I made a decision during the first few hours of New Years Day – that being to make more of an effort to live more mindfully. It’s a super wanky word, yet so relevant at the same time. So yes, I’m going all Power of Now on you. What better way to do so than reflect on the perks of living in London?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the problem of “the grass is greener” syndrome, particularly as someone who suffers quite acutely from it. Put plainly, it’s dangerous thinking. How can you ever be truly happy if you spend your life wishing you were somewhere else?
The only way anyone can truly achieve peace is to be happy with your lot – wherever you are and whatever it is. Easier said than done.
London gets a lot of crap and I’ve been guilty of dishing it out on countless occasions. Enough is enough. There is a lot I do like about living in London and in order to start the new year on a positive note, Imma gunna write about it on my blog!
Location, Location, Location
Living in London feels much like living in the middle of the world. All of Europe is a very short plane flight away. New York is six hours. Africa is around three. Australia is a day away, but that’s just how it is.
Nowhere else is better connected than London, so as someone who likes to travel, I feel very lucky to be living here.
I love terrace houses in general and when I dreamed of living in London, I always envisioned myself living in one. I desperately hoped I’d be able to call one home when I made the move to Britain. It took over a year, but finally that dream came into fruition. Whenever I arrive home, I smile and imagine what my younger self would think to know that I achieved that goal. I think her excitement would be palpable.
I’ve been guilty of moaning about London’s weather in the past, but I have to admit there is something delightfully reassuring about it. It doesn’t get too hot, it’s not really that cold. It doesn’t rain nearly as much as anyone would have you believe. It’s constant in its same samey-ness.
Plus – you haven’t known true glory, until you’ve seen blue skies in London. The sun shines on the city and the city shines along with it.
There’s Always Something Happening
There’s a new play, a band playing, a festival happening, a street fair, a pop-up shop, an exhibition. You could go broke here, but you would never, ever be bored.
A City for the Ages
Every single corner of London is filled with a sense of history that I can’t quite comprehend, coming from a country like Australia, where the cities are barely over two centuries old. You could live a lifetime in London and not even begin to scratch the surface of her secrets.
I walk down cobblestone streets, wondering about those who tread that path before me. Who were they? What was their life like? What were their dreams and ambitions?
Then I realise – one day in a far off future, someone will walk down that very street, wondering the same things about the world during my lifetime. And that blows my mind.
I was wandering through the streets of Bermondsey not long ago. Past shops and through housing commission estates. I rounded a corner and happened upon a square of houses, with a small park in the middle. It appeared out of nowhere.
It’s not the first time this is happened and I believe it won’t be the last. I love that in a major city, you can guarantee that a small patch of nature will be within in walking distance. Where else in the world do you have that?
London is the very definition of a multi-cultural city. More than 100 different languages are spoken in every London borough. Living here means you are living among people of every different race, nationality and skin colour.
This offers up the opportunity to experience many different cultures firsthand, something I particularly enjoy doing through food!
London’s museums have to be the best in the world. There’s so many to choose from! Take well-established favourites such as the British and Natural History Museum and lesser known museums like Cartoon Museum and the newly opened Museum of Food.
And the big ones are free! You can go and come back, day after day and it won’t cost you a SINGLE PENNY.
The Close Proximity to the Countryside
There is something supremely special and unique to the cities of Great Britain. They’re protected by what is known as a green belt – hectares of greenery left deliberately uninhabited, designed to prevent urban sprawl.
This means that you can travel to the outer edges of London in under an hour and find yourself in the thick of sprawling paddocks – proper English countryside. Peace and quiet, at London’s doorstep.
Ultimately, it comes down to why I fell for the city in the first place, six years ago. As a fresh-faced twenty year old, London felt like a city of endless opportunity. Where anything could happen – or already had. Where you could shed layers of yourself, until you come face to face with the person you were kinda hoping to someday be.
I’ve lived in London for fifteen months now, but I don’t really know the place. So, I’m resolving to spend this year getting in amongst my adopted city.
When you move overseas, you tear apart your life as you know it and you’re left to pick up the pieces and piece it back together.
It can be really hard work and there are moments you’ll ache for all that is familiar. But the creation of a new life – of your own design – is an adventure in itself.
There’s a lot to love about living in London and I reckon these things are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m so excited to see what else this city has to offer and particularly looking forward to sharing it with you!