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“I moved to London from Newcastle and I wish I had known these 5 important things before I got here”


In 2015 I moved to London from Newcastle upon Tyne. I was 18 and the move was, of course, a transformative moment in my life – within weeks I had started college, found a job in a busy pub and was living on my own for the first time .

The past seven years have seen a lot of changes in my life – I graduated, spent a year living in Spain lived in six different apartments, worked in four pubs and began a career in journalism. For a year, I even had to flee to the capital, to my mother and father, to save enough money to come back later.

London is a surreal place that continues to fascinate me. My life here is great and I’m very happy, but I think we can all agree that there are times when the stress of the city gets a little too much – living here is a continuous process of adjustment.

If I spoke to my 18-year-old self a day before the big move to the capital, there are a number of tips I wish I could give. Here are some key things I learned to live in London the last few years that I would have liked to have known before I arrived.

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In my experience it is unfair for Londoners to be called rude

1. The “Londoners are rude” stereotype is a lie

So you often hear this line as a northerner – “I bet it was a shock to you coming down here ha ha ha no one is smiling or talking to each other are they – NOT EVEN ON THE TUBE! ? This yawn of a statement is, in my opinion, far from the truth – and it’s something mostly said by Southerners, I found.

This can be quite controversial, and I have to admit that over the years I’ve probably said this myself as lazy chatter. But if I really think about it, I’ve never been sitting in a public environment, like on a subway or form , and I thought, “Do you know what would make this experience better?” If these strangers all started chatting with me and smiling animatedly.

Call me unsociable, but I think the stereotype that Londoners aren’t friendly simply comes down to the size of the place and its huge population – there’s less opportunity for intimate, cozy interactions when you’re packed into a Central Line carriage with 50 commuters.

It is true that the people of the Northeast are, in my opinion, remarkably affable and affectionate. However, people North do not live by default in an episode of Coronation Street – not all of us are bright-eyed talkers, foaming at the mouth in anticipation of the next chance to talk to a stranger. Some people are nice, some are not. The same rule applies in London.

2. Expect to be two things: mocked and poor

There’s nothing wrong with visiting tourist attractions, just because you live in London

I came to London under no illusions that I would roll over the cash, but I wish I had known how important it is to keep an eye on your bank balance in the capital. I’ve found life here easier financially over time, but I’m still shocked at how easy it is to completely wipe out your monthly budget in a weekend.

When it comes to managing money in London , I would tell my younger self that the London spending sting never really wears off. The trick is to remedy that by reminding yourself how lucky you are to live here, how exciting and how fast it is. It is ultimately worth it.

I came to London aware that I didn’t have a particularly strong Newcastle accent, and over the past seven years it has probably softened even more. I wish I had known it wouldn’t save me from the sneers and jeers I often encountered when working in pubs in London. In the end, there really isn’t escape of that.

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3. Citymapper is your friend

Getting lost in London was something I dealt with a lot during my first year here. I knew Citymapper existed when I arrived, but I wish I had realized earlier how life-saving it can be.

Any newcomer to the capital will tell you that being stranded in an unfamiliar area is just terrifying – getting used to the size of London can take months, and I wish I knew how useful Citymapper can be in bringing you back home from almost anywhere with ease.

If I had known how useful apps like Citymapper can be, I think I would have been a bit bolder and braver about traveling farther than my familiar home in east london .

4. Make an effort to get out and move around

It’s easy to get stuck in one area of ​​the capital, but it’s better to get out and move

This brings me to my next point – I think it’s important for anyone new to London to branch out and explore what the city has to offer, especially if you’re a student. It’s easy to stick with what you know, and I explored East London a lot when I moved here, although there are areas of London that I overlooked for a while. time.

I think those of us who live in London are sometimes suspicious of tourist activities, or perhaps we are too caught up in everyday life to pay much attention to it. I’d say that’s a mistake – there’s absolutely no shame in seeing the sights and traveling a bit further.

In particular, even now it’s easy to get carried away with very rarely seeing friends who live on the other side of town. I think it’s important to nurture those friendships in London no matter how far away you live – we’re so lucky to have access to so many amazing travel links here, there’s really no good reason not to make the most of them.

Sure, life can be inconvenient and schedules can quickly get hectic, but I would tell my younger self to get out of my little London neighborhood and see what the city really has to offer – (that said, I don’t live than in the streets far from where I was doing when I was 18. It’s a work in progress).

5. Don’t be afraid to go home

Moving to London is such a big leap, and although many of my lovely Geordie friends have since moved to join me, when I was 18, some didn’t like the idea of ​​moving so far from home. them.

While this view is entirely correct, this attitude sometimes has the negative effect of making people from the North in London reluctant to return home. Whether it’s just for a visit or to return permanently, moving to London from so far away is such an expense and such a hassle that some may think they have to hold on, whatever the weather.

I don’t think that should be the case – even now there are weeks when London is a bit too much, and I worry about the long-term implications of living in such an expensive city. Be open to the idea of ​​moving elsewhere or having regular visits residence is something that I think should be encouraged.

There’s nothing to lose considering that London isn’t always the best place in the world to settle down – being open to this idea can make you enjoy the capital even more.

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