First Great Western: Leaving London for Swansea

I never thought too much about whether I should move away or not. When I first left home for university when I was 18 (to South Wales which was 4 hours away) I had no doubts that it was what I was meant to do at that moment in time.

I think everyone should move to a completely new place once in their life, even if it’s just so they can appreciate what they have back at home. In some cases, it actually strengthens the relationships you leave behind as they test them; you can not longer rely on locality to keep the relationship going.

Moving so far away happened because I felt I felt that Swansea was somewhere I could settle. What do I mean by settle? It’s actually hard to put my finger on what I mean come to think of it. It’s just a gut feel I guess. This ambiguous feeling however, is the most important thing to consider when deciding to move to a new area. I visited other universities that were much closer to home at the time but I got a strong feeling that I wouldn’t be happy living in those places for various quite petty reasons on the surface. Leicester had too much concrete, for example. It was a way of perhaps explaining the lack of gut feel. Swansea was beautiful as it was by the sea and I’d always wanted to live by the sea. It poured with rain the entire time I was there but despite this my gut feeling was to give this place a try. And I was glad I did. I lived in Swansea for 3 years and they were some of the happiest years of my life. It led to great friendships, happy memories and meeting my first love.

The reason I advise to always go by gut instinct is because subsequent ‘panic’ moves later on to Southampton and Warrington were less successful in that I lasted less than 12 months living in either location. On visiting both of these places initially I never had that gut feel It would be a good idea yet forced myself to head there telling myself that I would settle in. I didn’t. The whole time I was in both places I felt overwhelmingly unhappy. On both occasions I kept a long distance relationship going which may have been a contributing factor but there were other reasons I felt the way I did.

When I moved to Southampton, I did not choose my location well considering my circumstances. It may sound obvious, but don’t always assume things will work themselves out when you are faced with doubt. I chose to live in an area close to where I worked but I still needed a car to get to work. I ‘assumed’ I’d be able to get a lift in from someone at the company. This didn’t happen and as a consequence, spent the next year getting a taxi to and from work, adding additional costs on top of locating myself in a place where I wouldn’t be too isolated.

But as a positive, I made a good friend with a girl I shared a taxi with and it forced me to try harder to pass my driving test! Things didn’t work themselves out but positive things still came from my perceived negative experiences. I’ve found this has happened nearly every time I have been faced with setbacks in life and it’s what keeps me going when life gets difficult.

Last but not least, remember that if everything goes wrong, the worst thing that could happen is that you have to move back home again. I did this twice when things didn’t work out, initially feeling defeated but I picked myself back up and gave it another go once another opportunity arose.

So, I hope that if you’re considering on whether to make that move to a new place that this article has helped you to consider a few things based on my own experiences. I wish you a happy new home!


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