My Biggest Fears About Moving Abroad

From my heavily curated and filtered Instagram, it may seem like my life living abroad in London is pure fantasy. Traipsing about pastel houses in Notting Hill, cupcakes for breakfast in Belgravia, or brunch high in the London skyline, while all very photogenic, are not the entire picture. For example, I’m currently laying in bed with pinkeye (hello, Quasimodo), watching obscene amounts of How to Get Away with Murder, and nursing my ego over a few job application rejections. Not quite so Kate Middleton glamorous.

Keeping it Real: My Biggest Fears About Moving Abroad

I just want to keep it real like JLO and make it clear that life living abroad isn’t all jetsetting and the social media-worthy fabulous lifestyle. Same goes with deciding to make the move. Don’t get me wrong, my life in London overall is a dream come true (you can read more about why I decided to move abroad here), but that doesn’t mean I impulsively decided to move here with absolutely no hesitations. To be honest, I was scared shitless.

Some of these fears may seem silly, and some are quite serious and petrifying, but they are all real. I thought I’d share them with you as well as how they’ve faded or evolved since actually moving abroad. If you’re considering a move to London or another country, I’d highly recommend it. Just know, it’s totally sane to be a bit terrified. You aren’t alone.

Will I be crippled with homesickness?
Confession. I’m a bit of a homebody. Kind of embarrassing for a 26 year old, but I just really love my family and being at home with them. Maybe a little too much for my own good. While this close bond is great, I was worried I’d constantly feel the pull of the States and my family tugging at my heart. I do miss them every day, but luckily London and my life here has kept me occupied enough to prevent me from diving too far down a homesickness rabbit hole. It sounds simple, but by getting busy and creating a life in your new home, you’re less likely to let your mind wander to a darker, sad place.

Does it look like I’m avoiding responsibility?
Back to the being 26 thing again. While I know I’m still very young, quite a few of my friends seem a bit ahead of me in the rat race. They’re getting married, climbing the corporate ladder, buying houses, getting pregnant (YIKES), all in all just being better at this adulting thing than me. Yes, sometimes I do feel a little old to be back in school. Living in a student residence with 18 year olds vomiting in the elevator will do that to you. I am, however, glad I went to grad school after working for a few years. This is going to sound bleak, but you honestly appreciate it much more when you realize that the slog of working day in and day out is literally for the next 50 years.  If I went to grad school right after undergrad, I don’t think I would have appreciated this break from “real life” as much as I do now.

Will there be a terrorist attack?
Well, that escalated quickly. The year I was deciding to attend grad school in Europe, the attacks in Paris, Nice, Istanbul and Brussels happened. Europe seemed to be aflame with terrorism. But, attacks in Orlando and San Bernandino also happened that same year. Frankly and very sadly, in open society, terrorism can happen anywhere – whether it’s the Louvre, a Christmas market or a shopping mall. Have I thought twice about travelling to France since moving here? Sadly, yes. However, I feel very safe in London, and if God forbid, something happened here, it is a large enough city where hopefully the odds would be in my favor to not be in the exact attack location (that was a very depressing sentence to write). Terrorism is a very real and too frequent occurrence in our world, and I’ve decided to not let it dictate my ambitions. Life is too short, and I refuse to make decisions out of fear.

Will I be the fat American?
This may seem silly, but everyone in Europe seems so goddamn chic and skinny. Maybe it’s the cigarettes, smaller portions, or walking everywhere, but the stereotypes of thin Europeans versus overindulgent, heavier Americans sadly seems true. Yes, there are fat people in England, but they seem certainly far less common in London than in Midwestern America. I was terrified of being the fattest person in London and desperately attempted and failed to lose weight before moving. Honestly, it kind of sucked when I first got here. I was out of shape and out of breath from walking a few miles to and from school each day. I felt huge compared to the infinitely more stylish and effortlessly cool European girls. And I sure as hell didn’t fit into those dope high-waisted mom jeans at Zara. However, slowly I’ve lost weight. I walk over 10,000 steps most days here and the smaller portion sizes have been a godsend. Most of all, my next meal isn’t the only thing I look forward to every day. There is so much to experience in London beyond eating out and getting satisfaction from food, and I’ve been much healthier phsyically and mentally for it. I may have arrived the fat American, but I won’t leave that way.

How will I make any friends?
Real talk: making friends as an adult is hard. What if my coworkers are all 40 and older? Do I awkwardly dance up to groups of young adults at happy hour? Does anyone normal actually use Bumble BFF? When I moved to LA right after undergrad, I struggled to meet people. At one point, I’d even window shop at Forever 21 just to have human interaction with the salespeople. #foreveralone. I did eventually make friends in LA, but it was damn difficult. Moving to London and meeting people has been much easier. Part of this has been due to putting myself out there more, but this ease has primarily come from attending school. Moving somewhere for school is honestly the best way to make friends. You’ll be in a target-rich environment of young people who are also usually in an entirely new city and desperate for a social life. You can be that social life! If you’re interested in moving halfway around the world, definitely explore grad school as an option.

What if I love it and can’t stay?
Remember those job application rejections I mentioned above? My fear of loving London and being forced to leave it has only strengthened since moving here. I LOVE it here. I feel alive in this city and truly like I’ll never get tired of it. Unfortunately, the climate toward immigration isn’t so hot here right now (is it anywhere?), so finding a job that will sponsor my work visa has been quite the exercise in discipline and determination. Only time will tell if I can find a job that will allow me to stay here, so I’m trying to force myself to make the most of it while I can. That means as soon as my deformed eye is healed, it’s back to soaking up every inch of this dazzling city.

Are you considering moving abroad or have you? What did you fear or what’s holding you back?

Linking Up With:

Wanderful Wednesday hosted by Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World. Click on the button below to check out more great travel content!

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day in London

Happy early Valentine’s Day, internet friends! In honor of the much better Galentine’s Day holiday (if you didn’t watch Parks & Rec, you can learn more about the holy day here), I decided to take myself around London on a festive little date. As Tom Haverford says, treat yourself. Lucky for me, the city is adorned with its best red and pink glitz and is almost as charming as when it’s decked out for Christmas.

To start the day, I made a pilgrimage to a famously pink palace in Belgravia that was looking even more whimsical than usual (and a bit like Cupid threw up on it – in the best way possible)….

Right around the corner from Victoria Station in swanky Belgravia, Peggy Porschen is a cake and tea shop known for its insta-famous cotton candy facade. Wrapped in flowers and balloons, the shop looked St. Valentine-approved.

The selection of sweets was just as mouth-watering as the decorations.

Since Galentine’s Day only comes once a year, I settled on a strawberry champagne cupcake for breakfast. Leslie Knope would approve.

Pink Sunglasses

Sidenote: the roses on top are not edible. I may have given them a try, since I have no restraint with food. The rest of the cupcake, however, was entirely edible and entirely delicious. After literally licking my fingers clean, I strolled around Belgravia to discover any other decorated shops. They weren’t as over the top and candy pink as Peggy Porschen, but Neill Strain Florist and Jo Malone also impressed.

Leave it to a florist to nail extravagant romance.

Belgravia is pretty residential and full of quintessential London row houses that I can’t afford.  Sadly, I did not bump into any future first husband potentials while stalking the mansions. Before I could get too depressed by all the fabulous, over-priced real estate, I headed to Mayfair to scout out more of the V-Day spirit.

While there were plenty of chic storefronts that ALMOST made me want a boyfriend, Fenwick on Bond Street was the showstopper.

How fantastic are those balloons? Can I have them for my next birthday party? They also reminded me of one of my favorite movies, Up, which honestly tells one of the best cinematic love stories in its first 10 minutes.  It was the perfect fanciful stunner to cap off Galentine’s Day.

While it’s no Galentine’s Day, tomorrow I’ll likely be spending Valentine’s Day again with my two great loves: food and London. Hope yours is filled with lots of love!

Shop my Valentine’s Day favorites:

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

London Winter Essentials

Headed to London during the wintertime? I’m sharing a new video packed with my winter essentials and all the things that help me cope through the dark, cold days here in the Big Smoke.  Some things are a little bit frivolous, while others are must-haves, but they all get me through the London winter.

I link all the products in the video description box if you’re interested in a specific item. Also, feel free to leave me any questions in the comments! Happy to help you with your visit or move to the greatest city in the world.

PRODUCTS I MENTION:
Charlotte Tilbury Primer  // Lip Balm  // YSL Touche Eclat  // Nivea Creme  // Bliss Hand Cream
Kai Hand Cream  // Uniqlo Heattech Line  // Leopard Coat  // Pink Beanie (on sale for $4!!!)
Wool Socks  // Texting Gloves  // Boots  // Yogi Tea Throat Comfort // Emergen-C

Linking Up With:

Wanderful Wednesday hosted by Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World. Click on the button below to check out more great travel content!

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

 

London Brunch: Holborn Grind

This blog may seem brunch-obsessed recently (check out my breathtaking brunch at Sky Garden here – end shameless plug), but I just can’t get enough of the meal. London also can’t stop tempting me with new options, each with their own seductive play on eggs, dotted across the cityscape. While I do have other not-food-related content planned for this week, I wanted to first share this affordable brunch haven in the heart of central London. It’s perfect for those of us who can’t always make it rain at the likes of Sky Garden.

If you’re anywhere in London proper, chances are you’ll wander into a Grind location. Just around the corner from Holborn station and attached to the Hoxton Hotel, you’ll find an insta-worthy outpost of the chain – Holborn Grind.

Pink neon sign? I’m drawn like a moth to the flame.

This Grind location is pretty petite, so either come early to grab a table, or don’t plan on having a ton of space to sprawl out. A sprawling fan, I prefer this Grind for eating (and photographing), not studying or working.

While I usually visit Grind for their iced lattes and banana bread, this visit entailed a sampling of their brunch offerings, namely my nemesis: avocado toast.

But, Erin, how can you resist mother Earth’s two greatest creations, avocado and bread, united in one holy union? With eggs, no less!?

Well, my friends, turn me into a foodie pariah if you must, but I just don’t like avocado. Even guacamole or its photogenic beauty can’t win me over when it comes to this green temptress.

It had been quite some time since I’d given the green little devil another chance, so I figured no better time than the present. Worst case scenario, I’d be consoled with aesthetically pleasing photos of the taste test. I dared avocado toast to give me its best, and it came at me with guns blazing.

I mean…..come on!?!? How amazing does that look? Holborn Grind certainly knows its way around perfectly poached eggs and the dreamiest and creamiest looking avocado toast you’d have the pleasure of meeting. All washed down with their refreshing iced latte, of course.

Spoiler alert: I still don’t like avocados. Epic fail, I know. The toast wasn’t unpleasant and I loved the eggs, but I don’t think I’ll be so generously giving the little green guys another taste test soon.

At least the people watching and neighborhood facades were charming consolation prizes. And I can’t sip too much of the avocado haterade when I know it will help amass so many future Instagram likes. Social media over everything, right?

Speaking of Instagram – you MUST get a snap of this beauty in between sips of Grind’s delectable coffee:

A stylish neon quote adorns each Grind location, and this one is perfectly hot pink. While the Covent Garden location may have my favorite quote (it’s a David Bowie lyric!), Holborn’s sign still emanates a chic glow and is well worth the awkward hovering over cramped tables of British men. I somehow didn’t mind the loitering too much.

Definitely stop into this Grind the next time you’re in the Holborn area and want an affordable breakfast in a fashionable setting. If you’re into avocado toast, give that a go as well, or at least take a photo of it.

Love traveling? Grab $35 in Air BnB credit when you create an account through THIS LINK! It’s free to you, and I’ll receive a credit when you sign up. Thanks and happy traveling!

DISCLAIMER:
This is not a sponsored post and all products were purchased with my money. Affiliate links are occasionally used when linking products. This gives me a small percentage of a purchase total through these links. This does not affect the price you pay for items through these links. All ShopStyle & AirBnB links are affiliate links.

 

London Brunch in the Clouds – Weekend Vlog

While waxing poetically about London brunch spots isn’t new to this piece of the internet, I thought I’d share this week’s breakfast-but-better outing in vlog format instead of my typical written style. It was quite the special occasion taking us to the height of London’s beauty, so I thought a video more befitting its visual splendor. The food was good, but not amazing, so I don’t have too many food porn shots to share with you, just breathtaking ambiance. Plus you get to see me squirm and act extremely awkward on camera – so it’s a win-win!