South African expats: Living in London

Embarking on the journey of long term travel is an adventure of a lifetime! They say that if as a couple you can survive travelling together you will be able to survive anything. This year Peter and I decided to quit our jobs and we moved to London UK with the motivation to travel and save for our future! While the thought of quitting our jobs, leaving behind family and friends and ‘starting from scratch’ can be daunting it also meant a chance to explore new lands, norms, way of life and see so much more of the world than is possible from South Africa. In the 5 months we have been in London we have visited 6 countries and are learning new things about the world we live in everyday!

Here are 5 things you should know about living in London UK

London - Big Ben
London: Big Ben

1. There’s a lot more to England than just London

While London is the capital and naturally the focal point, England has so much more to offer! From tiny storybook villages in the English countryside to small university towns, the coastline and Stonehenge, England is a truly beautiful country. London is exceptionally busy, always buzzing with tourists and living here can feel a bit overwhelming at times. But travel a few hours outside of the city and it will seem like a different world. You can experience peace and tranquillity in the coastal towns of Kent, Yorkshire and Scarborough or in the countryside villages of Wiltshire, Sussex and Cornwall. Hence the greater Britain area will surprise you.

2. It’s busy – It never stops

Nothing can prepare you for the hustle and bustle of London if you’re a small town girl or from a laid back country like South Africa! Everyone is in a rush, it’s fast paced and nobody really pauses for a breath. It’s a rat race that can feel like too much at times but don’t let that turn you off, if you ever feeling like you need a break just refer to points 1 and 3.

3. London is the ‘Travel hub’ of the world

Everybody here travels, has travelled or is planning to travel! This must have something to do with the fact that travelling is so accessible and affordable from London. Europe is on your doorstep, with options to fly, take a train or ferry across to many foreign cities. Not to mention that when you are earning your salary in the strongest currency in the world and in the city with one of the highest salary rates, travelling becomes so much more affordable. Coming from South Africa where the Rand is often weaker than the foreign currency it’s such a big deal travelling with the pound which will almost always benefit you! Did I mention that there are 5 airports in London? This and the various budget friendly airlines mean there is nothing stopping you from spending a weekend abroad.

4. There is always something to do

London UK will never leave you bored! It’s so full of life and you will never run out of places to go and things to see. Different events pop up every weekend from food markets to music concerts, art festivals and pop up shops the list is endless.  Timeout has a detailed guide of everything happening in London every weekend.

5. You are likely to meet more expats than locals

This city is a fascinating infusion of culture and diversity made up of people from all around the world! London represents more nationalities than probably any other city in the world. This is likely because London is one of the leading cities in terms of job opportunities and salary pay. It’s also a great base for those who want to travel – the reason we made the move. Surrounded by an array of different nationalities, languages and cultures daily, we feel more at home with our fellow expats.

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