London is a beautiful city. I am one of those arrogant natives that believe that London should become its own independent country, with its own laws, since due to its culturally diverse population (who are undoubtedly more intelligent it seems), we never vote the same way as the rest of the country.*
London will forever hold a place in my heart, as the place I was born and raised, educated, struggled, and succeeded.
There are so many benefits to living in London as a young professional, such as an abundance of bars and clubs, the night tube, shopping centres, entertainment and everything possible on your doorstep. I’ve heard that New York never sleeps; London is definitely that annoying friend saying “don’t go home- stay out and have fun!”
However with the possibility of getting a mortgage becoming increasingly difficult each year due to rising costs of house prices, a lot of people consider moving elsewhere, for a better quality of life.
Private renting is hardly a reasonable second option, with the average Londoner spending more two thirds of their paycheck on rent. I find that unfathomable – what about money for avocados?
In terms of a career, London is one of the most attractive locations to start for most professions. Most of the big companies are headquartered here, and jobs are plenty. You’ll probably find more opportunities in London than anywhere else in the country, which is why so many opt to commute in from far and wide.
Commuting is an option that I’m still unsure about taking at present. Nobody wants to be fired on your first week in a new job because Southern rail are just, well… Southern rail.**
I quite enjoy getting home from work in 30 minutes thanks to my zone two home – a long commute would seriously affect my quality of life. Every morning I endure conversations from my colleagues and friends about the disastrous national rail service in this country – I am in no hurry to make that a part of my life.
I am currently lucky enough to afford to live in London without having to resort to super noodles for dinner. But if I ever find myself joining the 2/3rds-of-my-paycheck club I will be out of here faster than you can say gentrification.
I have always idealized leafy Pinner, close enough to the city but in its’ own little world. I still have that dream, of a good-sized house with en-suite bathrooms, a garden and green space when I open my windows.
Inevitably I think it would make sense to escape to the country*** in the end, unless I have a few million quid spare to claim one of the few suburban streets left in London.
As an ethnic minority woman however, this is often a lot easier said than done. London is such a culturally diverse bubble that it is easy to forget that the rest of the country can contain a lot of prejudiced and narrow-minded individuals. The stereotypical daily mail reader often hails from the suburbs, and you just never know what your neighbors are really thinking of you.
As well as the atmosphere of the area there are still other cultural aspects I’d have to consider. Where can I buy plantain? Do they sell Cantu? Will they have an “ethnic aisle” in my local Tesco? Will my future children be bullied for looking different? Will they grow up with no knowledge of their cultural identity?
Some of these are small sacrifices to make in exchange for a beautiful AFFORDABLE home, with plenty of space. However, for a young professional with little responsibilities I am happy to stick it out in London for now, even if the cost of my future one bedroom apartment could get me a mansion anywhere else. London is the place to be for both my career and my social life.
I attended a blogger meet up event recently and spoke to a beautiful young lady who almost convinced me to move to Leeds. There is a world outside of London, where shops don’t close on Sundays and there are actual real jobs. Who would have thought?
I have a whole lot of researching to do on Life Outside Of London – it may not be as bad as it seems! I’m starting to feel more confident that once I have my family, I’m more likely to put on my hunters, purchase my tweed jacket and say goodbye to the chaotic beauty of the city.
*London would like to remain in the EU, the rest of you can feel free to leave.
**Rain, a leaf, sunlight, that train will be cancelled. Worst train company I have ever heard of.
*** Anything outside of zone 4 is the countryside to a Londoner