Let’s start at the beginning..
2022 I decided to embark on a journey to move to London from Christchurch, New Zealand. My dad is from London and now lives in England, I have family, I always dreamt about living a big city life in a fast paced world like you see on the 90s films. I aspired to be the Anne Hathaway character, walking across busy roads, coffee in hand talking on the phone.
The experience was exactly what I had expected but at the same time not. My parent’s generation sell the idea so well “Oh London was the best two years of my life”. What they seem to forget is the world is not the same and it has evolved even more in just the last few years. One of the biggest changes - Money. Now London is a huge city of course we all know it’s expensive. £5 for a coffee, £40 to pack yourself into the tube every week and just the act of leaving your house removes £10 from your bank account automatically. lol. The sole fact I lived in a £800 room (a month) in a dodgy neighborhood with mold just isn’t singing to me.
Now let's talk about the positives -
I had an amazing job working in Mayfair at a photographic studio. I learned from the best of the best photographers in the trade and saw amazing art daily and went on very exciting work trips. The learning is indescribable and is a huge shock when you come from such a small country. Comparison crept in, no matter how much money people had it never seemed enough, and it was draining.
Friendship. The highlight of my experience in London. The people you meet and click with is beyond, the sheer amount of people makes you bound to find your people.
Accessibility. The amount of shows, shops and galleries is amazing, nothing can compare when you come from such a small country. Your favourite music act will NEVER miss London. Also, just jumping on a train to a whole other country and culture is amazing.
The downside is the amount of work and hustle, you don’t have enough money or time to experience these positives of London. I ended up sleeping my way through weekends - I was sick of people being around me and I had no energy to explore new areas and galleries. This is all while working a full time job and starting up my own photography business.
With all of this in mind and the insane burnout and sickness I was experiencing - my body was shouting at me. I was done with London.
Never did I expect to want to move to Australia. But here we are!!! That one thing is true what they say.. You don’t realise how lucky you are living in New Zealand until you leave!!
I think the decision to move to London is a personal one. It depends on what type of personality you have, what you want out of the experience and what work you do and who you have around you. There is obviously no right or wrong but it's good to be aware of what you are really getting into in this economic climate.
As a creative you are bound to be in a low paying employed job but the experience is like something you have never seen. Being freelance there is an array of amazing creatives you will meet. If you push yourself to be seen you will be but it just takes so much drive and hard work. It was all worth it until my health said no more.
1 and a half years was quite enough for me and I am so ready to settle down in one place for a while and build my photography business to where I want it to be. Whilst the light is up longer than 4pm in the winter ;)