I worked in the hospitality industry for the majority of the time that I’ve lived in Scotland, and my most frequently asked question from guests has been:
“Why would you move away from Canada?”
Of course, I was asked this question by people who have never lived in Canada nor the UK and were probably basing this on their preconceived notions of Canada vs the UK. There is, as I told some guests, a bit of a difference between living and visiting somewhere.
Personally, I had a case of “the grass is greener on the other side”. I hail from Vancouver, pretty much the farthest major city in Canada you can get from Europe. The average number of holiday days in Canada (as in the basic, legal minimum) is 10 days per year, which does not allow much optimal opportunity for travelling abroad.
I had initially considered travelling around the world for 1 year but knew that that would not go over well with my grandma (who I’m quite close with). My next best alternative was to move to the UK on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility (read: working holiday) visa. In this way, I could take advantage of the cheap flights, the ample holiday time given in the UK, and the close proximity to the rest of Europe from the UK.
As you have probably guessed based on the above, my main reason for moving away from Canada was to be able to more freely travel around Europe.
At the time I first started seriously thinking about moving, I was in a contract position, so I had a definitive end date to my role. Instead of going to look for another job in Vancouver, I decided to use this opportunity to make my bold move.
“Weren’t you scared? How brave of you!”
That’s another question I was frequently asked. In short, no. I have always trusted in the universe and believed that everything always works out the way it’s meant to and when it’s meant to. That’s just part of who I’ve always been, so I wasn’t scared about moving to a place where I had no home and no job. I trusted that everything was going to fall into place.
The other thing I’d like to mention about being “brave” is this: I may have moved halfway around the world, but I chose a country that speaks the same language as I do, lessening the impact of the move. I truly don’t believe I’m any braver than the people who decide to move to a country where they don’t yet speak the language, like Arek, when he moved from Poland to the UK. Even if he didn’t move as far, he is infinitely braver for facing up to the challenge of having to learn a new language in a new country.
The first city people generally think of when the UK is mentioned is likely London, and I knew I didn’t want to move to London. The massive size, the massive population – no thank you!
My good friend, Ryan, was doing his working holiday at the time and was living in Edinburgh, so I got to hear all about what a wonderful city Edinburgh is from him. (Unfortunately, we never actually crossed paths in Edinburgh.) Without any pondering, Edinburgh was my first and only choice when it came to where to move – I just never thought twice about it. Truth be told, despite being a very organised person, I never once researched anything about Edinburgh before moving here. All I knew was that I was moving here. I was that certain I was going to like it.
After receiving my visa and getting my affairs in order in London, I took the train up from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in September 2015. I popped out onto Princes Street, looked around, and never thought I’d been in a more beautiful city. With a towering castle on an ancient volcanic hill on one end and another ancient volcanic hill on the other, how could this city not be beautiful?
“How are you still in the UK?”
Those who know me know very well how I’m still living in the UK, but if you don’t, you’ll have to find out in the next post!
Have you ever moved away from your home country? Where did you go and why? Let me know in the comments!