Everyone has a story about how they ended up living abroad as an expat. Here’s mine.
After 10 long years living in London and working as a journalist, I was fed up with my job, with commuting to the office every day by tube, and with people’s negative attitudes. Almost everyone seemed to be miserable, unhappy about every aspect of their existence – work, house prices, the endless hassles associated with big-city life – and loved nothing more than to voice their dissatisfaction. I found it soul-destroying.
I decided I needed a major life change. I’d always longed to travel more than the one or two annual holidays allowed – as soon as I got home, I’d ache to leave again and start planning the next trip. So in 2002, I packed up my life in London and went on an overland trip across South America, from Chile to Ecuador, via Bolivia and Peru. I trekked the Inca Trail, flew over the Nazca Lines and drove across the Salt Flat of Uyuni. Sadly, I didn’t have a digital camera then – only one person on the trip did – and there were no travel blogs in those days. I missed a trick by just a few years.
The trip finished in Quito, and I took a fancy to this little-known Andean city where I spent two years working in a bar, DJing, volunteering, teaching English, learning Spanish, discovering a beautiful and varied country – and, most importantly, rediscovering my joie de vivre, which had been buried under piles and piles of stress and anxiety, failing relationship and career, and depressingly grey weather. Life started being fun again.
I made some wonderful friends, explored Ecuador and Colombia, and after a couple of years, decided to come back to Europe to be closer to my family. A few people suggested Seville, as a small, sunny, historic and beautiful city with plenty of character and some interesting annual festivities.
I arrived in September 2003, started sharing a flat with my now-best-friend, met my now-husband a few weeks later, and soon realised that I’d made the right move. I’ve never regretted leaving London, not for one minute. Although I do miss the restaurants, museums, multiculturalism – but not the weather.