I have booked a one way flight out of the UK... shocker of the year!
But before I go into the details of the starting point of this intrepid trip, I think I need to explain how and why I have come to this super crazy, nerve-racking and selfish in some ways but oh so exciting decision…
7 years this month I have worked, lived, breathed, and eaten my way through London. I have called it my home, my energy, my catalyst for so much good that has happened in my life. The amount of experiences I have had are uncountable due to so many amazing times in this incredible city with such incredible people. I worked my way from an internship, to a junior designer , intermediate then Senior designer in the 7 years I have worked here, becoming more detailed and educated in what I produce each week. London has brought me opportunities i would never have imagined for my career and looking back now, I still pinch myself with how lucky i have been. London has also introduced me to the most amazing friends I could ask for, who have lifted me when I needed it, and had me crying with laughter till 12 midnight.
The main opportunity of working my butt off are the indulgences of experiences I have had in London but mainly the holidays! and being introduced to is the travelling I have managed to do this due to being so well connected from Londons 5 airports In the second year down here I had managed to save a little money to book a flight to Amsterdam with some friends the first culture trip on my own. It made me catch the bug, this grew to longer trips, a week in Italy, followed by a travelling trip for 3 weeks with a friend around Europe meeting people from the other side of the world.
These type of trips opened up my mind, and my heart to so much more than just the UK and what we had, it pushed me to do things I never thought a girl from a little town called Scunthorpe would ever do, from canyoning in Austria, to travelling to China on my own. Always bringing me back to London, who opened my eyes to history, to work ethics unlike any other, to the real culture of England like after work drinks and dinners, theatre, concerts, music and people from around the world with their own stories and history. Not forgetting the hour I have no lived in for 7 years, starting out with housemates I who turned into friends for life.
However with the good comes the bad. London has definitely been giving NYC a run for its money when it comes to the city that never sleeps. The always switched on attitude to London from the driven careers to the after work drinks. The continuous commuting and noise of transport , the sardine like packed tubes every evening after a tiring day at work. The escapes from London at the weekends, which in turn tired me out for the week starting again on a Monday. The more fun I had, the more energy I have needed and this is the same for a lot of people in London. It sometimes lead to complete exhaustion, days of being completely emotional from tiredness, but still you go on, that’s London Life!
That’s just the beginning, from the stream of social media and messaging, and keeping in touch with friends and family who are and are not in London, feeling guilty or bad for not speaking to for ages but care about so much. The pressures of what everyone else is doing , the FOMO of not being somewhere else, its crazy! But in some ways this all builds up to a 24/7 attitude to life, never switching off. This also lead to a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety due to mistakes from pushing my self and getting pushed too much in certain situations in my work life. Putting too much pressure on my self to be perfect, but also becoming more secluded, less socialable, finding myself anxious when there are awkward silences in a room with friends which is actually just a sign of comfort for others. Over thinking a lot, when actually life should be simple.
The continuous pressure to meet new people, to maybe even be the girl who everyone thinks you are but you are not sure you are anymore… as the happy, energetic talkative and always busy Danielle … Which just wasn’t the case… the past year I have slowed down, revaluated my priorities, had to face a lot of issues I had gained mentally, professionally and physically which are mentioned here.
I have found myself probably overthinking alot of what I should be doing in life, I have talked before about the pressures in society about , “shouldn’t you be settling down, thinking about marriage or kids”, or even “hows the saving for a house going” “whats the next step up at work for you”. But my life has gone a different way, I am single, no where near wanting to buy a house or get married, but at the same time spending money on continuous London rent, and talking to lovely randomers on Social dating apps. Happy with my position at work, but maybe wanting more! Sometimes that upsets and scares me, sometimes I feel liberated. I believe this is called a quarter crisis . Not sure in what direction to go and not exactly sure where you are or what you want in life. In some ways just wanting that few years of drifting, and not moving to enjoy what you have.
With no commitment to anything but a job, ive decided to be selfish for once and not think about the consequences of what I want to do and just go! This is just for me, no one else, to take away the pressures of working, removing the anxious cobwebs which reappearing to experience new things, meet new people, but most of all take a break from my life to appreciate what I have!
So after; 7 years in a shared house in N18, 16 housemates , 3 jobs which have shaped my career into the designer I am now, Over 40 west end shows, 15 stadium and arena concerts, Numerous first times , countless bottomless brunches, 28 afternoon teas , 1 Disney bottomless brunch, over 8000 pounds spent on tube travel (that burns). I NEED A BREAK!
I wont lie, the start of this year was all excitement, the focus of organising , planning and working out where and when I would want to go to certain places. January suddenly became April, then May where I had a trip which would decide everything. If I would enjoy the bonkers trip I was thinking of doing, or if I would hate it . I came back after 2 weeks away in Egypt and Jordan absolutely buzzing and adamant of what I needed to do. With work still stressful, still with gaps and just not the normal passion I had I made the decision .
The first flight was booked on my Birthday as a start to a new adventure I thought it would push me and encourage me to make this feel real and of not going back . In the next month I decided to go full speed ahead booking certain group tours, and finally realising what all my saving has been for, the feeling you get when you press that payment button for a flight is one of adrenaline and excitement.
Soon enough it came to telling work, the worst thing I would have to do! At the point of telling them, I had so many thoughts in my head, should I do this, work was going so well, so much opportunity and really feeling part of a team. But I knew that feeling would come and go if I didn’t do this though. My work took it well, they were excited for me, understood why I needed to do this, and there was luckily for me no negativity just disappointed they would be losing me for a while. The fact is I had to resign, which is completely out of my normal character of needing stability and hating change. Here we go I am free but also unemployed haha!
The nerves have got worse, little by little saying bye too friends for 8 months, packing up my things in the house I have been for 7 years, realising I still have quite a few things to do here before I can go away and not worry about things. One of them being travel insurance, another being the smallest of things like cancelling my gym membership small in tasks but big stops on another part of the life in London. The closer it comes the more nervous I am getting overthinking everything I have booked, actually anxious about the flights. Too just the final good bye to mum and dad at the airport! That worry that I will hate it and this is the worse idea I ever had, but still having that complete faith that it will be the best!
Its time to say goodbye for a while, London and England, goodbye to the routine of 9 to 6 job, and most of all goodbye to my friends and family… The ones who have supported me, been my cheerleaders, been my helping hands and my therapists when needed. The ones who I am going to miss immensely but all understand why I need to do this. I cant wait to experience things I have always wanted to do, learn from problems I face, and become stronger in character, more confident in myself from doing this.
See you all in 8 months, and join me on my travels through this Blog…
Love always Danielle xoxo