I never intended to be mesmerised by the idea of travel. I never thought that I would feel a passion so strong and so life altering that my next steps would be heavily influenced by the places I’ve explored and the culture’s I’ve experienced. I’m almost twenty-two and the largest self-takeaway I’ve learnt is that I will constantly surprise myself, but never in a million years did I think I would have the ability to try to lead a new lifestyle 16,000 kilometres away from everything that’s familiar to me.

They say travel helps you to find yourself, and I 100% agree; in fact, the only people who I think would disagree are individuals who have never visited different corners of the Earth. In February 2017 I travelled around the United Kingdom and Europe solo for two months; it was the most eye-opening and defining experience of my life. Each of the 13 countries I visited gave me a different perspective, but there was one place where I felt utterly comfortable and completely at bliss.

I’ve always felt like I was on a different frequency in comparison to the general public; like my mind ran on AM whilst everyone else is on FM. It never really bothered me, I didn’t mind being a little different, but every now and then it was a little difficult feeling like you never really belonged amongst any particular clique. I then spent a few weeks in England and it was like the universe shifted ever so slightly and for once I felt like I belonged; belonged in this culture within this little country. It was at that moment that I thought to myself ‘I need to exist here for a little’.

I arrived home from my trip and the post-travel depression kicked in, although as time went on I yearned more than ever to be reliving those couple of weeks I spent in England. It wasn’t that I hated my current living situation, it was more so the craving to go back to the place where I was incredibly happy with no worries in the world coupled with the hankering to experience living a different life.

When people ask me why I want to move to England I always respond with the obvious which continues along the lines of something like “because I holidayed there a couple of years ago and I absolutely loved it”, which is a sufficient enough response for most. Although, every now and then, you get people who probe a little harder, to those people I explain, “I want to live a life that most twenty-two year olds should be living”, and with this statement comes the explanation.

I’ve lived a very sheltered and quiet life for a twenty-two year old and that is completely my own doing. I always lived at home with my beautiful family, I studied hard in high school and busted my ass through a Bachelor’s and Postgraduate degree at university for five years, and at times I worked up to four jobs at once. My social life is relatively dead because I’m constantly tired or busy, and I feel like I’ve missed out on some pretty substantial events. For example, I’ve never been to a music festival, I didn’t start clubbing until I was twenty-one and even now I rarely go out, and I’ve never been in love. Sure, I could do all this in Brisbane, but at the same time I feel like I’ve ‘done’ Brisbane and that, for now, it’s time for a clean slate.

One of the main themes of TV shows like ‘How I met your Mother’ or ‘Friends’ is young people trying to make it in a big city. The premise of both of these shows focuses on young individuals trying to make it as small fishes in big ponds; I want that experience, but tailored to an English environment- something Notting Hill-esque. I want to rent out my own cosy studio flat, I want to be able to walk out my front door and be in the midst of a large city, I want to work a corporate job and climb the ladder, I want to go for beers with friends in the afternoon at a local pub, I want to fall in love somewhere memorable, I want to have the ability to zip across to the other side of Europe for the weekend and explore a different city, I want to develop a small English accent, I want to experience a white Christmas, I want to be in a city where nobody knows anything about my past, I want to be able to say I’ve lived overseas, and I want stories to eventually tell my kids one day.

Everything that I have done between March 2017 and this present day had been done with moving to England in the forefront of my mind. All the money I’ve saved, the career I’ve chosen, the postgraduate degree I’ve studied, everything has been considered with my potential move in mind.

On April the 11th 2017 I wrote a blog post called In Love with London detailing the happiest day of my life, the exact day I realised how completely and utterly in love with England I was. I ended that post with “…one last thing, I will start living in London within the next five years; expect that”. One year, five months and sixteen days later my passport arrived back at the Brisbane UK Immigration Application Centre. I walked inside, not knowing if my Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa had been approved or not. The application officer opened my passport and told me my application had been successful.

On February 1st 2017 I jumped on a plane and flew to London for the first time. On February 1st 2019 I will once again jump on a plane and fly to London, only this time, my ticket won’t be a return ticket.

Racquel Hardie
Racquel Hardie

A twenty-something Aussie woman passionate about travel and documenting everything.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

1 Comment

  1. Monique
    October 3, 2018 / 12:01 pm

    You’re an amazing and incredible person, and I’m so lucky to be able go call you my sister ❤

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