Have you ever thought about a complete life change? I did and I’m going to share why I decided to move to Europe this year. You’ll either be nodding your head or shaking it, but here goes!
Since September, I’ve been living in the south of England. Maybe you’ll see yourself in my story, or you may think moving at this stage of life is out of the question. Especially to another country!
Although I was born in the UK; my parents, brother and I emigrated to Canada when I was still a toddler. I was thirteen when we moved again to the US and settled in the Boston area.
We made our first trip back to England as a family when I was just 7. Beginning when I was 17, each subsequent trip “home” I undertook on my own. As it happens, I’ve been the only one in my immediate family to make regular trips back to look up cousins and aunts and uncles and you know, reconnect!
I distinctly remember bringing back a sassy pair of kelly green sailor pants with red buttons when I was 17. Flirting with the 70’s but still swinging sixties, I was entranced by Carnaby St. culture. Not to mention the Beatles.
Each visit I’d pack chocolate, biscuits, tea, clothes, whatever I could stuff in my suitcase as reminders of England. It didn’t work. Once I was back in the US, my English dreams would evaporate and I was left with souvenirs that never tasted quite as yummy as they had on British soil.
Have you felt instantly at home in another state or country? As if you belong there. You may not visualize yourself living there but you ease into the culture and food like a native.
I don’t remember a visit (other than when I was 17 and lovesick – whole other story) when I felt ready to come home to the US. Two weeks in the UK always flew by too quickly.
Last year, my boyfriend Jim and I planned a two week trip to London for mid September. We stayed at a fabulous apartment hotel in Westminster London taking side trips to Edinburgh and Paris. Two weeks full of reconnecting with family and exploring exciting new places. I hadn’t been to Paris since I was in my mid twenties!
Did I mention my only son decided to move to London about 8 years ago? He was able to get a British passport on my birth record and stay without needing a visa. So seeing him was my number one focus and we shared lots of great pub lunches, boat trips and museums.
This time I really did not want to come home to the US. It was a wrench to leave my son and my family. Two weeks just wasn’t enough! I kept dreaming of returning and having left my full time job I decided to make this happen.
Due to a family emergency Jim wasn’t able to plan a return visit with me, but I booked a flight from Denver to London with a plan to stay 6 weeks arriving on March 1. My goal? To discover if six weeks would scratch the itch I had for England or would I find just the opposite. That I wanted to make a more permanent move?
I’ll be honest with you, when my return flight touched down in Denver, I did not want to be “home”. I vowed I would find a way to spend at least half the year in England.
My clock is ticking. You know the one I’m talking about. Biological? In a way. Time is not as stretchy as it once was. I’m not sure I’ll have an infinite number of years or the strength to get up and go. It saddened me to be so far from my son and my extended family, to miss out all those years. I just couldn’t hold back how I felt anymore.
So the planning began. First of course I had to get Jim on board. He’s lived in CO almost 30 years, and even though they speak English, the UK is still a foreign country to him!
The power of intention is amazing.
It’s now one year later from our September visit and we’re back in England, starting to live the kind of life I’ve always wanted. Funny now I’m older I actually appreciate being able to walk everywhere, or take a bus or train! In the back of my mind this is a good thing. Staying active and being able to walk to what I need. Having culture and pubs and cafes everywhere you turn is an added bonus. I’m so excited to discover a different culture with my new improved er mature mindset.
Although I cherished my memories of England, I didn’t fully appreciate how English life fits me until now. Seeing family regularly is a joy and I’m rediscovering my love for a good cup of tea. Perhaps the time wasn’t right before and I wasn’t ready. I am now.
What calls to you? Do you have a place you’ve been meaning to visit or family in another country. Perhaps you’re perfectly content where you are. All I’m saying is now is the time to make that change if your heart is calling you.
I’m seeing the difference between being a tourist and feeling like a part of a community. Either way you choose to go out and explore is fine. But immersing yourself in a different culture for an extended period of time is FUN!
I’ll be sharing with you what it’s like to live part time in Europe, how I did it, what I discover along the way.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself, and remind myself I’m in England. For real.