My Grandmother used to tell me that when she would to fly into London, she felt like she was flying home. So when I flew into a faded London Summer on the 2nd August 2015, I remembered her whimsical words. Channelling her, I’ve done my best to connect with this place; the place where millions of people come to make their dreams come true and try their luck at this land of opportunity. I’ve tried to start my love affair with this place, where one can experience an abundance of cultures interlaced together to create a very special mixture of what many people know to be London.
You may have guessed that my #steppedout action for this season is to do with this move. Well, it is but it isn’t. It’s to do with taking a huge step of faith that is scary and unknown – without having everything sorted out and without even closely being able to predict or plan the future years or even months ahead – and following through with it.
We all have dreams that we talk about it. That we would love to do a baking class in the south of France, or run a business that could take them around the world, or fall in love with our ‘one’. The funny thing about dreams though, is that I think there are some of them that we don’t think will actually, practically, ever eventuate. See, as a heart-on-my-sleeve specialist, I have a strong tendency to romanticise things. So I think deep down, if I’m honest, London was one of these romantic dreams for me. A pipedream I liked to talk about, but had I ever actually made the moves to implement it? Had I actually looked at jobs there or made moves to quit my job in Australia? Nup. I think I enjoyed having a distant love-relationship with London and Europe – loving it from afar, having tasted the best of its fruit, but never actually taking the steps to realise the reality of it. This is both the beauty and the danger of such dreams.
But then sometimes dreams do become a reality. They come about when you least expect it and further, they are totally not what you expect! London was and is this for me.
Me in Harley Street, London
So to start, I quit my job in Melbourne. Yikes! I know, no big deal, people quit their jobs every day, for all kinds of reasons. But it’s less common for us to quit our paid jobs without having something secure to go onto, let alone trying to find a rewarding (day) job in another country.
But before I knew I was definitely moving, I did just that. I took the chance to pursue new career opportunities, not knowing exactly what they were. For me, quitting, my first step in this journey, was already out of my comfort zone! Although I consider myself a risk-taker, I am also a people pleaser, and so delivering bad news in a confrontational way to someone in authority is not my idea of fun! But doing it made me realise that I can, and that I will be able to do it again, if and when I need to. So, on that day in July, I went to work not knowing whether I’d have the guts. But the moment that I did it – and I did it! – the moment I had that hard conversation with the boss – was the moment I knew I had made the right decision. After months of tears, questioning myself and my career choice and after living with my impatience for something better to come along; I felt relief, happiness, and peace.
So that brings us to step two. When it actually happened – when my Husband came home and told me he’d taken the job we’d been umming and ahh-ing about taking – I was shell-shocked. What? Really? I was excited because I thought that that was the most normal, expected reaction. Inside, I don’t think I really reacted at all. I was processing. My whole adult life in Melbourne, and it was going to be over. Now I come to think of it – Do I really have to take step two?
Today, marking exactly 3 months since I came, I’m still processing. I don’t feel like I’ve stepped out in doing this unless I really really think about it. Then I have moments where I think (probably mostly when I’m jam packed into the underground tube in central London like a sheep in a pen) ‘holy crap – I’m in LONDON!’ Then there’s moments where I’m sitting in a tiny coffee shop in Camden – the trendy, grungy area of London where I live that is nostalgic of Melbourne – and I forget I’m on the other side of the world to most of my family and friends. Is this whole thing really that bold?
It’s hard to give advice on such a ‘move’ in life, because it’s really going to be different for everyone. Some people love and crave change, others just roll with it, others need absolutely everything in place to feel comfortable, and others are a mix. This is why every #steppedout action, and certainly – most things in our life – are contextual, subjective. Different for everyone. So I would encourage you – think about your dreams, and think about which ones you can make a reality. Think about the when, and the steps you’ll need to take to get there. If it’s possible, and it’s something that you deeply want – not just think ‘would be nice’ or ‘would be fun’ and nothing else – and would add wholeness, richness and fulfilment to your life, then make the effort to take those steps. If it’s right, it can happen.