Featured London Travel Talk

Leaving London – 10 Things I’ll Miss About This City

September 1, 2017

We always knew this time would come – most expats do – but we just didn’t know when. Until now. After almost four years of calling this manic mosh pit of a city our home-sweet-home, we have decided that it’s time to say goodbye. It wasn’t an easy decision to make but our feet are getting itchy, our minds are a tad weary, and all the other little signs were pointing to the need for a change. A certain someone has done this whole ‘see ya later London’ thing before but for me, the thought of uprooting and leaving our London life behind is still a little overwhelming. Aside from all the logistical issues of packing and storing our stuff, and plotting our next steps, I’m not sure there’s anything I can do that will truly get me ready to leave.

Being a temporary Londoner has been thrilling, frustrating, engaging, challenging, rewarding – just throw in the whole gambit of human emotion and take your pick of what it might be on any given day. There are things about this city I despise, there have been brief moments where it has turned me into a person I don’t like (mainly when public transport is involved), but nowhere is perfect and all that seems trivial when I think about all the opportunities and experiences I’ve had here. So in honour of this city which I clearly love so much, these are the ten things, in no particular order, I’ll miss most about London…


1 – London Food Scene

I shudder to think about the time and money we have spent in the thousands of London restaurants since we’ve been here… but it’s been (mostly) worth the shocking bank statements and the increase in my waistline. London’s food culture is extremely dynamic; you can go from biting into a burger from a food truck to having your roast duck being chopped up in front of you in Chinatown to admiring the elaborate plating skills of the Michelin star chefs all in one day. The breadth of cuisines and styles covered is enormous and I’m constantly amazed by the quality of food being dished up all over this city!


2 – Entertainment Overload

West End shows, theatre productions, outdoor cinemas, food festivals, weekend markets, random popup events every week; and those are just the events that I’m interested in. I love living in a city where there is so much going on, every day of the week – the biggest problem is finding the time and the money to do them all. We haven’t quite managed our goal of going to some sort of show or production every month but we’ve seen some great musicals like High Society and Aladdin, eaten our way round Taste of London a number of times, and been to some interesting events all over the city!


3 – Closeness to the Continent

One of the main reasons why we, and basically all other Kiwis, moved to London was for the ease of travel across Europe. When we first arrived, we set ourselves the challenge of exploring somewhere new every month and I’m pleased to say that bar a few months where we had longer travel plans, we have managed it quite easily! Some of our favourite destinations have included two weeks in the South of France, a winter getaway to sunny Seville, and some surprise gems like Nuremberg and Gdansk!


4 – Tooting

I remember a colleague once telling me in a rather patronising fashion that ‘Tooting was supposed to be up and coming…’; well posh Kensington-dwelling Patrick will be pleased to know that it has very much arrived! Tooting has changed so much since we’ve been here – yes, that dastardly gentrification phenomenon is partly to blame but I think it’s changed it for the better. People will still love this little part of London for its abundance of fantastic curry houses but now both Tooting and Broadway Markets have been given a new lease of life with a myriad of independent food outlets moving in. Recently named one of Lonely Planet’s Coolest Neighbourhoods to Visit, I’m always going to be rooting for Tooting and am so proud to have called it home!


5 – Living Amongst the Landmarks

A walk through central London and catching a glimpse of landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral or Tower Bridge, or even the gentle curve of Regent Street still can put a smile on my face. These were once sights I had only dreamed of seeing… and now they’re places I walk past whilst running my everyday errands or simply getting from A to B. All of them a constant, breath-taking reminder that yep, I’ve been there, done that, and basically lived the postcard!


6 – Opportunities at Every Corner

A friend who has recently moved to London told me that she loves how so many Londoners have a side hustle. It took me a second to clock onto what she meant, but she’s right – I’m forever being inspired by stories of people who start business or social enterprises or merely maintain a hobby in amongst the hustle and bustle of their normal life. London is a city of opportunities, and even I, with this food-filled corner of the internet, can attest to that.


7 – “Any Bowl Here for a Pound”

It’s no secret that the cost of living in London is extremely high, but I am still surprised by how affordable groceries are, particularly when compared to extortionate prices in New Zealand. The range of produce we’ve had access to here has really improved our homecooking skills; we’ve been more adventurous with the ingredients and techniques in our dishes… confit, ballotine, small scale butchery… all part of our cooking arsenal now. The only thing I won’t miss is the horrendous practice of supermarkets packing all their fruits and vegetables in plastic; particularly annoying when I only want to buy two carrots or really have no need for my cauliflower to be in a bag!


8 – Tube Travel

I have suffered through some fairly nasty commutes in my time here: crossing from one end of London to another, changing lines several times, being stuck under someone’s armpit in rush hour… you name it, I’ve stood, sat or sweated through it! But despite everything, I’m grateful to the tube from getting me from A to B to C and enabling me to really explore the city. It’s easy to remember all the times it’s caused me to be extremely late or nearly suffocated from the heat, but I’m trying to appreciate the fact it’s well connected and runs regularly!


9 – Always Talking About New Zealand

Brits always ask me where my accent is from, then assure me they knew all along when I tell them I’m from New Zealand (as opposed to Australia)! It’s been the best icebreaker at new jobs or social events and I find that everyone either wants to tell you about the ‘other Kiwi’ they know or how they had the most magical New Zealand holiday, or how it’s on their bucket list… I’m not the most patriotic of Kiwis but it’s always nice to talk about home!


10 – Being Busy, Busy, Busy

Being a Londoner means constantly apologising for your tardy responses to messages or emails, planning catch ups weeks in advance so you can actually find a date that suits everyone, and always feeling like you’re darting from one place to another… This has pushed me to breaking point at times, but at least I’ll always know that I gave this London life everything and have no regrets whatsoever!


So Where to Next?

At the end of November we will be closing the door on our Tooting flat one final time and heading off on the next adventure. For the next six months we will be on the road and jaunting through Asia; we have a general idea of where we want to go but no concrete plans just yet… and after that? Who knows!

 

 

Sri Lanka – December 2017

New Zealand – Christmas to January 2018

Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam – February to April 2018

Japan – May to July 2018

 

 

 

 

 


Have you been on a long travel adventure?

My ’10 things I’ll miss most about London’ is part of this month’s Travel Linkup – if you want to read more ’10 Things…’ travel bloggers are counting down then head over to Follow Your SunshineSilverSpoon LondonAdventures of A London Kiwi or Erin Out and About now!


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  • great things to miss about London:) good luck with your big trip:) #travellinkup

    • Thanks Tanja – really excited about the next adventure!

  • Wow what a list! Reading something like that sure makes me think how hard it will be to leave! Sounds like you’ve made the most of your time here. Your six month trip looks amaze as well! Good luck with packing up your life and sending it back home x

    • Thanks Sara – I’ve loved following your RTW trip, very inspirational! Hope you’re settling back into London life!

  • Such an exciting time hope you have the best adventure!!

    • Thanks Emma – I cannot wait to get back on the road! I hope your new adventure is starting well – looks like you’ve got loads of exciting things in the pipeline with your business!

  • Don’t leave me!!!!!!!!

    • We’ll still be friends – it’ll just be a long time between real-life cocktails haha!

  • Charlie Elliott

    Oh god, this is SO exciting and I’m SO jealous! I have a ton of travel tips on backpacking (not sure how budget you’re going with your trip!), plus lots of Singapore posts and I’ll have loads on Japan by the time you go as I go out there in a couple of weeks. ALSO, I’m in NZ over Christmas and beginning of Jan, so if we’re in the same area, we should absolutely toast your new life with a glass of fizz somewhere!
    Cxx

    • Thanks Charlie – we’re excited to get back on the road, especially as we’ve got such fond memories of our last 4 month jaunt across US/Mexico/Cuba! I can’t wait to follow the Bangarang Japan trip – will be getting all the tips! And yes, if you’re in Welly – a drink on the waterfront is a must!

  • Woah! Your travel plans sound epic. No doubt you will miss the shows, the restaurants, the ease of travel, the landmarks and the supermarkets in London but do keep up the side hustle!

    • Thanks Sarah – I’ll definitely be keeping up the eating, all for research purposes of course haha! And I suppose I could blog about it too!

  • Sandra Guerin

    Well, that’s all rather bitter-sweet! I remember building a similar list with my flatmate back in 2012 – we also did a list of the things we definitely wouldn’t miss so we wouldn’t get to depressed!!
    Your future plans look amazing though, so I doubt you’ll have to worry too much about that!
    xx Sandra | Cake + Whisky

    • Bittersweet is right – on the one hand I’m so sad about leaving but on the other hand, I’m thrilled to be setting off and doing something different… definitely have itchy feet!

  • Aw, Connie! Wishing you all the best on your new adventure! Sounds like you’ve got some really exciting plans ahead. It’s been so lovely meeting up with you + Mike too. And you can let me know if those curries in Sri Lanka match up to our beloved Apollo Banana Leaf!..

    • Thanks Aaron, it’s been an absolutely pleasure getting to know you and reading your always very interesting and creative posts! I shall be sure to give full reports and comparisons against our beloved ABL!

  • OH MAN!!! I can’t believe it!! Will miss you, but am so glad to have met you a few times in IRL and online as well! WIll look forward to continuing to follow your adventures. p.s. where is that AMAZING crab dish from??

    • It’s been lovely to have met IRL too – and likewise, I shall continue to envy your interiors and style haha of which I have neither! Ooo the crab is from Xu – absolutely lovely!

  • Suze

    You’ll be missed, Connie but your upcoming trip sounds amazing! Looking forward to reading what you get up to

    • Thanks Suze – I’m very excited about our getting back out and doing some more long term travel… we were definitely getting itchy feet!

  • Enormously jealous of your big trip and the courage to do it – I really think hubby and I should take the plunge one day and go off for a whole year or for 6 months. If we could do it somehow, it’s something we would both absolutely love to do and you are inspiring us! But oh will so miss you!

    • Thanks Shikha – when it feels like the right time/place, then you’ll know to just take the plunge! I’m extremely sad to be leaving London but I’m also thrilled to head back out and explore!

  • Binny Shah-Patel

    I am massively jealous of your travel plans but you will have to pop back to London in the future to see us all xx

    • Thanks Binny – good luck as you embark on your new adventure too!

  • Oh Connie, what a beautifully written post on your time in London! I’m sad to hear that you are leaving but excited for all your new adventures ahead, especially the long time in Japan!!! Wish you all the best & I’ll be watching out for your posts and IG pics xx

    Lucy
    http://www.lucylovestoeat.com

    • Thanks Lucy – it’s still very overwhelming to think that we’ve got 3 months left in London but I’m also very excited about travelling for a big longer again… and seeing where we end up!

  • Wow – you have some exciting plans! My favourite bit about London is always to walk – it’s magical in some way most days, even just my commute from Waterloo into The City.

    • Thanks Anna – I completely agree, walking (albeit sometimes too fast as we’re in London) is key to feeling like you’re part of the city!

  • Thanks Sima – so nice to have met you properly recently! Don’t worry, I’ll be stalking each and everyone of you Londoners… I need to live a London life vicariously through you all!

  • Connie, this post was so beautifully written and a real testament to your time in London. You gave me a few nostalgic moments as I read it too! Big toot out to Tooting where I also lived before I left 🙂

    Good luck for the next step on your exciting adventure, I look forward to following along.

    Polly xx

    • Thanks Polly – I remember you mentioning you were once a Tooting resident… have you been back since? I think the changes have been wonderful, but it’s still a bit gritty at heart which is fab too! I’m so excited for the next adventure!

  • Yay! You’re coming to Cambodia?! Looking forward to meeting you in the flesh after seeing you in my social media streams every day. Don’t forget to check my site Grantourismo for tips for Southeast Asia 🙂

    • Yep, that’s the plan – though we don’t know exactly where or when – would love to meet up if we can! I have been all over Grantourismo for the tips – have loved the recent Vietnam posts!

  • So sad you have to leave London but what an awesome few months of travel you have ahead of you!

    • Thanks Amy – the next adventures definitely soften the blow of leaving… but who knows, we might just come right back afterwards haha!

  • The next suite of adventures you have lined up sound utterly amazing!

    • If not now, then when… that’s what I’ve been thinking! And it makes the thought of leaving this vibrant city, that little bit easier!

  • London will miss you too!!

    • Thanks Angie – I’ll definitely be missing everything about it!

  • Nooooooo I’m gonna miss being cynical with you so much! But your Asia adventure sounds amazing. Also, I completely agree with 7, it was even wilder when we first came here 8 years ago, you wouldn’t believe the piles of groceries we could get for £20!

    Maybe I’ll see you in Welly at the end of next year? xx

    • I will always be ready to be cynical with you, no matter where I am in the world – that, my dear, is the magic of the internet! The grocery situation is just ridiculous… esp love telling Brits the price of lamb and butter in NZ – that always gets the eyebrows raised in shock!

  • Although I’d super sad you’ll be leaving London I’m also incredibly envious of your trip you have planned! Wow what an itinerary, I can’t wait to see/read/hear all about it over the next months x

    • Thanks Eppie – it’ll be our longest period of nomad life to date… I’m really excited about exploring all the new places!

  • I love London, such an amazing city!

    • It’s been a blast living here – counting down my last 3 months and trying to make the most of it!

  • This is essentially my list for when I left London too. She’s a strange mistress but one that will be in your heart forever.

    • A strange and at times, cruel mistress indeed! I keep thinking it’s just a see you later instead of a proper goodbye haha!

  • Gaaaaahhhhh… another one bites the dust! But that said, I am looking forward to catching you and your adventures in the future! Also this list just makes me want to explore London more – i think lots of us take for granted the fact that we live so close to these great places. ENJOY!!!!

    • Haha yep, we all come and go! It definitely reminded me not to take things for granted too – I’m creating a little London bucket list to do before we go!

  • Tash @ Food I Fancy

    Beautiful post.
    Hope you’ll continue to blog? Would love to read about your new adventures.

    • Thanks Tash – yes, I hope to continue writing on Connie Consumes… it’ll just be flooded with a lot more Asian food, but that’s hardly a bad thing!

  • Harpreet Acharya

    My goodness, your travel plans are envious! Enjoyed reading all about your London top 10 and as someone who used to live in the UK and frequently visits, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement! #travellinkup

    • Thanks Harpreet – we’re super excited to be heading off on the next adventure but of course also gutted to be leaving our London life behind!

  • Congratulations on your impending move! If you have time, can I suggest making a stop in Laos if you’ve not been yet? I spent about 5 days in Vientiane and thought it was really marvelous! The food and fresh fruits were so good!

    • Thanks for the recommendation – we are just considering whether or not we have time for Laos… friends have just been and they thought it was a wonderful country!

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