I’ve spent twelve months in London so far. Six months last year and another six months this year. You might think that it was starting to feel familiar to me but it’s still a long way from feeling like home.
It’s well known that I’m missing the weather, beaches and food back home but there are somethings about London that I do love. It’s taken me a while to warm up to this city and although I still don’t think I could live here for more than 6 months at a time it’s a place I would happily come back to. I’m here until around July 2016 so I’ve decided that I’m going to make the most of it. I really feel like I didn’t get the most out of my time here last trip.
I go through stages each time I move to a new city, it happened to me when I moved to Sydney, London last year and the Goldcoast too. I often get asked questions about moving to a new city or what it’s like to travel. I’m not the most accomplished traveller but there are a few things I have noticed about relocating that might help you.
Fear and excitement all at the same time.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have friends in the place you are moving too there is still a fear of the unfamiliar that’s very natural. It made it easy for me knowing that I had a job and friends waiting for me, but it was very obvious to me when I arrived here for the first time that I completely lost my mojo because the unfamiliarity sapped my confidence.
Adaptation – adapting your lifestyle and customs to fit in to your new home.
The quickest way to feel comfortable in a new place is to blend in. The need to feel like you belong is very strong. I adapt to my surroundings. Usually its a cosmetic thing. I dress to fit in. Blending helps because the less I feel like a tourist the more I can take the time to step out of my comfort zone at my own pace.
Marking my territory – The more I explore the more I need to feel at home.
Carving out a space of your own is important. Having a place to come home to that feels like it’s yours, that feels safe and that gives you something familiar to anchor yourself to really helps. It’s amazing how a few items of furniture, some picture frames and a pile of dirty washing of your own can make you feel at ease.
Assimilation – Taking on the best parts of your new home and making them part of your life.
Once I’ve re-established my comfort zone I find that it becomes much easier to explore and to assimilate the things I like about my new home in to my life.
I think the important thing to remember when you are moving to a new city or country is to give things time. It’s not easy and you will need to be brave but the rewards of travelling and living in different parts of your country or the world cannot be underestimated. It takes about 6 months to feel settled in a place and about 12 months to feel comfortable and start making friends. After two years in Sydney I had only just managed to meet some cool people and start to form the lasting friendships that I still have today.