Why I Moved to London
When I moved to London at the very end or June 2018, I guess I thought the reason for doing so was obvious. And even though that reason was multi-faceted, I was shocked when I was met with questions. Honestly, my response was usually something along the lines of “I’m 27 and Irish. Emigration is just what we do!”. And it is. There are more Irish people in the rest of the world than there are in Ireland, or so they say.
We have a long history with emigration- from Famine ships to Ellis Island, to how half of my graduating class left the crippled economy of Ireland for Bondi Beach following the recession of 2008. We heard stories of success, and Facebook updates filled with sunshine. Emigration was framed as something to aspire to. Like a rite of passage that will allow you to see how wonderful life is outside of small-town Ireland.
I didn’t emigrate when most of my peers did after college. Instead, I waited it out and decided that when I did (and it was always a case of “when” and not “if”) emigrate, I’d go as prepared and as qualified as I could be. So I continued my studies, did unpaid internship after unpaid internship, grew up and eventually felt like I had done all that I could in Ireland. I had moved into a flat all-by-myself, which felt very grown up. I had set up my business, offering content creation for brands and print media. I had made amazing friends. I’d travelled. I’d ticked off more or less every box on my list. So it was time for a new list.
It’s also important to note the reality of renting in Dublin in 2018. As many of you know, it was at the peak of a rental crisis. A quick Google search will be able to give you an idea of what eh, “bang” renters are getting for their unreasonably large buck. And my situation became even more complicated when my landlord fell into financial difficulty, the house was repossessed and I was essentially waiting by the phone to see when I was being turfed out. I figured if I’m going to pay high rent to move somewhere else, I want the expense to be justified. And the amenities and opportunities in Dublin were not cutting the mustard. It’s my favourite city in the world, and it’ll always be home. But my patience had run out. So I did too.
When I emigrated, I was uncharacteristically secretive about it (ie. I didn’t blast it on my Instagram Stories until I was here for some time). That was by design, to avoid an onslaught of questions asking what I was going to do, was I not scared about not knowing anyone, or remarks about how brutal London is. Because, as I explained in this recent Instagram post, I was more terrified than I had ever been in my life.
Was that fear justified? Honestly, yeah. And a friend recently told me she believes that if I knew what was in store, I probably wouldn’t have left Dublin. And I agree. But in a way that confuses everyone; I still don’t regret it. I’ve absolutely been through the wringer, and found myself in horrible situations I never could’ve predicted and that I know I don’t deserve. But I know that when I’m 80, I’ll be a better person because of it all.
And I guess that circled back to why I emigrated in the first place; I came for life experience. When I say that, I usually follow it up with a cryptic “And boy, have I gotten it!”. People are telling the truth when they talk about how intense, draining and tough London is. And yet most people, at least that I’ve known, came with a friend or partner, with a job and with a less sensitive demeanor. All of which I’d recommend having if you ever feel like taking the leap.
But if you want to see what life is like without having the security of all of the above, I’ve decided I’m going to be more open about it. If there’s anything you’d like to know more about, or have any questions or thoughts, get in touch. If my experience can be of use to others, I’m happy to share. Let’s all help each other.