5 Steps to Moving Anywhere

Since moving to London, several people have reached out to me as to how I managed such a move (from Canada to UK). Here are 5 tips to move your life to this amazing city (of course, you can use these tips for any city you desire to move to). It’s also essentially the 5 main things I did in order to get here, but understand that every person’s situation may be different! Here it goes..

1. Contact everyone you know who lives in that city (as appropriate)

When I knew I wanted to move to London, I contacted everyone I knew who lived in the city (Facebook and LinkedIn). Most of the people in London who I knew also made the big jump to the city, and was eager for more people to join them! Once I started skyping/talking to these friends and acquaintances on the phone, many were eager to introduce me to people in their network who were working in a similar field or had experiences that they feel would be relevant for my move to London. This step is probably the MOST important as 1) it convinced me that I absolutely wanted to live here from the chats I had with people 2) it got me totally stoked and 3) talking to these people ultimately landed me a job in London.

2. Visit the city (especially if you’ve never been before)

I had personally never been to London before I decided to move here, so I invested in a plane ticket to the city and immersed myself as much as I could (walks around the city and different neighbourhoods, met people who lived here, met with recruiters, go to interviews if I was able to manage it in my time slot that I was here!). If you’re afraid to quit your 9-5 before moving here, you can use your vacation time as your “networking” time in your dream city. Pre-plan as many meet ups as you can before you get to your dream city. However, London is such an incredibly busy/international commerce city that I’ve had multiple friends come here with no job lined up. They did have a working visa and was able to get a job within a month. I strongly encourage that to people who absolutely do not want to stay wherever they are, they may has well hit the ground running in the dream city and fully dedicate to being there!

3. Get your VISAs in order

As a Canadian who’s under 30, there’s the phenomenal Tier 5 – Youth Mobility Visa – that allows any Canadian to work in the UK for two years. Based on my sample size of five people who’ve applied for it, you almost never get rejected (I don’t think we ever come close to the quota of VISAs given out to Canadians). One caveat – you must indicate the start date of the VISA when you apply, so when you get the VISA with that specified start date, it’s GO time! It takes about 3 weeks to get the VISA (and you won’t have your passport during this time, so no travelling out of the country!) and less than that (I believe 1-2 weeks) if you pay a premium charge. Be prepared to fork over $1500CAD for the VISA (the application fee alone is a few hundred bucks, but they make it mandatory for you to pay for the UK National Insurance in order to be eligible for the VISA).

4. Get your butt to <insert dream city>

Ideally, you would have a friend that you can crash on their sofa (saving money while you look for your own place/job). In London, the popular flat-hunting service is SpareRoom so I was on the app looking for nearby locations. I had walked multiple areas of the city to see which parts I liked the best, I ended up in an area which was close to a great food market, river bank (for morning runs!), and most importantly, work! Tube during rush hour is a nightmare!! Even thought I’ve only been here for 3 weeks, there has been a 24 hour tube strike that literally shut down the city! I recommend bringing lots of cash when you come to London, as it’s very difficult to open a bank account here. You need to prove an address in UK (ie: a London address bill with your name on it) which is nearly impossible since everyone flat shares and the bills are included (paid by the landlord). I ended up with HSBC that required the employer to write a letter to them, confirming my Canadian and UK addresses. Getting phone service is easy – make sure your phone is unlocked before you get here and you can walk into any phone store and have it set up within 20 minutes! I had my phone set up at Vodafone (corporate discounts) and it was done within 20 minutes for 20 pounds a month. Ta-da, immediate UK number!

5. Start having fun!!

As a noob under 3 weeks here, I’m still figuring this piece out!! But I’m definitely keeping my eyes open for things beyond tourist attractions, meeting flatmates/colleagues/friends of friends, and going to world-class events in this city that I would never have had access to! Best of all, I’m in the city that is the portal to the rest of Europe, so expect lots of updates about trips to Europe. Any must-sees?

That’s it – simple 5 steps to moving your life! Obviously, I’ve simplified it a lot, but those were the big things I had to do in order to get here. It may sound terribly scary to move your life, but in my opinion, if you’re young and without many obligations, there is no saying why you are bound to live in a certain city, you were merely there as a matter of circumstances and you can change your surrounding and consciously pick your city! Imagine that, picking your city – where you want to wake up every morning and spend your weekends exploring!! London is an expensive city, but there’s plenty of interesting, exciting cities that aren’t as expensive in SE Asia, Africa, or South America. The world is your oyster!

Much love,

May

Thank you, Danielle LaPorte, for all that you do!!

Dear Danielle,

I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all that you do – it is making a life-changing difference!! I came across Desire Map from my dear friend at http://belleviewbeauty.com/, and have since become very intimate with your work in the past year. You’ll find my copies of the Desire Map and Fire Starter Session filled with scribbles and highlights – they’re one of the few hardcover books I carry with me in whichever city I am as I like to re-read, often learning something new each time I dig in a little wiser (the other hardcover book being Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle so you’re in amazing company!).

Ever since I started reading your work and actively applying it in my life, I have really transformed from a “I can do everything a little bit everywhere, I just need to give it more time to like this lifestyle, It’s necessary to stay in touch with all these connections (even if some can be draining)” to “What do I want to feel everyday and what is the one big thing I need to do in order to be able to feel that everyday?”. This simple question has absolutely been pivotal for my step to self-awareness and to mobilize onto the next journey of personal development. Looking back at my journey so far, the most light-filled, easy, fun moments were when I was studying in Beijing, volunteering in Brazil/Cambodia, moving to Toronto for my first Yuppie job, and running events to gather the best of minds across the world. My core desire feelings are: radical growth, uninhibited adventure, true connection, and radiant joy. After coming clear with my desires and accepting that I completely owned them (and was 100% responsible for ensuring I feel that), I made the difficult decision to leave a city I came to love (Toronto) with many friends I came to so adore very much at a company that has invested so much in my growth. It was tearful and heavy, but after the initial feelings subsided, MY GOSH, I felt OH.SO.LIBERATED!!!! Beyond anything, I also felt empowered. Leading up to the decision, I did small steps here and there in order to prepare for my departure, including purging my belongings and living out of a suitcase for a few months! I am very pleased (read: BEYOND EXCITED) to be moving to London UK for a new adventure! It’s been a long-time dream of mine to move to London for so many reasons (especially ever since I fell in love with Harry Potter and was disappointed I didn’t get the Owl Mail at age 11 :P).

THANK YOU Danielle. I am so incredibly happy and grateful for all the work you do – I love getting your newsletters, #Truthbombs, and everything that you so honestly and openly share with us (including good + bad!!). I deeply appreciate it, and I’m certain you know that your work is helping so many people!! I have since become a huge Danielle LaPorte advocate, and you’ll see me dropping questions like “And how does that make you feel?” in the most formal/stringent conversations so on behalf of those folks, I also thank you for helping us to bring back the authenticity and vulnerability of the conversations that we all so very much need. I have also encouraged many of my close friends to pick up your book, as many are going into their “quarter-life crises” – I have now had friends move across the world, switch careers, go back to school, or come to realize what they’re doing is truly what they want to do! Thank you, thank you, thank you Danielle!!

Much love,

May

Check out amazing life-changing goodies at DanielleLaPorte.com! 

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One Easy Way To Have Powerful Conversations with Strangers

I made my way to meet my accountant for the first time. I had prepared all the documents that I thought we would need to discuss, and the questions I had about my move to UK.

We ended up spending most of our session talking about education reform, and at the end of it, she told me she wanted to start a school and would love to collaborate with me. To be clear, I’m not even in the education sector!

After doing the introductions and getting the “business” out of the way, I told her “I’m moving to London UK to do consumer research, but what I’m really passionate about is the education space. I’m not okay with where it’s at, and I’m not sure what exactly I’ll do or how I’ll get into it, I just know that students are put through a standardized, antiquated, one-dimensional system, only to go into the university/college system and come out with a degree that puts them either unemployed or underemployed.

As soon as I did my “elevator pitch”, most of which the emphasis was on what I was truly passionate about, the walls broke down and she no longer was my accountant.

She shared with me her dreams of her kids, and how her kids weren’t fulfilling their potential with schools that forced you to sit through classes of Canadian Social Studies and Calculus (are these practical?). She shared with me a unique school she attended when she was in preschool/kindergarden (in Iran) where the teachers would evaluate the kids in order to figure out their interests and skills – classes were customized based per child. She attributes her success much to this early education.

One of my absolute favourite TED Talks is this: Hackschooling by a 10 Year Old – how incredible for him to create a happy and healthy school, where he learns real-life skills by immersing in the commerce of a skateboard shop, or emotional intelligence by interacting with his fellow boy scouts. I believe this is the future of schooling; in fact, I think it NEEDS to be. More and more, we see people downward spiralling into depression, obesity, social anxiety disorders, bulimia, stress-induced diseases; most of which could be prevented if kids, were enabled, at a young age to develop strong EQ and to focus on health and happiness. This is a far more valuable lesson to be learned in a safe environment at school, than any of the antiquated courses taught in the classroom. Some may say that this is the parents’ job to educate the child these social skills; or the child could learn in social settings. I think it’s overly optimistic to believe that parents can be earners, loving partners, great parents, and incredible teachers all at once (I know it can be done, but it’s a pretty daunting task!). What’s more, mass media and entertainment is set up in a way to teach kids they are not enough at a young age, and to go after superficial and unsustainable aspects. I hope to one day join this movement to revolutionize the classroom, similar how the TedX Hackschooler has done for himself.

Tip to Have Powerful Conversations with Strangers – talk about something that revs your engine, they will feel it and either ask questions because they’re curious or join your passionate conversation!

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