Twice a week I’m going to start posting interviews with some fabulous people who are doing the whole living abroad thing. Hopefully these interviews will provide you all with some insight into what you can expect as far as life in different countries.
Also, if you have questions, feel free to get in contact with these wonderful, interesting people. I’m sure they would be so happy to provide you with more info.
Kicking off the series is Roma of Roaming Required. Roma and her husband Russell are originally from Australia, but now they call London home. They have a wonderful travel blog that is filled with info on amazing destinations around the world (plus great pics!) You should definitely check it out here.
Now for the interview…..
- Why did you decide to move to London?
We worked for big companies in Sydney for almost a decade. One day we just said, there’s GOT to be more to life than this! Let’s go see the world. We put the wheels in motion and sold what we could, chucked the rest in storage and left in July 2012.
- What do you love about living in London?
It’s London. It’s the centre of so many things. I have developed a love of theatre, continually feeding my travel hunger and wanderlust. The UK has so much to offer any visitors, so anyone visiting London should also consider getting out of the city and exploring other parts of the UK too.
- What is not so great about living in London?
The cost. I’ve never lived anywhere that costs as much as London. The rental property market is heavily unregulated so there is a huge demand for housing and very little supply which sees prices soar and living conditions drop. Transport isn’t cheap either. While is quick and mostly reliable, the Tube is expensive. Avoiding the Tube is either a bus or a bike, and you can’t really cycle around London unless you’re feeling very brave (that’s slowly being made better by cycle lanes being put in, but that’s having a negative impact by digging up roads which impacts on traffic flow and buses! – Catch 22!)
- What do you do for a living there & what was the job search process like?
In Sydney, I worked in IT and loved it. I had high hopes for finding a job like my old one but I struggled. I was out of work for 3 months and chewed through my entire savings from Aus in that time. I’m now a PA. I don’t mind the job, it’s reasonable flexible and my boss is nice.
- How was the visa process?
I applied for a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa in 2012. That’s the one that used to be called a Working Holiday Visa. The plan was to stay for the entirety of the Visa which is two years. After that expired in 2014 I went home to Australia, Russ was offered sponsorship and stayed. We quickly shipped him to Australia and got married so I could return to the UK under his sponsored Tier 2 visa.
The Tier 5 process is relatively easy. You have to fit the age requirements (under 31) and financial requirements (I think it’s a bank statement showing you have at least £1,890 in savings).
Tier 2 is a lot more complicated. We had to get married to fit the criteria and there’s a lot of paperwork and expense involved.
- What is the cost of living like?
I read this question and honestly let out a big exasperated sigh. London is EXPENSIVE. Compared to Australia, beer is cheap, providing you know where to go! Food can be cheap and entertainment CAN be cheap-ish. It really depends on where you go and the sort of live you want to lead. If you want pay nightclub prices for drinks and hang out at the fancy clubs you’ll pay a lot for booze, food and entertainment but there are cheaper options. You can’t find a cheap rental unless it’s condemned or a cardboard box on the street!
All in all, for the most part, London can be done on the cheap. It’s something I’m passionate about so I find myself writing blog posts and talking to people about how to save money in London.
- Would you like to stay in London long term?
I grew up on the beach so I definitely miss the sun and the ocean. So while we’re definitely here for another year, then we’ll reassess and decide if we want to return to Australia or try somewhere else.
- What are your fave traditional foods that we should definitely try if we go?
Popular foods everyone seems to love are Fish & Chips and Curry. Neither of which I’m not a fan! Other typical British delicacies are Pie & Mash, Sausages & Mash, Afternoon Tea, Salt Beef Bagel – all of which I’ve had and enjoyed!
- What are some places we should definitely visit?
London is great on foot or by bus. I put together a walking route for people to take and Instagram their photos. See most of the sights on foot although it can wear you out! You can’t come to London without hitting the big ones such as Houses of Parliament, London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge.
Museums in London are free, so if you’re into art or history then definitely consider scoping out one or two to spend hours. My personal favourite is a toss up between the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. Science Museum sounds uber geeky but it really isn’t!! They have all sorts of amazing exhibits including some fascinating things from Space!
Don’t forget to take a London Black Cab! They’re famous and the drivers must past the famous “The Knowledge” test before being a taxi driver. They can navigate the hidden laneways of London with their eyes closed. – Very impressive!
Theatre is your thing then don’t pass up seeing a show on London’s famous West End!
- What are some things about the culture we should know before going?
The Brits love a parade and to queue. They’re generally a passive polite bunch who might huff and puff if you take too long at an ATM, but overall you probably unlikely to be yelled at.
Don’t consider using the Underground without an Oyster Card and ensure you have it in your hand as you approach the barrier or huffing and puffing will ensue!!
- Would you recommend it to other people who are interested in moving abroad?
I would. London has so much to offer and yes it’s busy, and yes it’s expensive but it’s London!
Want to follow Roma and Russell’s adventures? Check out their site Roaming Required
And be sure to connect with them over social media!
LIKED THIS? PIN IT!