Living in a big city like London can change you no doubt! However, it does vary from person to person. The most common changes that people often notice when you return home from abroad is your accent and probably your style of dressing. But for me, it has been a completely different story…
- Slowed me down
Trust them when they say that life in London is ‘fast-paced’ and ‘busy’! Traveling through the city can make you feel like you are literally running a marathon! The hustle and bustle is especially evident when you travel through central London, which is home to some of the world’s most iconic tourist spots and leading multinational companies. However, other parts of London such as the north and the west are comparatively quiet and slow-paced.
Traveling through the busy tubes and getting into crowded buses every day has made me crave a quieter life away from all that hustle. Living in the north has indeed been a blessing, given the fact that I am surrounded by a plethora of greenery. Lazy strolls through the Walthamstow Wetlands and long walks along the Lee Valley canal have now become a part of my daily routine, ever since the COVID-19 lockdown came into effect. I have also managed to learn the art of getting things done whilst doing them at my own pace. In fact, ‘take it slow and take it easy’ has now become my daily mantra!
Lesson learned: ‘Take it slow and take it easy’
- Current status: In a relationship with solitude
Introverts can definitely understand the role that solitude plays in their daily lives. I being one, have always relied on ‘alone time’ to recharge my batteries on a busy day. Being a loner, my love for solitude comes naturally. However, the fact that I am now living alone and traveling alone has made me realize just how much I enjoy it!
Traveling has always been my number one hobby. But trust me, traveling solo in a big city like London is far from easy. Moreover, given the fact that I have almost always traveled with my family makes the whole idea of ‘solo travel’ far more intimidating. My solo travel experiences in London have not only taught me how to navigate and explore parts of the city that I never knew existed, but also helped me realize how much freedom I have when it comes to choosing destinations spontaneously! Going solo has also helped me stay focused, observant and enjoy my travel experiences a lot more than I did while traveling with other people.
However, the coming of the coronavirus changed everything. Being restricted from going outdoors may seem like your worst nightmare come true when traveling happens to be your favorite pass-time! This is what the lockdown did to me. However, given that I am the only child in my family, living alone has never been too much of a challenge. In fact, the lockdown and social distancing has further deepened my love for myself and helped me find new ways to keep myself entertained and happy whilst staying indoors.
Lesson learned: ‘Solitude can help you love and understand yourself better’
- Value for money
Given the currency differences, the cost of living in London is pretty high. This is something that has made me understand how important it is to save every penny. After all, money is what got me here in the first place! However, this doesn’t mean money can buy you ‘all’ your happiness!
The fact that curbing my spending hasn’t cut down my happiness helped me realize that materialistic pleasures are not everything in life! True happiness goes far beyond that surge of pride and euphoria you feel after buying an expensive branded bag or the latest iPhone! Moreover, being on a budget has taught me the art of minimalism and learning to be grateful for what I have.
Lesson learned: ‘Life is too valuable to waste your time chasing material possessions. It is good to be materialistic but don’t overdo it! Try to stay as minimalist as you can!’
- Looks and clothes don’t really matter
“Dress posh like a Londoner,” they say. While this might be true in Central London, most parts of the city follow a quite casual dress code. Dressing well to work is obviously a must. However, if you just want to walk your dog, travel around or take a quick trip to the grocery store, you might as well head out in your tracks! As long as you have a shower every day and don’t smell like a pig, you’re all good to go! I’ve also observed that a majority of Londoners like to go natural and don’t tend to plaster their face with bucketloads of makeup.
The freedom the city gives you to dress and look the way you want has never failed to impress me. I’ve seen goths and hipsters walking around the streets with multiple piercings and multicolored outfits without being judged by anyone! Indeed, living here has helped me embrace my true self and be confident with what I wear and how I look without having to pretend to be someone that I’m not. In fact, regardless of where I live, dressing comfortable over dressing fancy has always been my top priority and makeup has never been my best friend!
Lesson learned: ‘Be confident, embrace your true self, be comfortable in your own skin and most importantly, DO NOT CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK!’
Have you learnt any life lessons while living or studying abroad? Let me know in the comments below!