Keep Calm I'm Moving to London

My Living in London Bucket List

Confession: I haven’t told my work that I am moving to London. Since I haven’t even applied for my ancestry visa yet, I feel that’s fair. But it is very, VERY hard to concentrate on my work when all I can think about is my new life in London!

Keep Calm I'm Moving to London


I want to experience as much as I can there and not waste a day. I am going to resist my natural urge to hang out in my jammies and watch my latest Netflix obsession. How can I when there is so much in London and the UK to do!

And so, inspired by “100 days of happiness”, bucket lists, and photo-a-day type projects, I am going to create a Living in London bucket list, so I can be sure I make the most out of this adventure.

My goal is to do something new from the list each day (bonus for doing more than one!)


What’s on my list?

I’ve started with touristy type items, since I haven’t been to the UK before, there are an awful lot of to add. I’m not restricting the list to just London activities – there are many day, weekend, and maybe even longer trips I hope to take. London is a great home base for traveling to Europe. I’ve also been adding things I’ve read on websites, blogs, and twitter that other travelers, expats, and locals are doing and places they’ve been going to.

I would like to come up with at least a year’s worth of things to do. Some are momentous and require some planning, while others are little things that can be done on a whim. I’m sure my list will grow when I get to London, but at least I have a place to start.

Without further ado, my must-do-a-day list (in no particular order):

  1. Big Ben
  2. London Bridge
  3. Piccadilly Square
  4. Notting Hill
  5. Pose in front of a red telephone box
  6. Westminster Abbey
  7. St Pauls Cathedral
  8. London Underground
  9. Try a chip buddy butty (thanks FM ;)
  10. London Eye
  11. Platform 9 ¾
  12. London Open Top Bus tour
  13. Take a river cruise on the Thames
  14. Go to Beigal Bake on Brick Lane
  15. Harrods
  16. Primark
  17. Oxford Street
  18. Camden Markets
  19. Covent Garden
  20. Borough Market
  21. Twinning’s Tea Shop
  22. Have traditional afternoon tea
  23. Go to Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe
  24. National Gallery
  25. British Museum
  26. Tate Modern
  27. Tate Britain Galleries
  28. The Guildhall
  29. Natural History Museum
  30. Visit the tombstone of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard
  31. Shakespeare’s Globe.
  32. Watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony
  33. Visit the 5 Historic Royal Palaces
  34. Worlds oldest hat shop, Lock and Co
  35. Kew Gardens
  36. Abbey Road
  37. Trafalgar Square
  38. Walk over Tower Bridge
  39. Painted Hall in Greenwich
  40. Feed the ducks, swans and squirrels in St James Park
  41. Portobello Road
  42. Soho Noses
  43. Visit family in Scotland
  44. Visit at least two countries in Europe
  45. Eat Yorkshire pudding in Yorkshire
  46. SantaCon
  47. Christmas pudding race in Covent Garden
  48. Good Sunday at Widows Son in Bow
  49. Circle line pub crawl on the 6th Feb (or the nearest Sat!)
  50. Row a boat in Regents Canal
  51. Prince Charles Cinema’s themed nights
  52. Food market in Greenwich
  53. Victoria and Albert Museum
  54. Ghost bus tour
  55. Cocktails in the OXO tower
  56. Highgate Cemetery
  57. Sherlock Holmes pub and Restaurant
  58. 221b Baker Street
  59. Have a pint at the Cheshire Cheese on Fleet St.

Hmmm…. looks like I’m going to have to do more research if I’m going to do a least one thing a day for a year!

And here’s where I need your help. What sights, places, events, or restaurants would you recommend I add to my London bucket list?



A little history repeating

Gathering the documents I need for my visa application has been like an episode of “Who are you?”

Yesterday, my father pulled out a wooden box I have never seen before. Inside were papers and documents from my Nana and Papa’s past. My Papa’s birth certificate from 1923 Scotland. Nana and Papa’s wedding certificate. My father’s Trinidadian birth certificate. Even my Nana’s UK passport stamped with her exotic travels and her immigration visa to Trinidad in 1952.


Nana's passport from 1952


Nana age 26

It dawned on me that it’s really not surprising that I have always yearned to travel and live in foreign lands – both sets of grandparents made the big move from their birth countries (Scotland & Denmark) to Canada. Their adventuous spirits are reflected in me.

I have almost all the documents I need now to apply for my visa! I just hope that it’s enough to be approved….


Wishing and hoping,


The waiting game

Remember the days when you wished that time would hurry up so you could be an adult and do adult things and wear adult clothes and have an adult life like they have in the movies?

Time moved so slowly back then.

Not now though, time now moves quickly – too quickly.

As soon as you become an adult time speeds up. I have been complaining about how fast this year has been going by, but actually, it’s been the past decade that has been going by at warp speed.

Until today. Today I notice how slowly the past month has been moving. I am just as busy with work as I have been over the past year, but all of a sudden time has begun to drag.

“Is it really only September still?” I moaned to myself this morning.

Why is time suddenly moving at the speed of snail?

It’s because I have something to look forward to now. Just like a did as a teen waiting for the day I would be an adult, I am now waiting for the day I will move to London.


Sure, I have plenty of things to do before I leave. I’m applying for my Visa in November. I have to pack up all my belongings that I will be storing at my parents’ house. I have to determine what I am going to bring with me to London. I have to buy my plane ticket and arrange my accomodation (with a friend) for the first bit that I’m in London. I have to get my resume together and get letters of recommendation for everything. I have to spend as much time as I can with family, friends, and my furbaby (extra time with him, of course). And the list goes on and on.

But still, four months is an awfully long time to wait for something new and exciting to happen.

Waiting not so patiently,

Expat Tips: What’s that you say?

Yes, I speak english. Yes, I’ll be moving to the english speaking motherland. But just because we essentially speak the same language doesn’t mean we’re going to understand each other. Like every culture there is a local slang/lingo and even the same word may have two different meanings.

For example, here in Canada, if I said, “I like your pants” I would be referring to the piece of clothing you wear that covers each of your legs (like jeans). But if I said the same thing in England they will think I am referring to their underwear. Now that would be embarassing!

Here are a couple of other examples:



Are there any others that aren’t listed here that you know of?



Moving to London – step by step.

So now that I’ve decided to make a big move to London (eeeee!), I have to get the ball rolling and make this dream happen. Sure, my idea to move to London was somewhat spontaneous, but I can’t just up and move there on a whim. I need to do research, make plans, and create some lists…actually, lots of lists.


Step 1: VISA
This isn’t a holiday I’m planning for. The goal is to move to London and get a job. There are a few different types of UK work/travel Visas that are available. I am fortunate enough to have grandparents who were born in the UK (Scotland to be exact) which entitles me to an Ancestry Visa that allows me to live and work in the UK for 5 years. According to the website it is best to submit your application 3 – 3.5 months before you plan to leave.

Of course, this depends on your situation, but for me there were several factors to consider.
1. I want to finish off the year with my current employer. It will be a cleaner break that way and will give me time to train my replacement. Also, if I stay the full year, l (hopefully) will be able to get the performance bonus.
2. I would like to spend Christmas with my family and friends since I won’t be seeing them for many holidays after that.
3. I’m using these few months to save as much money as possible and hopefully provide a little financial cushion during my first couple month abroad.
4. Flights are cheaper in the winter months.
5. I don’t think I could wait any longer!

With all this considered, I decided that February 1, 2015 eill be a good day to move… that’s only 5 months away!

So here’s the kicker…I’ve actually never been to London. Why make a big move there? First and foremost, it’s bloody LONDON! Also, I’ve been told by many that I will love it there and it’s a great homebase for travelling to other countries in Europe. And I am a great fan of British televison, tea, dry humor (and most kinds of humor), history, and british accents (aren’t we all?!).

Most of my research so far has been reading blogs and forum posts by expats (Canadian, American, Australian, New Zealand, etc.) It’s been great to get the perspective of someone who has made the big move already. The tips and suggestions have been great!

Here is a list of the blogs I’ve been reading:

Next steps:
1. Continue my research. Who do I know in London, near London, or who do I know who knows someone in London? (Another list – I really love making lists!)
2. Time to share the news with family and close friends (and prepare for nay sayers).



make a change

Take a chance. Make a change. Move to London.

We are young.
Living moment to moment.
We are free.
With no promises, no regrets.
Life is a battlefield.

Ok, so I know these aren’t the actual words to Pat Benatar’s “Love is a battlefield”. But I love the sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs tune and these wordswork much better for my situation. I am not desparately in love. I am desparately trying to find my way in life.  (I have a case of the twenty-something-itis)

I went to school, got a job, and live in the big city with my dog. It’s all good. But not great. (Except for my dog – he’s great!) I feel lost. As though each new year has flown by faster than the last, but I’m stuck, getting older, but not better.

I can’t help but compare where I am in life to where my peers are. What I notice is that my peers are at that stage where they are progressing in their careers, buying houses, getting married and even having children. I am no where near that stage. I am not earning nearly enough to even consider a mortgage and my relationship status is desparately single with a good chance of spinsterhood (I’m far too picky, insecure, and overly independent). This was all very depressing.

Note to self: refrain from comparing your life to others. It will only end in tears and cookies.

So, I have spent the last year feeling aimless, uninspired, and ashamed of my lack of progress…essential I am sucking at my game of life. But then I had a light bulb moment.

No, my job isn’t great, I don’t have a husband, a mortgage, or baby in the oven…and that is the perfect position to be in to make a big move! I DON’T HAVE ANY COMMITMENTS! (Except for my furbaby, but I’ll figure that out later).

I can do what many others now wish they could do. I’m going to move to LONDON!

Immediately after that light bulb lit up (my guiding light you might say), I began to feel like I had a purpose again. I have something to look forward to. A new challenge to take on!

And so, here begins my journey from my home in Canada to my new adventure across the pond in England. I am both extremely excited and petrified, but what is life without challenges and change?

Next steps:

  1. Make a plan (research, research, and more research)
  2. Break the news to my family (always have the plan ready first!)