“London is our Never Never Land.”
This is how a late friend of mine described our experience living in the best city in the world. It’s undeniably true.
Living as an expat gives you the opportunity to grow up without growing up. It has provided me an escape from the “expected” path and the ability to carve out my own adventurous one.
A few years ago, as a mid-20-something living in the states, I was desperately craving something more…something different. I hated routine and wanted adventure. While most of my friends were busy checking items off of the “adult” checklist – getting married, having children or buying houses – I was dreaming of seeing the world.
When I was offered the opportunity to move to London for a job, I said yes immediately. For me, going to London was the first step in creating the life that I wanted, instead of the life that everyone expected me to live.
Moving abroad has been a constant source of excitement and wonder. Within the first month of being here, I was off to Beijing and Shanghai for business, on my own. Traveling in China alone was difficult, but amazing nonetheless. One of my favourite moments was visiting The Great Wall and standing there by myself looking over the hills. That memory is mine and no one else’s. I knew that trip would be the first of many, and I was on my way to finding what I was looking for.
Since that first month in London, I’ve travelled to 22 different countries, and over 65 cities. I’ve advanced my career as a global marketer and have been given opportunities that I would have never had if I had stayed in Philadelphia. The people I have met here – who are all in on the secret of this never-ending adventure – are now life-long friends with whom I’ve bonded with in a powerful way.
As I sit here today, on the verge of my 30th birthday, I realize that if I were still living in Philadelphia, I would never have reached my full potential or become the woman that I always wanted to be. Looking back on these past two years brings a huge smile to my face, but also so much anticipation for what’s to come next.
If London is my never, never land, then I never, ever want to grow up.