16 countries, 4 continents and 80 K dollars later, Jack and I arrived in London to set up shop. We spent all of our money travelling, with only my line of credit to get us back on our feet. We had no connections and no security, slowly accumulating debt as we job hunted and house hunted in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
We resorted to doing labour work in a stranger’s house for exchange of place to sleep and food to eat. By stranger, I mean a host from Workaway. While doing this volunteer placement helped us in some ways, I’ll never forget the feeling of humiliation as I scrubbed the crevices of a stone floor on my hands and knees, essentially working for free! I had a taste of being Cinderella, before her Fairy God Mother came to the rescue. That feeling certainly wasn’t something I wanted to become familiar with. I made a promise to myself that I would never be in that position again. Jack and I had a long discussion about what we wanted to get out of our time in London and then we began to work towards it. Okay, first things first – believe in yourself.
I remember when we first told friends, family and colleagues about our intention to quit our jobs and travel around the world for 1-2 years. Much of the reactions were supportive, some indifferent and others concerned. The concern was mostly around what would happen afterwards. Where will we live? How will we afford to support ourselves financially? Will anyone hire us after taking time off? Will we fall behind in our careers?
While these concerns also came into consideration for us, we chose to make our decisions based on a different set of beliefs. Rather than listening to the voice of scarcity and fear, we operated from a place of trust and abundance. When self-doubt started to creep in, I made an effort to avoid latching on to it and instead told myself more encouraging thoughts like, ‘you can do this, you are capable, don’t give up, there’s always a solution, you will find a way.’
Admittedly, after 8 weeks of job hunting and a couple rejections, I had a few moments of weakness. I found myself watching Disney on Netflix, eating a tub of haagen daz ice cream and sobbing like a child, thinking to myself, maybe I did do this all wrong? Maybe I should have been more concerned about what happens after the dream? Yet, even then, I had an inkling that we would be fine, more than fine.
Some part of me knew that these stories would dissolve and I would pull myself out of this desperate situation – undoubtedly stronger, wiser. While getting back into the swing of being a full-time employee again took some time, I now hold a stable job, with a solid company, working with bright, innovative and interesting professionals. On top of that, my office is located in Mayfair, which is one of the most prestigious areas in London. While I’m not one to buy into the elitist mindset or social status game, I can’t help but feel a little ‘bad ass’ on my way to work.
Moreover, I can’t forget my partner in crime who has been my biggest support throughout all of this. Jack is an optimist by nature, but even he had his doubts after a couple ego hits. But Jack didn’t give up and eventually landed a management job, working on one of the largest constructions jobs in Europe, essentially the biggest job of his career.
Together, we proved that we could dig ourselves out of dark places with a bit of faith, confidence and perseverance. But more than that, we proved that we could follow our pipe dreams, encompassing elements of risk and uncertainty, and still come out it alive and well.
From scrubbing floors for food and a place to sleep, to living very comfortably in North London, life works in mysterious ways. This weekend marks 12 months since we arrived in the UK. Today we celebrate being debt free, living in a lovely house with great housemates, holding good jobs and having a solid circle of friends from different corners of the world. Happy Anniversary London!