Guest Post: What It’s Really Like to Live in London

Its amazing. THE END! Just kidding……..

Hey guys my name is Chelsea. I am from New Zealand and have spent 4 years living in London, not all at once. I lived here for 2 years back in 2012 and then moved back in 2015 for another 2 years and I had 2 totally different experiences. One was absolutely horrible! I shouldn’t say horrible really, it was well, HARD! The other I had the absolute time of my life. So what is it really like to live in London?

Well when I first moved here, London and I really did not see eye to eye. We paid the cheapest rent (still expensive) but lived in Roehampton. No tube, slow bus service. No pub that was close (don’t even know how that’s possible) and there was absolutely nothing going on nearby. So I struggled a bit in London. The only thing that was keeping me here was the fact I was flying to Europe for less than 50 quid return every month seeing the most amazing parts of Europe. London was cold, dark and I felt so isolated. I was extremely home sick. I missed living in Surry Hills in Sydney. I missed the sun, the blue skies, the beach and the short 2.5 hour flight home to see my family in New Zealand.

So 2 years, 29 countries, 8 islands and many flights later, I booked my ticket home to NZ FOR GOOD. Well so I thought. It wasn’t even 6 months later and I decided that I wasn’t ready for home. I had a bug… the travel bug! London was going to get a second chance.

This time was going to be different. This time I knew what to do, what to expect and I had a plan…

  • I replaced hotels for hostels
  • Doing it alone for doing it alone AND tours
  • Travel just with my partner to travelling in groups with randoms
  • I traded Roehampton for Hammersmith
  • The track to off the beaten track
  • And changed short trips to working holidays and volunteering at different locations in Europe

We found a room in a share house in Hammersmith. It was an awesome location in zone 2 with 4 tube lines, busses and it was Kiwi & Aussie central. We booked our first tour with First Festival Travel to do the western front tour and met more Aussies and Kiwis doing a similar thing.  Then we did a volunteer job with First Festival Travel setting up a tour in Spain and made the best friends that would see out our London life. We had awesome jobs that just made our time in London so amazing. Loving your job while living in London is a must.

The most exciting thing for me was meeting the most amazing people wherever I went. People that just had the most amazing stories and people who just wanted to do everything and anything. There weren’t very many weekends that we just stayed in and did nothing. Our calender was always booked out… leaving parties, birthday parties, the Slug, the ‘Chatty’, the Elk, house parties, party again, did I mention there was a house party tonight?

London life is not all bliss though. It’s very expensive and sometimes you have to choose the egg diet so you can fit in Winter Wonderland along with your trip to Spain. Or, decide to walk/bike to work so that you can do the London Eye and the Peckham Rye roof top cinema at the weekend. Our London life may look picture perfect on Instagram but all of the pictures come from loads of sacrifice and a bit of creativity.

London has so many events all the time. Every week I found something different to do and see. Markets, roof top events, Winter Wonderlands, landmarks, theatre shows, comedy shows… you name it London has it. It’s full of so much life and then you have to throw in all of your expat events like Waitangi day pub crawl, KIL (Kiwis in London) monthly drinks, Australia Day and the list goes on.

So leaving for London, new to London or just thinking about London? Know this. London is amazing. It is filled with awesome expats who are keen to meet up, get involved in events, do something every day of the week and you’re so close to Europe and it’s cheap. YES it gets dark at 3 to 4pm in the winter and yeah the winter lasts ages but I promise you that if you just meet new people, explore all of the amazing areas of London and travel Europe, you will have the best experience of your life.

Getting ready for your London Life? We recommend:

  • Kiwis in London / Aussies in London on Facebook (the lifeline for Oz & NZ expats)
  • Time out London (for London events)
  • Top Deck, First Festival Travel, Fanatics, Workaday (volunteer jobs in Europe)

We are currently in NZ to get new Visas to carry on our travelling adventure. Follow our journey on Facebook and Instagram and check out our website