I came to London from Adelaide over 5 years ago when I was 22. I gave the parents a kiss goodbye and said “I’ll see ya in about a year or so”. I was in search of a year of travel, excitement, memories, barrels of alcohol and perhaps a girl or 2 to wake up to along the way. The typical Australian time in Europe. While I did find all this and more, I also found a beautiful Mancunian girl named, Flick.
But what happens when your heart skips a beat for another while living abroad? What would happen if you had to choose between this and returning home? Would it be so easy to say goodbye and part ways? Or perhaps you contemplated the thought of 'I won't always call Australia home?'
This is where I find myself.
I am an Australian who has gone and fallen in love with a British girl. I used to hold many preconceived ideas about the English. A bunch of moaners who are crap at all things sport (Olympics aside. Hats off to them there). But this one’s different. She’s high on life, smashes a marathon or 2 a year, wants to explore the world far before settling down with the house and kids AND loves a beer! Definitely everything I want in a girl. I find it hard to believe sometimes but apparently she wants to be with me too and wants to be a part of my life as chaotic as it is.
We met at my local in Brixton after a very boozy day at the Ascot races with a friend. At first we dated casually - we both had our own travel plans already in place so decided to keep things casual and ‘see where we ended up’. We both had been bitten by the travel bug, which at times, had us on either side of the world. I did a 3 month American road-trip and then went back home for 3 months to get a decent summer. I thought after 6 months like most of my flings it would fizzle out and come to an end. It didn’t. This wasn’t just a fling. We met straight back up and continued to see each other. Even when it was her turn to take off on a 7 month trip we stayed in touch as best we could until she came back. Her first port of call after arriving back into Heathrow? – My place.
It hasn’t been the typical relationship by any means. Like when I called her and told her that on our second date she will meet James Franco. Or like when I took a deckhand job on a yacht in Spain in summer 2015 while she had taken a nanny job for 3 American kids which had her all over London and trips throughout Europe. Or like when I was doing nightshift at my hotel, skyping her while she was in Thailand with terrible signal only getting every third word. Yes, this was pretty normal for us as we have basically done 3-6 months together and then apart and while the times apart were tough we don’t believe in holding each other back from anything we want to do. The further I go, the more people I meet (and the more I drink) the more I fall for her. This has so far worked well for us and after a few years now we’re still so excited to be together and see where we’ll end up next. And apparently I am not the only one to be in this situation.
I once met a guy called Michael from Christchurch. Now 38 and married to an English girl with 2 kids he said “My mates went back years ago and I’m still here 14 years later”. Michael says he’s very happy here and intends to stay. With Europe on the doorstep he now calls New Zealand his holiday destination and goes back twice a year including Christmas. A mate of mine, Will from Brisbane is an assistant producer and came over in 2011. Currently dating Hannah who is originally from Gloucestershire. They’re both loving the crazy London life with “No intention of going back anytime soon”.
It seems more and more Australian’s, Kiwis and people from all over the world really are no longer doing the “year or 2” stint but trying so much harder to stay. And it’s not surprising why they want to call London home, indefinitely - It’s a highly addictive city to be in!
I do miss my family and friends back home but thanks to Iphones, FaceTime, skype and flights home becoming quicker the world has become smaller and smaller.
Getting on that plane in 2009 was by far one of the best decision I’ve ever made. The places, experiences and the people I’ve met these past years have all brought me here and I don’t intend of giving it up just yet. I have now accepted the fact that one day I may call the U.K and London my home (or perhaps I always was no matter what I did. Oooooooo deep!)