Before I left for Europe, I packed up the Bachelorette Pad, sent a small bag of precious items to my mom’s house (things like my 1950s snakeskin pumps and an emerald green raw silk dress), squeezed as much as I possibly could into my 75L backpack, and put all of my other worldly possessions into a storage locker. Although it had been a wonderful year of independent, Bachelorette living in my teeny tiny home, it had also been a year largely devoid of natural light and sprinkled with frequent flooding, so I was ready to say good-bye.
I figured I’d come back from Europe broke & travel weary. So, I planned to spend the holidays with my family, recharging and relining my bank account before beginning my search for a new apartment.
But, as they often do, my plan has changed.
Instead of being eager to find my way back to the city I thought was my true boo, my one-and-only, ’til death do us part, I’m longing for another place – I’m longing to get back to London.
It started to creep into me as soon as I arrived – a desire to stay, to make that big, wild city my own. But I didn’t take myself very seriously at first. I’ve admitted to falling for cities like this before and having gotten on that airplane with a broken heart, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the distance was all part of the allure. So, I held on to my original plan.
And in truth, London is an easy city to love, but can be a difficult city to like. It’s big and crowded and expensive and wet and grey.
But, it’s also a wonderful place full of brilliant people doing creative things; there’s so much beauty and history around every corner; and, the whole place seems to buzz with an electric energy. Slowly yet surely, as its winding streets became more familiar and I began to discover some of its hidden corners, London really took hold of me. When we’d come back from one of our adventures, brimming over with memories of the beautiful places we’d seen and the talented people we’d met, it always felt like coming home. And slowly, a new plan began to form in my mind.
I’d always envied people who’ve packed up their lives and moved across the world. Whether indefinitely or for a fixed period of time, it seems so brave and exciting to start over somewhere new. But I’ve always had reasons why I couldn’t – the money, the time away from loved ones, the risk of leaving a steady job…
Yet bouncing from city to city, spending so many mornings waking up somewhere unfamiliar, my mindset started to change; the world began to seem not smaller, but more accessible. Instead of my usual litany of excuses, my attitude has shifted. Now I think, “If not now, when?”
If not now, when I have no child, or partner; if not now when my career is mobile; if not now when I have the unending desire; if not now, then when will I choose to make this leap?
So, rather than an extended holiday visit to my hometown, I’m sticking around. I’m living out my new plan of saving every penny I possibly can over the next eight months so that I can apply for a Visa and move back to England in the fall.
I moved away for university more than five years ago and admittedly, it’s strange to be back. After living in a big city, this mid-sized town often feels small, quiet, and well, boring. Not too mention, having lived here for nearly 20 years, my past seems to quite literally be standing around every corner. Whether it’s an ex-boyfriend or a former acquaintance, I can hardly turn around without running into someone ready to place expectations on me based on who I used to be. More than once I’ve gotten caught up with feeling like I need to justify why I’m back and what I’m doing with my life, probably because, as excited as I am, I’m still uncertain myself.
After living on my own for so long, it’s hard not to think that moving home is a way of moving backwards. But I know that any dream worth chasing requires sacrifices. And, truth be told, it’s not all bad. I like spending more time with my family. And without a seemingly unending number of places to go and things to see right around the corner, I have to be more intentional about seeking out activities and events. I’m feeling more centered and taking advantage of this change of pace to focus on doing more of what I love.
So, while I might be back where I started, that doesn’t mean I’ve digressed. I’m simply leaping headfirst into a new adventure.
What big dreams are you chasing? I’d love to hear!