Londonsurvival maybe on the move

An opportunity has arisen whereby I could be relocating to Vancouver.

Having only ever moved from the south coast of England to London this is a daunting prospect though.

What do I do with my stuff, is it worth shipping it?  Will my cat cope with the journey?

And ultimately what do I change this blog title too?!?

This opportunity has always been on the horizon for years due to my partners offices being there, they also have one in LA, but I really don’t think LA and I would mix.   I like to walk a city and amble around taking in my bearings and I heard they arrest you for putting one foot in front of the other in LA.

The possibility has suddenly become a reality, he is over there now taking in the beer pumps of Gastown.  They want him to stay but as soon as they say that you start thinking of actually what a hassle moving abroad would be and all you have to organise – I’ve only just renewed a 2 year mobile contract for goodness sake!

I would have no job, this is a huge factor, he may earn enough to support us in the interim but  I have worked in my company 15 years and it  offers me incredible security especially in a job market that has been suffering.  Can I start over somewhere else given my obvious lack of ambition to further my career in the past.   And then what when I inevitably move back to London….at 37 it’s scary thinking I could be throwing away a good wage, a secure job to then never know what is around the corner, especially since I won’t be able to rely on my looks to get me a sugar daddy when I hit 40.

Then I still need a visa, complicated by my past run ins with the law, so I may be declined after giving it all this thought.

What about the weather – I moan about Britain’s incessant rain – isn’t Vancouver worse?

And then there are my friends, who I would miss terribly.  And of course my city,  I miss her when I am away for two weeks let alone being torn away for good.   And with only 10 days holiday a year in Canada, how will I fit in my jaunts to Thailand, visiting London aswell as the numerous other trips I squeeze into my 25 days a year I get now?

The ideal scenario is to not have to make a snap decision, there still may be a chance of him flitting between the two cities for the time being leading to a permanent move in a years time, I think I would need that time to sort everything.

Have any of you made a move abroad?  What were your experiences?

Leave a comment


  1. I just know here in the US just moving from one state to next can be daunting but to move abroad??? Holy Canoli! I can not imagine.

    • Yeah, I expect that is. Such a vast place that it would be a completely different experience living in another part of the US.

  2. Moving in general just freaks me out. All the packing. On the other hand, moving abroad could be a really cool adventure!

    • I know, we accumulate so much stuff. I’m inclined to get rid of everything and just take my clothes, laptop and my cat and start over!

      • That truly is not a bad idea.

        • Before I met my partner I moved around a lot in London, always only had clothes and about 500 CD’s. Luckily the Ipod came out so I could get rid of the CD’s. But you do end up accumulating so much, I like having a clear out buy he tends to hoard so that will be a challenge.

    • I already found the Liverpool FC Vancouver supporters club. So football would be sorted.

      Then just need to find the Canadian alternatives to my current friends. I’ll just head to one of the gay bars and ask the barmen who are the sluttiest of the regulars.

  3. I am with Ginger…go for it. I have been transferred with a company to different parts of the US, much like leaving one country for another. I never put an ocean between places, but if you cannot walk there, it may as well be an ocean away.

    • It does sound like a good opportunity. Most of my friends are in the baby phase and buying houses slowly whittling down or social network. And since my cat won’t become pregnant then I have nothing else to settle down for!

  4. I haven’t moved abroad for a long long time, but I did just visit Vancouver and can tell you that it is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Whether it’s a walking city I can’t say, but if you’re interested in majestic natural surroundings, Vancouver’s the place. It would also be a great jumping off point for some interesting trips — Japan, San Francisco, Hawaii. And Canadians are really nice.

    • That would have been my next post, who has been there. I am trawling google images and it looks incredible. Sparkling and clean as opposed to London. The idea of strolling the seawall of a weekend with that view is enticing. They don’t like smokers much though do they? I suppose I should quit anyway…

    • Oh and I need a whole other visa for America, just to holiday there.

      I’m applying for that one too as it will last 10 years if granted.

      The things you do in your youth…

  5. Holy crap!
    I know what I’d do. i guess the big question is, what would you regret more – going or not going?

    • A friend said the same thing. I would regret not going, I could even get into the outdoors and adventure type things, like walking up a hill

      Sounds like my partner is up for it, I need to talk to him when he’s back. Then I have to beg for a visa. I may as well, as much as I love London I would otherwise be in this job another 15 years quite happily, but that’s not really the point in living is it.

  6. If you’re worried about the amount of days you get for holiday then don’t move to the US. We really don’t have any unless you’re a big shot.

    Maybe you could go on a holiday to Vancouver to test it out? You shouldn’t move there without understanding what it’s like. Who knows. You could fall in love with the city.

    • That would be a good idea! I was hoping to go in the next couple of weeks but work got too busy, and I even need a visa for a holiday. I guess my choice is go, or be single.

  7. We Canadians are not so bad and Vancouver has lovely weather…compared to out here in Newfoundland, anyway. Moving is painful, but what a great experience you would have. A good friend of mine had relocated from Toronto to France with her husband and new baby and they lived there happily for 18mths, until he was transferred back to Toronto…good luck with your decision!

    • Thanks! You’re the first Canadian to respond so it is good to get some feedback from that angle.

      I can always come back, there’s always opportunities in London

  8. Elaine Van Staalduinen

     /  February 5, 2013

    I’ve moved from Victoria, British Columbia to Toledo, Spain. I lived there for 10 years and recently reversed the move returning to Canada but moving to a small village outside of Nelson in the Kootenays, B.C. I mailed 9 30K parcels almost all were my art books, and packed one suitcase with art supplies (extra suitcase); dumped all my clothes except what would fit in a suitcase. I’m a food ingredient collector so that was all gifted to friends. My cleaning supplies went to a neighbour that I didn’t know but bumped into in the hall. It was November and I felt a little like Santi. Sold a few things, recycled, gave even more away and trashed stuff. I had momentary panic attacks, went the should I ship route and paid money even without shipping in the end. Had the last visits, the tears, no doubts because in my heart it felt right. My head messed me up so I tried to ignore thoughts and just keep organizing and staying on track. It truly is a process so ride it out.
    You have Skype and other ways of communicating with friends, and you’ll make new ones. You don’t have work; you’ll get work (if you want it). You’ll feel different, out of place; accept it and enjoy the new personal challenges. You speak English which puts you ahead of millions of other immigrants even if Brits and Canadians are from very different cultures.
    Moving is always an opportunity to grow, learn about yourself and all the people around you and not around you (having been left behind).
    Get out of your head where all that fear and uncertainly is creating monsters. If you are going to do it, just take one step at a time – that way you’ll be working with the change and have time to integrate some of it. I remember when I moved to Spain. My first words were: What have I done? It took me a few years to settle into living abroad but everyone is different.
    You could always call your blog: Londenersurviving. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, so much helpful advice. And I love the blog title! Moving to a country with another language is even more daunting.

      It may not happen til much later in the year now which puts my mind at rest a lot as I like to do things at a pace but not rushed, I need to organise things properly.

      I was most worried about work as I am very settled where I am but then I thought of another 15 years and most of my working life in the same company filled me with much more fear than the thought of moving abroad. When people around me make decisions like buying a house or having a kid thinks I am not in a position to do financially in London or not wanting them (kids) I can kinda see myself being left behind in London or muddling through doing the same things for years to come.

      It’s time for a change I think, and it will never be as easy with the security my partner has access to move abroad fairly easily. It’s like one step is already taken care of in that sense so there isn’t as much to worry about really. it’s actually a lucky thing to be able to have an opportunity to move the more I think about it, majority of people have few options in life.

      I will definitely follow your lead in getting rid of most of my stuff, I never used to collect things but settling with a partner put paid to that, I moved about 10 times in London and never used to have anything. A fresh start all round is in order.

  9. You will be closer to mje… just saying… and keep the blog name… it will become cool/ironic… or just add ‘Away from” to the front.

    • Yeah, I checked as my friend is living in SF for a year too, only a couple of hours…a weekend away! That helps since the 10 days holiday that as standard is worrying me, I’m used to a lot more

      • Welcome to the new world.

        • I just hope it comes off now, I convinced myself it’s a good move overnight.

          Could still be 6 months or more away, but should be done by end of year if they can keep the job offer open for him, he may go back there every month or so to keep them sweet. Though what he does recruiting for artists to work on movie special effects he can pretty much do it by flitting between cities and doing a lot of Skype interviews.

  10. I moved from the west coast to the east coast — it may as well have been abroad. I think your instincts are good to avoid LA. You’d have no time to blog for all the time you’d be stuck in traffic.

    • I don’t drive, I need a walking city or one with good public transport that isn’t full of crack heads.

      It’s weird thinking of the size of your country and Canada, in Europe it is so easy to fly to another country in a couple of hours to have a completely different experience. Then I remember when I went to Australia, form when we first flew overland it took 8 hours crossing the country to reach Brisbane, that’s insane.

  11. The only place I ever moved to was to London, and I knew it would be only for a year because I was in school. I’m not sure what I’d do if I was presented with the opportunity to move because of my work or my partner’s work. How does he feel about the idea? I’ve heard Vancouver is very pretty but that’s about it. But you’re right in thinking that LA would be a bad idea. I can’t imagine even going there for a trip, much less to relocate there.

    • I love the NY/LA rivalry. NY would win and I haven’t even been there, I know it would be right up my street. Shame he has no offices there or I would jump at that one.

      Vancouver seems very outdoorsy which isn’t me at all, I like a walk if I get a drink at the end of it as reward but hiking isn’t my idea of a walk. I don;t need much, a couple of good bars, some good restaurants, a good gig venue, independant cinema, that would do me.

      As he is there now I think he is wanting to go, but looking like he is trying to flit between London and VC for the next few months with aim to move nearer end of the year, that suits me better, not so much panic to it.

      I’m only worried as I have a secure job for 15 years here and good network of friends, though some are settling down now and buying places and planning kids, maybe it’s time for a change to shake things up. Otherwise as much as I love London I would stay in my job another 15 years.

      Maybe there is nothing wrong with that, but we’re never here for long, we should experience as much as possible. (He also has an office in Bangalore but I think Vancouver will do for now)

  12. I’ve never moved abroad, but I’ve known quite a few people who have and somehow it always seems to work out just fine. I’m sure viewing it as an adventure helps. Good luck!

    • Thanks! I have spoken to friends who have done it and you have to get round the nerves and take a leap. It was easy to move out of my hometown to London for all it had to offer. I just feel like I would be cheating on my city 🙂

  13. Vancouver has a bakery that makes the best chocolate cookies in the world. So there’s that.

  14. It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful & no courage in hanging onto the familiar. There is more security in the adventurous & exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. Plus this would get you closer to the States for that much thought about vacation.

    • Thanks for this, I am practically convinced to do it now and not worry about work etc.

      I had a thought as I walked over the railway bridge near work that I have done that walk for 15 years and as much as I like my job, the idea of another 15 years scared me more than the thought of doing something new.

      I discussed with friends last night and one replied, “Canada is in the middle of nowhere” Did they think I was going to live with Inuits out on the icy plains?!

      I think they meant it is not as connected as say London where you can go to countless other countries in two hours, it is great we can do that but how often do we do that, only a couple of times a year. Like you say, I can go to countless places in America, or stay in Canada, South America too is more accessible. Right now I go to Europe or over to South East Asia mainly for my trips, it would just open up a different opportunity to see the other places I haven’t made it too.

      I just hope I get the visa or all planning will be wasted! 🙂

  15. London2VancouverSurvival

    DO it!! Moving abroad broadens your horizons, gets you out of your comfort zone… London will still be here when you’re done and Canada’s beautiful.

    And yes in LA they’re very suspicious of people who use their legs not their cars. The trick is to convince the police you’re harmless YOU JUST DIDN’T KNOW it was illegal to use sidewalks.

  16. Oh this is a hard decision Joe. I just hope that you will have a year to decide. Maybe go on a few trips over there and see what you think. I’ve always found that once the excitement of a new place has worn off you definitely start missing home. Of course, I’ve never been in another country, except LA, but it would be nice if you had more time to think it through.

    • Thanks, it’s looking like my other half will be going for 6 months and coming back for a month to help move. I just need to get a visa, I may not even be accepted which will be awkward! 🙂

      I don’t have the cash or the time to visit beforehand, I will rely on my gut instincts which have served me well so far. I’ve always thought about there before it was a feasible reality for some reason, no idea why, I smoke for one and seems they detest them out there. Oh well, I need to quit anyway.

      I will miss London but I don’t do all the things it has to offer anymore, I think I’m ready for a change. The 2 weeks holiday a year is a bummer though, I wont; be able to come back and visit that often as I’ll be too busy exploring other places nearby.

      • Well, it sounds like you are definitely leaning towards the move and if you do that will be very cool. Vancouver is a beautiful place. We used to live in Seattle and would visit there occasionally and we always thought it was really nice and it’s really clean too!

        Not having time off would be a bit of an adjustment. But everything will feel so different maybe you won’t mind so much that you can’t travel as much.

        You can never go wrong relying on your instincts, that’s for sure!

        • Thanks Linda, I’m only moving to help quit smoking since they will persecute me for lighting up! 😀 I can probably manage working part time, I hope so so I can spend more time getting to know the city and its surroundings and may take writing more seriously, or give it a bash at least.

          • Oh it is sooo hard to quit smoking. My son is always trying to quit. The only thing I can recommend is to just keep trying over and over again and at some point it will stick.

            Oh that would be exciting to move to a new country, work part time and really get into writing. Oh what an exciting turn of events your life is taking! It’s going to be fun to follow along on your new adventure! 😀

            • Just heard from my partner, he hasn’t smoked since he has been there for 3 weeks. It must be the company we keep! I’m a bad influence

              • Okay that does it. You definitely have to go! I am so happy to hear that. It would be a lot easer to quit in an unfamiliar environment because you wouldn’t have your usual triggers!

                • True, my smoking is all about routine, I spark up at the same time in the same spots throughout the day, timed to perfection to catch my train.

                  • I remember that routine so well. I’ve never done anything as regularly as smoking. You never ever skip it! Oh and all the money I spent. And that was back when cigarettes were only 50 cents a pack! Oy! I read in a really old book I found at the thrift store that if you take some tobacco out of your cigarette and put it in your gums everyday for two weeks, your cravings will be gone. And who knows it just might work.

                    • That’s gross! But I can see why it would work, would put you off for good. Your thrift stores are an Aladdin’s cave!

                    • They really are, but oh how would love to go to some Thrift stores in London!! It seems like a person might come across Jack the Ripper’s knife or something. Oh Sweeny Todds pie tin.

                    • You would be disappointed, I never find anything interesting, that’s why I am so amazed by the treasures you find

                    • Didn’t know the forum rules allowed such brilliant posts.

  17. Another Canadian piping in here! I don’t live in Vancouver, it’s too big a city for me but it is very pretty! The views of the mountains & the ocean are just breath taking. There are 10 statutory holidays in Canada & then most companies offer at least 2 weeks vacation for new employees which is another 10 days of holidays. A lot of employers offer 3 weeks to new employers depending on the company so that would be 15 days on top of the 10 stats (so there’s your 25 days!)
    Smoking is a bit of a problem here & cigs (or fags – do Brits still use that term?) are incredibly expensive in British Columbia. I have a friend who lives there & they were a lot more expensive than anywhere else in Canada. Smoking is also frowned on anywhere near a building, you cannot smoke at all under any kind of roof even if all other sides are open to the air, you cannot smoke in your own vehicle if you are transporting a child. I am a former smoker who quit almost 14 months ago & it was kind of tough even then & it’s gotten worse since then. I can’t speak for public transportation in Vancouver because I’ve never lived there, but go to the City of Vancouver site on the internet & check out what they have to offer.
    We Canadians are very nice people. Vancouver is very diverse so you could probably still get a lot of the types of ethnic foods so popular in London. But Vancouver is very expensive to live in. Come for a holiday, you’ll want to stay!

    • Thanks for the advice, all very useful!

      I am planning to quit the fags (you are correct!) so if I have to move to a place where you are looked upon as pure evil for sparking up can’t be a bad thing to help me do it.

      Still unsure of the holidays, I get 25 plus our 8 bank holidays(national holidays). Maybe I will just work part time…

      Funny you said it is too big a city, Iooking at maps I thought it small, but then I am not factoring int he sprawl surrounding the downtown area. I was just told as he was dining out that restaurants were expensive and food shopping, but then he is terrible with budgets, I am great at shopping around so I am sure I can do better than he has managed.

      Rents definitely look cheaper than London, prices here are crazy right now, and looks like you need less of a deposit upfront, it;s about 6 weeks rent plus a month in advance you need here. Then all bills on top in London so we pay about the equivalent of $2800 a month in London, I’ve been seeing places half that in Vancouver. His job pays more than London too – a sweetner to move over, I can earn less, giving up fags will make up the shortfall 😀

      Also looked at things I like, gigs, theatre, cinema, and all cheaper than London. My advice is don;t visit London, it will cripple your wallet!

      Since I wrote the post I have completely made my mind up and resolved my nerves, I am dying to go now! I just better see I get the visa…..

      • I didn’t realize London was so expensive! Once you get here, just pop across the Rocky Mountains & come for a visit, OK? There would only be a whole mountain range between us.

        • Ooh, where are you?

          London is extortionate, you can earn well but rents are shooting up as mortgages are unavailable so landlords are taking advantage and everyone is stuck in a rental trap. I am lucky to have been in a great area – Camden Town with loads going on, and have a landlord appreciating good tenants, and I have a small house and garden, rare in this area. Now rents gone up a lot I would have to move 3 zones out in the suburbs and only get an apartment and still pay the same. Everything else you can use offers to do fun things, just takes bit more effort to hunt things down but then you discover hidden London that way.

          Fingers crossed I get a visa, looking like it would be about 6/7 months from happening now, so its good to have time to plan. And if its rejected, well London isn’t a bad place to stay!

          • I’m in Edmonton, Alberta – just 1 province over from British Columbia. Alberta is the province of cattle ranches & oil. Because of the mountains, it would be about a 12 hour drive away.

            • That would be like 2 trips up and down the UK! I love how things are gonna expand. I love feeling small in London amidst its history, but looking forward to feeling small in Canada due to nature.

              • Canada is a very big country. My children live in Manitoba which is a 15 hour drive away. Geographically it looks farther away, but it’s all straight prairie between us so you can drive faster than through mountains. You will love the mountains I think! They are so rugged. Hubby & I travelled to Old, AB yesterday for a job interview & we caught sight of the mountains again – they are majestic! Where I live is just rolling hills & the beginnings of the prairies.

  18. You’ve already received some great advice. I can understand why this is a dilemma for you. While it is huge move, and there is your job to worry about, I like the idea of viewing it as a new adventure. I was JUST saying to my husband how I would love to move out of the country once the kids are gone. There are so many places I’d like to experience. If only I was younger and richer and childless, I’d probably be living in Italy by now. I say, you should go for it. Especially since your partner is already secure in his job etc.

    As for LA, I’ve never been to Cali. I don’t think I’d like it much. I loved living on the west coast though, such a different world from the east. I found the northwest to be full of friendly, outgoing people (unlike Maine!) And the landscape was gorgeous, the trees, the rainforest, the mountaints. I still miss it to this day.

    • I’m applying for an American visa too so I can holiday there when I move, but Seattle will be so close, I will definitely check it out.

      I have be reassured seeing what I can earn there if I get a job and even what I can earn if I move back to London, I can get more for doing less! Shows how cosy I have been in my job I have never bothered comparing to others.

      I’d prefer to start a part time job in Vancouver so can get to know the city, I’ll be quitting smoking which will make up the difference,

      Fingers crossed I get the visa now! Was on the tube yesterday and was mental busy, I finally thought I had done London now and time for a change. A month ago I wouldn’t have imagined it,

      Never too late to do stuff, my parents never left the UK in 40 years and now they are older they started seeing Europe and are loving it.

  19. I’ve never moved abroad, but I can say that Vancouver is wonderful. I envision the winter being more days of drizzle than of rain, but I may be wrong. Ask Clanmother – a very nice, smart lady from Vancouver.

    Meanwhile, keep the URL and possibly change the blog title.

  20. Wow, you’ve got a big decision to make. My cousin lived in Vancouver for a few years and loved it, but she’s very outdoorsy. Good luck!

    My daughter is going to Brighton to study this summer – is that where you’re originally from?

    • Going all the way to Brighton! I’m from the next biggest town Eastwards on the coast called Eastbourne, famous for slightly older residents than Brighton!

      Brighton’s a fun place though, nice vibe, and only an hour on the fast train to London to explore too. Is she there just for Summer? If they get a summer the beach gets packed but it’s formed of pebbles, for sand you need to head west towards Bournemouth. Brighton’s great for exploring the little shops around The Lanes. If she is there longer, a town called Lewes nearby has the biggest Bonfire night celebrations in the area, on or around November 5th. Hope she enjoys it (when not studying hard of course!)

      I’m decided that I will go to Vancouver, visa pending of course, I’ve done London now, it will always be special and I may come back, but it’s important to try something else out for a while.


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