The bright lights of London have been calling early twenty-somethings down in droves for the last few decades. An amazing city coupled with outstanding career opportunities makes London seem like the obvious choice to kick start your adult life, and it really is an amazing place to live. But what happens when the glitter wears off? What happens when you don’t want to live there anymore, but you’re not quite sure where else to go – can life elsewhere be as good?
In what seems like an eternity ago, I packed up my stuff in Birmingham and moved down to London. I got the London bug pretty quick and, like everyone else, I got into a routine of working crazy hours, going out most nights, and spending my weekends trying to cram as much of London in as possible. The years went by in a blur of working hard and playing hard, but after six years the shine wore off. I was sick of crazy rent prices and cramped flats. I hated my twice daily tube trek, Shoreditch nights out, and overpriced brunches the next day. Most of all it all just started to feel a little bit fake.
The general consensus was that there is no life outside of London – well, there most certainly is!
I decided to move back to Birmingham and start again, which was a tough decision, and one not helped by the reaction of most of my friends: Why would you ever leave London?! What are you going to do in Birmingham? Be prepared for a £10k salary drop! The general consensus was that there is no life outside of London – well, there most certainly is! It was definitely hard at first – yes, there are some downfalls but, on the whole, it’s one of the best things I ever did. Here are the most unexpected surprises I have experienced since leaving the big smoke:
- The pace of life is calmer, and therefore you are calmer.
- The cost of living is insanely cheaper. I rent a beautiful flat in a great area for £1k less than I used to pay in London, and buying here is achievable.
- Working hours are less. The London mentality of working until gone 7pm every night just doesn’t exist anywhere else.
- I am financially better off. There is very little difference in salary, and living costs are lower.
- Shorter working hours and commute time means evenings are blissfully free. I suddenly had time to go to dance classes, gym, cook, or just chill after work.
- Family and community ties are stronger – you’re kind of on your own in London, but knowing you can call on a neighbour or Aunty Sue up the road is wonderfully reassuring.
- Other cities are exciting, too! Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool are moving forward fast.
If you’re considering leaving London but are worried about everything you would lose, then worry not – there is life beyond!
London is amazing, and I miss it all the time. But when I look at some of my friends, who are stressed to the max and paying £300k for a pokey studio flat, I know I have made the right decision. Don’t get me wrong, London is one of the best cities in the world, but if you’re considering leaving London but are worried about everything you would lose, then fear not – there is life beyond!