Some time ago, I arrived in London on a one-way flight with a suitcase and a sense of curiosity.
What was supposed to be a nine-month stint unravelled into an incredible two-year journey. As I sit here typing this, I can’t help but smile thinking about how serendipity has guided me.
The thing is, I had no plans lined up for me before I got here. I hardly knew anyone, had no idea where I would live, and didn’t know how I would find a job. I’d never even been to Europe before.
I ended up meeting many wonderful friends, found myself a home in vibrant Shoreditch, and have been fortunate to do work that I’m passionate about in tech and politics. In two years, I checked off 56 new cities and visited 26 countries overall. I’ve experienced moments of sheer happiness in travels, bad heartbreaks, incredulous disbelief (cough Brexit cough), and laughs with complete strangers. It made for a big handful of memories I’ll never forget.
And as you do, I’ve also learned a bunch in the past couple of years. I thought I’d share some of the ones that stuck by me most, transcribed from my daily Evernote scribblings:
- Say yes to opportunity, and listen to your gut. The more you experience things and understand how you feel about certain experiences, the quicker you can understand yourself and find clarity in what you want in life. If you don’t know what this “gut” feeling is for you, go out there and try more things as it will help define it.
- Don’t let a network tie you down. I’ve developed a great UK-based network of awesome individuals whom I greatly admire, and I will miss them dearly. However, I recognize that I am young and there is still so much to explore and many more people to meet. Don’t stay in a location or environment just because you have an existing network there, as this may be inadvertently limiting you to broader opportunities. I’ve always found that good people have a way of finding themselves back to me, regardless of where I am.
- Prioritize experience over most things. The moments in my life that I have the clearest memories are of vivid experiences over anything else.
- Be consistent in your beliefs and behaviours. Consistency creates habits, which influences behaviours, that define lifestyles.
- Harvest an appetite for risk. Big risks reap big rewards. That being said, take calculated risks (for example, I knew I had enough savings to keep me afloat while I looked for a job).
- Always make time for good people. No matter how hard or “busy” life gets, it’s the people who pull you through. Be present and available for these people.
Looking back, it makes me chuckle thinking about my sheer naivety in coming out here. But my naivety paved a transformational time in my life, and I hope to never lose it. It also highlights to me the importance of my mentors and community in helping instil, from a young age, the necessary confidence and self-esteem crucial to making this kind of decision.
It’s bittersweet to leave London, but it’s a move I generally feel very ready to make. All in all, I’d highly recommend packing one bag and moving out to a foreign continent — you’re always welcome to drop me a line if you want any tips/advice on doing so.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to see where life will take me next.