UK on my own on 3 separate occasions. When people find out that I’ve done this I always get a mixture of the following reactions: 1. ‘But why would you leave London?’ 2. ‘But aren’t you lonely?’ 3. ‘But why did you move here?’ (I live in Teesside). I will answer these 3 questions in due course, but my point is this is something that a lot of people don’t understand. But people are more now than ever having to move away from their friends and family for work reasons. It it isn’t an easy thing to do. But after 8 years I can say I now call this new place home. I have my own home, a job I enjoy and some fantastic friends and hobbies. I recently had a friend who has had to move away for work and she’s now experiencing similar feelings that I had when I first moved away by myself and it got me thinking I might be helpful to share how it coped with doing this and all the things I’ve learnt along the way about myself, other people and the new place in which I love living. I hope you enjoy reading my blog.