When embarking on a new adventure we tend to believe that everything is going to be shiny, new and exciting — until the reality hits you. Moving to London is no different. You soon remember things like rent, bills and transport costs still exist, that it is harder to make friends in your late 20s and life is not always a holiday.
Though you might be having the time of your life in London, it is important to remember expectations don’t always match reality.
Here are 10 expectations I had about living in the UK that were put to the test very quickly after landing in London:
Expectation: You’re on a working holiday visa, which means you will be travelling all the time.
Reality: You are always strapped for cash and you end up working six days a week to pay for rent and a short holiday every few months.
Expectation: You’ll work little and play hard.
Reality: You are tired from working so hard saving for the Mediterranean sailing trip you always wanted to go on. Maybe next week you’ll finally hit up Boujis and hang out with Prince Harry.
Expectation: You will party all the time in London with the new friends you made on your last trip.
Reality: Your friends list on Facebook increases exponentially but you will probably never see them in the person again.
Expectation: You’ll spend your weekends at farmers markets, cafés and funky restaurants.
Reality: You spend your Saturdays trying to get over Friday night drinks and Sundays catching up on TV you missed while out during the week.
Expectation: You’ll spend weekends exploring the English countryside, and will head to the beach in summer for fish and chips.
Reality: Your travel card is valid for zones 1 — 3, and come Saturday you don’t even think about leaving your neighbourhood, let alone London.
Expectation: Groceries, food and transport seem less expensive than at home so it is easy to save money for your next holiday.
Reality: You are also earning much less and you opt for the camping holiday instead of the hotel option.
Expectation: Being in the nightlife capital of Europe, you’ll spend your nights in the coolest bars and clubs London has to offer.
Reality: The bouncer at Infernos knows you by name.
Expectation: You’ll catch up with friends and family back home on Skype, Viber, What’s App or on the phone all the time.
Reality: The only time for a decent catch up seems to be when you’re recovering from Friday night drinks or Saturday night. Surely they can just Facebook stalk me?
Expectation: You’ll visit all the tourist attractions, learn about history and take in the city’s unique culture.
Reality: Are you kidding?! Those places are full of tourists!
Expectation: You’ll be the exception to the Heathrow Injection curse and go to the gym every night after work.
Reality: You go to the pub every night after work and you start buying looser fitting clothes at Primark. That onesie is now your most comfortable piece of clothing.
Also by Jacqui Moroney:
Read more of Jacquie’s writing on her website NeverEndingHoneymoon.net
IMAGE: Just a stock photo of a woman in London, musing life. It’s not Jacquie. (Via Shutterstock.com)