Home Sweet Home – London

I can’t believe it has already been 3 weeks since my arrival in London. I landed at Gatwick Airport early on the morning of October 18 where my brother had arranged a car to pick me up and drive me to his house. It may seem like moving with only 3 suitcases is not a lot but it is after a red eye flight and trying to maneuver through the busy Underground in London. I didn’t want to brother with the hassle.

I wanted to spend the next few days after I arrived to just relax before I started the job hunt on the upcoming Monday. Before I left Calgary, I hadn’t worked in a few months (if you read my previous blogs, you will know that I hated my last job which lead me to make the decision to move), so it was time to get some money rolling back in. Starting a new career is stressful even if you are staying in the same city or country, so I didn’t really know where to start. Luckily, a few days of scrolling on sites like Reed.co.uk , or Indeed.co.uk and posting my CV (resume) led to a couple of interviews. By Friday I had 2 interviews, which ultimately led to 2 job offers! Once again, it seems like the stars are in alignment for me and this big move. As of October 26, I will be starting my new role at  Canadian Affair as a Canadian Specialist Reservation Agent. Time to test my Canadian knowledge!

Now that I have secured a job and the pressure is off my shoulders, I have almost a month to kill some time. The problem is that as exciting as it may seems to have a month off in London, I have no source of income at the moment. When I was not working in Calgary, I was still doing friends hair on the side to have some money coming in. Here  I don’t have that. AND when I do start work, people in the UK only get paid once a month (as opposed to every 2 weeks in Canada), so I won’t get my first pay cheque until the end of December. Looks like it’s time to be frugal! Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of things to do in London without having to spend a lot of money. One of the best ways is the never ending supply of museums. The majority of museums are free (donations are appreciated) and a person can easily spend an entire day or more in just 1 museum. I know some people may think “how boring” but the museums in London are world renowned and hold many of the worlds most precious and one of a kind artifacts. Not to mention the buildings alone are architecturally fantastic to look at.

Most people think that the City of London is the entire area of London (which is huge) but the actual “City” is only 2.9km². The rest of London is Greater London. The City of London is the area just north of the Thames River and is the financial/business district of London. This area is home to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London, London Bridge and Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. This area is very walkable and a great way to spend a day, snapping photos without spending a lot of money.  All over London, but this area in particular you will find an incredible mix of extremely old buildings (1000+ years old) and new, funky looking buildings that somehow all seems to fit well together. My favourite is the Southwark Cathedral with The Shard in the background. This area is also home to the famous Borough Market, where there seems to be an endless supply of reasonable priced food vendors from around the world. Also if you are a cheese lover, you will be in heaven. There are plenty of cheese vendors who are happy to give free samples of delicious and sometimes stinky cheese.

Over the years, I often get asked how I can afford to travel. Travel does not have to be expensive. It is whatever you make it. You can have an amazing experience on a very low budget in ways that I have stated above. I have experienced both expensive travel where I have been pampered and catered to day and night and I have done low budget backpacking. For me personally, as long as I am getting out there are learning about the country and culture through my experiences (whatever they may be), having fun and seeing the sites, then I am happy. For me, having a butler cater to me is not necessary as I prefer to get to the markets myself and experience the sights, sounds and smells. To me, it all adds to the memories.

Southwark Cathedral and the Shard in the background, London UK