It’s here! It’s here! The post so many of you have been waiting for!!
If you’ve followed me for a few years, you’ve watched me become enraptured with the city of London. A lot of y’all know the story but, many of you don’t! So, today, I’m going to hopefully get everyone caught up on where this love for London came from, why I want to live there and what the immigration process looks like at this point. I’ll be doing this by answering the questions y’all have sent in via DM’s and on IG stories over the past few months but, also, through the use of old blog posts to give some answers more context.
Here we go!
Background / Back Story
Where did this love for London come from? Why do you want to move to London?
My first trip to London was actually in 2004. I went with a group of my fellow students in high school with our AP US History teacher, who would take students on these trips abroad over Spring Break. My mom did them with middle school students. Out of the three places we went – Dublin, Wales and London – I loved London the most! I remember walking up the stairs, out of the Westminster tube stop, and looking up at Big Ben just in AWE of its enormity and extremely magnificent and beautifully detailed architecture. I was instantly drawn to its beauty, energy and the British culture.
Okay, so that was 2004.
Time went by. I went to college. I became a nurse. I moved to Colorado. I moved back. I started the blog. And, I remember my love for London but I didn’t make a plan to go back and visit until the end of 2015 with my best friends, Kristan and Whitney [@blonde_atlas]. We were going to do London and Paris and I couldn’t be more excited to go back to my beloved London. As we flew over, I had no idea that this trip would change the trajectory of my life as I knew it.
I am going to share a large section of THIS blog post from 2016 with y’all to explain the rest:
“Last year, during my trip to London & Paris, my friend Whitney and I dreamt up this idea of living abroad for a short period of time this year. We wanted to travel around throughout Europe, checking off all the cities that we have on our lust list, while keeping London as an intermittent home base. The dream really stemmed from our love of traveling but also our belief that, with God, these ‘unbelievable’ dreams can actually become a reality, that your life doesn’t have to be what everyone else’s life is or what everyone else deems your life should be because it’s ‘normal’ or ‘safe’ or the ‘next step’ in the eyes of society. We really didn’t know how it would all transpire but we were just open to seeing what would happen and kept coming back to the idea during our conversations after we got home. There were a lot of unanswered questions at first, but the one thing we did decide on was that the Fall would likely be the best time to do it. It’s a beautiful time of year. It’s not as touristy as the summer. And, it would also give us plenty of time to plan.
Initially, we were going to go on this adventure together but, over time and through prayer and conversations, there were different circumstances and opportunities that led us away from that. For one, I am all about traveling, exploring and sharing that with you all here and there, but one of my biggest concerns was you all. If I’m being honest, I don’t want to force y’all to consume content that you might not be interested in. I’m a style blogger and, as much as I want to travel, I want to continue being a style blogger just as much. I want to keep things pretty normal around here with style inspiration, life updates, the Friday Five, etc. and I know that would be tough if I was constantly moving from one international city to another. So, after realizing all of this, my desire to hang tight at our home base in London [while going on mini-trips here and there] seemed way more appealing to me than constantly jumping around. On the other hand, Whitney is a travel blogger and wants to see as much as possible. I want that for her, too, because I know that’s when she feels the most alive, that’s when she feels closest to God, and that’s when she is in awe of His majesty and wonder. So, when we started having these real and honest conversations about what this would look like, we both just decided the only thing we can do is just keep our hands open to what God was going to do for each of those desires.
Now we can insert Ben, because I know that’s what y’all are waiting for, hah! At this point, most of y’all know my boyfriend, Ben, lives in London. This is a new [and unexpected] relationship that spurred out of Whitney & I’s trip there in December / January on, literally, the last day of our trip. [However, it didn’t completely gain traction until late, late February / early March after Whitney & I’s conversations about our dream had been well underway.] Ben and I communicate throughout the day via What’s App text and calls, and we also have nightly Skype dates. We’ve gone on a couple of trips together but have spent considerably more time apart, as you can imagine. If you’re familiar with long distance relationships, you know that it can’t be long distance forever without the relationship suffering. And while I certainly wouldn’t say our relationship is suffering, I would say that neither of us feel like we can fully experience what our relationship could really be if we maintain it in the way that we are now. Something has to give. Someone has to make a move. Hmmm. Remember that dream that had been stirring up? Remember how I wanted to be abroad, wanted to travel, but needed a home base?
God is good like that. There are no coincidences.
We need to keep our hands open. Our desires have a purpose.
Could what’s going to come of this relationship be why God has placed this desire in my heart? I guess that’s to be seen. I really want to know what life would be like in London as well as what a normal relationship in the same city as Ben would be like. We can’t do long distance forever. There’s no other way to know for sure. There’s only so much you can learn about a person via Skype dates so I, honestly, could not be more excited!
Now, before you go and think I’m completely ditching Whitney … I’m going to have you tap those breaks right in front of you there! Haha! Whitney took her blog full-time back in January and has been loving it. Her heart, contrary to mine, feels lead to travel around as opportunities find her and just make the most of being abroad. So, it’s definitely funny how it’s all come to fruition but, we’re both really excited for what we’ll be embarking on. We’re also excited to share it with each other even if we’re not together the whole time. I know she will definitely be sharing my flat in London with me from time to time and I will be joining her on some adventures, and we’re planning one exclusively together, as well!”
So, that gave a little context as to what brought me to London in 2016.
While I was living there, things didn’t quite work out with Ben. Instead of falling in love with him, I fell back in love with the city I loved back in 2004 [I was supposed to go to August and come back in October but ended up extending my time there to December] … but it deepened on a level I wasn’t expecting. There was so much about London I loved right up front but, the longer I was there, the more I love it. I had intentions of traveling here and there during my time there but I only left three times out of the five months. I just wanted to be in London as much as I could before having to go back.
When I’m in London, I feel so connected to it. I feel like I am my best self there, the most alive there, the most inspired there, and the most content there. I just … love it. I love how international it is. I love that everyone you meet teaches you something. I love the historical architecture, the British culture, the list goes on and on.
In a lot of ways, I feel like when I’m planted in London, life just blooms. It doesn’t mean the weather is always great and things always go my way, but I feel like I am in the right soil that allows me to bloom and flourish more than anywhere else I’ve ever been before. I’ve found that to be the metaphor that illustrates my answer to this question but I do hope all of the background information was helpful for those of you who are new to following me! 🙂
What made you bite the bullet and take steps to move?
. . . . s i g h . . . .
Where to even begin with this question, ha!
I left London in December of 2016 feeling so heavy and asking myself if this was really just a small chapter of my life that I’d always look back on fondly?
In so many ways, God has been a part of this whole journey. I felt like God gave me Ben at the end of my trip in early 2016 to get me back to London and remind me of my love for the city that I first experienced back in 2004. I feel like he used my time in London to wake me up to the realization that the life I was living wasn’t what I actually wanted and the renewed vision for how I want to inspire women to live their lives. And, I also feel like, even though I knew it wouldn’t happen immediately, He was answering my question with a resounding ‘no’, that it wouldn’t be just a small chapter I look back on fondly. But ‘no’ was all I had. It was just a feeling. There was no direction, no ideas as to how to make it happen, etc.
My time in London also left me with a craving for structure, as I mentioned in my 2017 New Years’ Resolutions post. It felt good to be back in America, where I could run the blog as I always have. Simply put, I fell back into the comfort of life. I put my desire for London to sleep.
At the end of the year, I shared what a revelation it was to discover the Enneagram test [the official test is here] and learn more about my Peacemaker personality [in this post]. This personality type can often have a hard time recognizing what they truly want, can also discount themselves, numb and tune out their true desires as to not disturb their inner Hakuna Matata. Complacency is something they struggle to combat. Gosh. I’m making my type seem absolutely terrible and weak but, every number has an inner motivation and negative sides to them. One of the best things about the Enneagram is that it gives language to your positive and negative behaviors and gives you a benchmark for your personal health as that number.
In hindsight, through learning all of this and agreeing that I DO tend to do these things from time to time, I’ve come to believe that after returning from London in 2016, I leaned in to all of those behaviors, as ‘average’ Nine’s do, when it came to my desire for London. I knew embracing it would cause conflict and it would be difficult and uncomfortable so I ignored it, numbed it out, and suppressed it … even though I would experience moments of awakening. Every time I left after a visit, I would get so emotional. I knew I was living small but I was scared of what it would take to get to where I really wanted to be. I did this for all of 2017 … and it wasn’t until the very end of the year, when I was in London to celebrate the New Year, that I realized it.
I was walking across the Golden Jubilee Bridge, as her and I love to do, and we had stopped to watch the sun go down. The sky was on fire. It was crisp out and I had my hands clasped together holding a Hot Hands [hah, as you do when it’s freezing outside] looking out over the Thames and I had this thought … ‘stop living blind to your desires. Maybe London isn’t in the cards, but you owe it to yourself to at least be intentional about looking into it.’
“So let this be the year. Let this be the year you go after courage. For years, your heart desired it, but worry held you back. You allowed yourself to dream courageously, but things happened, and it ended there. But after all this time, you are still here, and it is worth it to carry on, beyond the boundaries of your fears. Let this be the year you go after courage.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
So, I did.
I shared a little bit more about that in my recent Five Gifts I Received In 2018 post:
In January, I connected with an American woman on Instagram who lives in London. [Her and I’s story is actually quite crazy and very ‘small world-ish’ but I’ll save it for another time. She is one of the people that I feel like God has divinely led me to and I obviously can’t say for sure why at this time but, it’s one of those ‘God wink’ situations.] Upon meeting her during my quick trip to London in June, her and her husband raved about their immigration lawyer and recommended I contact her to see what my realistic options were. Talking to them, Americans who have immigrated to London and absolutely love doing life there, motivated me more than anything had before. It gave me hope!
So, I emailed the immigration lawyer, told her a little bit about me, answered some of her questions and, in early August, set up a call to talk through the options. Through this conversation, we uncovered a visa option that would work for me. It was incredible to think that this dream could actually become a reality. But, for whatever reason, I kind of just let this information sit there, in the back of my mind and I didn’t do anything about it other than spoke to some other professionals and family. Typical nine . . .
And then … at the beginning of November, I just reached this breakthrough where everything that worried me about going through with this just became irrelevant. It just suddenly became unconceivable for me to continue to do things as I have when the life I want is completely different and the way I want to inspire people is only half in line with the life I’m living. I realized, as I shared in the 2019 Resolutions post, that I wasn’t actually living out one of my favorite life quotes that could put me in a position to do just that – do things different! [See that post for more on what that quote is] So, I am SO thankful for that breakthrough. I won’t really share what sparked it but, I am thankful to have gotten there.
I don’t know what’s waiting for me in London. It could be the biggest mistake of my life or not going could be the biggest mistake of my life. Who really knows … but I do believe I’m being divinely led there. I feel like God is not letting me fall asleep to this dream – as I tend to do [and I know that I do now thanks to the Enneagram; more on what that did for me in this post from last year!] – and I am so thankful for this awakening, this breakthrough, these answers and the journey that lies ahead!
There will always be risk involved in going after your dreams but, I keep going back to a quote I read recently … when the cost is high, the reward is great. You don’t really get to uncover the sweetest things in life without getting out there and taking some risks. Will there be fear associated with taking these risks? Always. If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough. You just have to go after them anyways.
We still have a ways to go. Just because I’m going after a visa doesn’t necessarily mean I will get it. However, I believe I have the best team surrounding me to see this does have a positive result so I am believing this will happen. God willing. 🙂 Y’all will KNOW when it’s officially official so don’t worry about that!
“Life will only change when you become more committed to chasing after your dreams than your comfort zone.”
What is keeping you motivated? What are you doing to prevent you from falling asleep to this again?
Ha, my friend, who already knows all of the above asked me this 🙂
I feel like God has played a huge role in keeping me awake. Over the course of the last year, He has used so many different weird situations to remind me to not forget, to not fall asleep, to not numb. You know I’m always one to look for those ‘God winks’.
I’ve also been leaning on Whitney. Her and I are literally walking down this path together. We don’t know whose path will be longer. We hope they’re about the same but it’s been so helpful to literally be treading the waters of so many unknowns and new situations together. While our paths are different, as we are seeking two different visa’s, we come to each other with all of our worries, newest revelations, hope and successes. One thing that I love that we’re doing is believing it will happen. We might have days where we feel heavier but we are so set on making sure that we speak a language of faith over doubt, that the bumps in the road are only going to be what makes the dream coming true that much sweeter.
I am a words of affirmation girl so, I’ve also been leaning into quotes. The quotes I’ve shared above and the follow two are some of the ones that have given me the most affirmation and motivation to keep going:
“Sometimes, you have to walk away. You have to look at the things you’re giving energy to and realize that even though you could stay, and try to win their approval or try to make it up their ladder, you could also make the brave choice to take whatever energy you have left to a space that welcomes you. It’s never an easy decision to make, and it’s never easy to accept that you might be walking down a path that will involve risk and new unknowns, but there are times in life where walking away is the best thing to do for your health, and who you are becoming. Even if it means that people will change their opinion of you … opinions of you that are not even rooted in truth. You may still need to walk away, trusting there is so much more ahead of you.” – Morgan Harper Nichols
“… the only thing I know for sure after all of this research is that if you’re going to dare greatly, you’re going to get your ass kicked at some point. If you choose courage, you will absolutely know failure, disappointment, setback, even heartbreak. That’s why we call it courage. That’s why it’s so rare.” – Brené Brown
Immigrations / Finances / Taxes
What is the process for a freelancer?
The process is essentially talking to an immigration lawyer about the visa options that make sense for you. There are quite a few visa options for entrepreneurs.
How do you get in touch with an immigration lawyer?
I asked for recommendations on Instagram but I’m sure if you talked about it with the network of people around you – at work, family, friends, friends of friends, acquaintances, people you know who live abroad, etc.. Personal recommendations are always the way to go but you have to get the conversation started first! I have became friends with a woman who reached out to me when I asked about it on Instagram. Her & her husband rave about their immigration lawyer so I emailed her [the immigration lawyer] and asked if we could set up a call. She obliged and went over a few different options that worked best for me and my situation [everyone’s will be different] over the course of an hour. That was back in August. So, I think it’s just a matter of being an open book about wanting to move abroad and seeing if your network of friends, colleagues and family have connections. You can also, of course, do some Google-ing. I’m sure some people have found theirs that way, as well.
How much does the legal process cost?
I personally would rather not disclose the specific cost associated with the legal fees I will be incurring. However, for me, I will be hiring an immigration lawyer in the U.K., a team of business & tax professionals in the U.K. and a taxation and business attorney here in the U.S.
How does it work with taxes?
To put it simply, I will be paying personal and business taxes in both the U.K. and the U.S. However, it’s so much more complicated than it seems. This is where we’re at in the process and it’s quite a knot to untangle – the differences in taxes between both countries – but I’m thankful I have a team of really smart individuals working with me and to have the support of my parents to walk through this with.
What does the process look like financially?
I’m not sure exactly how to answer this question. Moving anywhere can be expensive and moving abroad – especially when it’s not a sponsored move – is no different. I will have legal fees to pay, as mentioned above, and I’ll have to pay taxes in both countries. I don’t really know what else to say about finances. The boys’ venture over to the U.K. will not be cheap but it will be worth it. I may move myself over first, have the boys stay at their dog sitters house for a few weeks to minimize their stress [they are obsessed with her!] and then go back and bring them over once things have settled a little. I will need someone to do this with me because it’ll be a lot to do on my own [I’m totally miss independent and I’m not usually someone who asks for help but this is something that I will need another persons’ help with. Their travel kennels’ are huge. I’ll have a ton of paperwork to fill out with both of them WITH me in the cargo office. Other dogs could be in there at that time, which would be a shit show, so it’s definitely a two person job]. Since whoever that ends up being is going to help with me all of this, I’ll be paying for their flight, as well. * face palm * So, financially, it looks expensive at this point! Ha! But, I am really big on saving money. I know it doesn’t seem like it because of the nature of my job but, I am, and I’ll be selling A LOT … if not, ALL of my belongings, so … that’ll help.
I hope that answers this question. I don’t really like talking finances and am not sure what else to say about it.
If you get the visa you are applying for, how long would you be able to stay in London?
My visa option will last approximately 3 and a half years.
When are you expecting to have answers about all of it?
I was hoping to know by the beginning of June but I’m laughing at little at that wishful thinking. When I gave my immigration lawyer my ideal timeline [mid-Summer], she said that it’s certainly possible, but it does just depend on how long it takes the team in the U.K. and U.S. to iron out all of the answers we need and then get all of the documents needed for the application handed over to my immigration lawyer. So, at this point, I’m trying to tell myself sometime before 2020. If it happens closer to the initial timeline, amazing! That’ll be a really welcome surprise but, it’s just really hard to say right now.
Personally, I would rather it take longer and actually GET the visa versus trying to rush it and not. However, my immigration lawyer wouldn’t let me do that. She’s a tough cookie ha!
Are you nervous to leave behind your dad and family?
I wouldn’t say I’m nervous. I have always been very independent of my parents. While I love them very much, I have never been that daughter that has to talk to them every single day, multiple times a day nor do I see them super often even though we have always lived anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour from each other.
Over the past year, my parents have gone through a lot of personal life revelations and made a lot of changes. If you’ve followed me for awhile, you may remember the house and the property my Dad purchased just after my Mom passed away in 2013. I lived there in 2014, moved out in 2015. Francie and my Dad moved in that year and lived together there for almost two years until 2016 when Hurricane Matthew flooded it. What y’all probably didn’t know was that the house was in need of repair and my Dad was in the midst of making a decision as to what to do with it. It was below flood level and there was standing water under the kitchen, but it was still livable. The Northeast Florida area is situated in such a way that for a hurricane to hit it directly is such a rare event so my Dad and Francie figured they had some time to figure out what to do and also had time for those changes to be made but, sadly, they were wrong and Hurricane Matthew hit while they were out of town visiting Francie’s family in upstate New York.
[Side Note: This all happened when I was in London so my brothers did what they could to prevent the house from flooding but the house is on the intercostal waterway so it was almost inevitable.]
Hurricane Matthew forced my parents to make the decision to tear the house down and restart. My Dad and Francie designed a beautiful house. Designing houses is a true passion of my Dad’s and he is seriously so good at it. It’s still not done but it’s close. I went by there the other day and it is seriously GORGEOUS!
But … plot twist … they’re not moving back into it!
My Dad and Francie thought the house was going to be done before their rental lease was up but, since there were a lot of delays, they had to find another place to move in the meantime. While looking, they found an amazing property that they fell in LOVE with down in Palm Coast, Florida, which is about an hour south of the area we live in now. They decided that that was more in line with their vision for their future – somewhere small and low-key with a great view of the ocean. Another vision for their future is spending half of the year here in Florida and half of the year in Maine, a state they have grown to love and feel pulled to after many trips there over the last few years.
So, what’s the point of me sharing alllll of this?
Well, basically … even if I stayed here in the Jacksonville, they wouldn’t be as close as they used to and I wouldn’t be seeing them that often. Does that make me sad? Kind of. But, it almost makes me excited about knowing what the time we do get to spend together will be like. When I go to Maine, it is dedicated time with them. When they come to London, it is dedicated time with them. When I’m in Florida, it’s dedicated time with them. And, I know we will all be intentional about making the effort to see each other as often as possible.
My Dad has never been abroad so I am literally bursting at the seams at the thought of showing him around London. And I haven’t been to their property in Maine yet, so I am excited to see what all the hype is about.
All in all, it’s never ideal to be away from family but it is the reality that families feel led to live in different places. It’s a matter of being intentional about keeping those relationships relevant and healthy. The time difference will make it a little difficult but five hours is really not as hard as eight. We will make it work!
How do your parents feel about this move?
I don’t think any parent wants their child to live far away from them. The first couple of times I brought it up to my Dad, about exploring my visa options, he was pretty quiet but was essentially supportive in that he said ‘if it’s truly what you want, I will support you. I want you to be happy.’ There have been conversations where he’s asked some hard questions. He’s a business owner, a planner, very pragmatic, operates more on the realistic side of things, etc. He knows I’m more of a dreamer and can sometimes conveniently forget to ask the hard questions about whether a decision is actually a smart one or not. Over Christmas, I had some of the most amazing conversations with both my Dad and Francie. While they understand there is risk involved, they couldn’t be more supportive and happy to help in whatever way they can … well, within reason! The bills will be paid by me, ha! But, they have agreed to be on every call with the teams here in the U.K. and the States so that they fully understand everything in case – heaven forbid – anything were to ever happen to me, but also just to provide additional knowledgable insight if I come across something confusing. And, there are many confusing aspects to everything so far, ha!
So, yeah, ultimately, they’re supportive. I truly believe that one of the greatest ways you can love your children is to believe in their dreams, help them make them happen, be on their team and cheer them on! I wouldn’t say that is the mindset my Dad has always had and the encouragement he’s provided me in regard to this dream has communicated so much of how he feels about me, which is hard for my Dad to do – as a 3 on the Enneagram 😉
Fish & Chips
Will Fish and Chips be going to?
Yes! Fish and Chips will absolutely 100000% going although the process is less than ideal. Fish went with me when I went over in 2016 to live on a visitor visa and it was the most stressful thing I’ve ever gone through. More on that + the process in this Friday Five from my first week in London. Things might have changed since then. I need to brush up on the regulations
KIND REQUEST: Y’all are literally the sweetest humans. In 2016, I received so many potential work-arounds to get the boys to ride in the plane cabin with me. I know all of the suggestions were out sadness over Fish having to go below the plane. No dog lover likes the thought of that, especially the boys’ momma! I was not excited about it but he did just fine! 🙂 While I appreciated the suggestions that were sent my way, of course, this time around, I just ask that y’all trust that Justine, Stacy and I will take care of how the boys’ get over there. Y’all know you can always reach out to me but, I do need to protect our time in regard to this matter. My emotions are really tied to this and it’s hard having hope that maybe they could fly in the plane and then losing it when I find that a suggestion isn’t feasible in this situation. If we do find that there is a way for them to ride in the plane, I will certainly let you know! Hope y’all understand! xo.
If you want to read more about what my experience was like bringing Fish over in 2016, you can read THIS Friday Five blog post. There’s a section that explains five things I took away after one week in London.
Do your dogs have to stay in quarantine for a certain amount of time before being let into the country?
No, they won’t have to stay in quarantine. They are required to fly over from the U.S. via airline cargo and will be allowed into the country pending all the necessary paperwork is filled out correctly. The U.K. no longer requires a mandatory quarantine on animals coming into the U.K. via cargo as rabies does now exist on the island.
If you want to read more about what my experience was like bringing Fish over in 2016, you can read THIS Friday Five blog post. There’s a section that explains five things I took away after one week in London.
Will you be able to blog from there for us?
Yes! I obviously work for myself and want to continue to do so. Part of the process has been finding a visa option that works to support that continued professional endeavor. I want to inspire women on an international level to feel confident about what they put on their bodies, resist fear – no matter how crippling – go after their dreams and live brave lives! I’ve been so fortunate to have been given the platform that I have, by the grace of God and thanks to women like you, to be able to do this in America. I look forward to the opportunity to do it on a bit of a larger scale if I can make it over to London.
Will your current employees be able to work remotely or will you need to hire London employees?
The answer to this one is bittersweet. I will only be able to continue to have one of my assistant’s, Justine, who y’all know has been with me for three years this coming April. She does a lot of the backend blog post prep, site adjustments, newsletter management, etc. all of which her & I don’t necessarily need to be in the same place to do. Stacy runs errands, assists with creative ventures and is an ultra organizer. So, because so much of what she does is WITH me in person or around my house or running errands, I won’t be able to keep her on. I am sad because Stacy is such a gem and I love her dearly but I am truly blessed and humbled by her support. If there is anyone who can’t wait for me to get to London [for the right reasons; not because she hates working for me ;)] it’s her! I am so thankful to have someone who is so understanding despite what the decision will do to her. They will both work for me right up until they ship me out!
When I get to London, I’m sure I will eventually hire someone to help me professional errands, Instagram photo assistance and other tasks that my work experience in London reveals I may need help with. But, right now, I’m just trying to figure out how to get there!
What is your biggest fear of moving? Is it work related?
There are certainly a number of fears associated with all of this and, yes, they’re mostly in regard to work.
• I’m afraid I won’t be as helpful to my American followers because the retailers we shop at frequently are not as readily available to shop at over there. Shipping and import taxes on packages from retailers like Nordstrom, Shopbop and Revolve are all pretty outrageous. However, there are a lot of BRANDS that are available in the U.K. like H&M, Topshop, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Vince Camuto, name brand jeans, etc. that I can shop at here and link to with no problem so it could be worse. I guess my hope is that you follow me for more than just what I provide you in regard to shop-able links.
• Will the brand partners I’ve built strong relations with still want to work with me when I’m based in the U.K. and not America? I still gotta pay my bills so this is a very valid fear of mine. However, my audience is primarily American so this may not be an issue for awhile but, of course, it does worry me. Although, being in London will allow me to try out new brands so I am really excited about that!
• I have a feeling taxes are going to be a doozy so I guess I’m a little fearful about that aspect of things as anything new in regard to money can feel a little disconcerting at first.
• I guess I can also throw in that I’ll deem everything ‘too hard’ [i.e. too uncomfortable for my ‘nine’ personality] and move back without giving it enough time. Nothing worth having comes easy and when you move to a new place, especially a big city, life is a little harder and will take awhile to ‘make sense’, if you will. So, I just hope that I resist that desire for things to be ‘easy’.
So, yeah, there are definitely fears but, I’m going to continue to share my life and loves with you all and believe that God is going before me in it all. I know He put this desire on my heart for a reason and I’m excited to see what’s in store.
What will you do with your house and car?
I currently rent my townhouse so that shouldn’t be an issue. The only thing that will be a bit annoying is if the timeline goes longer than my lease, which I’m nervous will happen.
I will likely sell my car. It’s in perfect condition and only a year old so I know that shouldn’t be a problem.
When everything is official where do you want to live? What part of London?
There are a lot of great neighborhoods in London that I would definitely consider like Chiswick, West Hampstead, Notting Hill, St. John’s Wood, Islington, Highbury, Maida Vale, etc. That’s just a small handful of options. East London has some great options but, I do find myself to be more of a West London gal. But, what it’s really going to come down to is what is available when I get there, the price and how many of the items that myself [and hopefully Whitney!] are looking to find in a flat are available in the options that are out there.
Do you have friends that are currently over there? How do you meet people abroad?
My friend from college, Sarah, lives in London with her husband. They live in East London. Y’all know Victoria from my travels … she also lives in East London with her fiancé. I recently became friends with Mollie, the sweetest redhead who runs the blog Mollie Moore. She just moved to London with her husband and they live in West London. One of my really good friends from college, Sarah Kate, lives in Italy with her husband. So, yeah! I have a handful of friends in London and one good one in Italy, among some other acquaintances from college living in Europe that would be fun to catch up with from time to time!
I think the key to meeting people is the same there as it is here. Get out there! Join a gym! Go to networking events in your industry! Ask someone you meet at a networking even to coffee! You also meet people through other friends. Whitney went with my ex-boyfriend, Ben, and I to one of his best friends’ BBQ’s. Her & I met ladies at that BBQ that we are still connected to. One of them and her boyfriend go to the church that we enjoyed going to, HTB. We met up with her the last time I visited. Whitney became really good friends with another girl at the BBQ, who is quite hilarious, and ended up staying at Whitney’s place in Nashville once with her sister, who lives in L.A. Whitney hung out with them while they were in town and have formed a really strong friendship through it! I’ve become friends with a woman named Misty, who I connected with on Instagram and have subsequently connected Whitney with as they have the same visa that Whitney will be applying for. Misty is from Texas but has the same draw to London. Her and her husband are both entrepreneurs and it’s been really fun getting to know them. It’s also been extremely comforting to talk to people who have walked this path before, understand all of the feelings associated with it. They have been so helpful and encouraging to both Whitney and I. God’s been really sweet in how he has given both Whitney and I a tribe of people who are part of our London community but have rallied behind us reminding us that we can do this, that we will get there!
So, honestly, London sounds really ‘out there’ and ‘foreign’ but it’s full of people like you and me, similar interests and all! You just have to be willing to be intentional about getting together.
Will you live alone or with a roommate? Are you moving to London with Whitney?
One of my best friends, Whitney, is also pursuing a U.K. visa. Her and I’s stories have run so strangely parallel. We’re hoping that our timelines also run parallel so that we can live together. That’s what we’re trying for!
Whew! Okay, I’m going to take a nap now after writing all of this! I hope that this has filled in any gaps you may have had on my story to London! I will surely continue these are time goes on and I have more developments to share. I’m so hopeful for the future. I can’t help but smile at the thought that this time next year, I might be living in and calling London home! Prayers appreciated as I continue to walk down the path to making it a reality! xo.
Praying for this next chapter to run smoothly for you! I’ve been following along for years and can’t wait to see you flourish in London! Very happy for you!
Thank you so much, Lauren! I can’t tell you what your support and prayers mean to me! 🙂 xo.
So interesting to read about your decision making process! Good luck with immigration and I can’t wait for more blog posts from London.
Thank you so much, Sarah!
So interesting! Thanks for sharing your journey with us 🙂 I can’t wait to follow along as more unfolds for you. I absolutely LOVE London (and their accents;)) as well! Excited for you!
Thank you, Jodi! xo.
Londres is a beautiful place to move to. So much history, culture and lifestyles everywhere on the streets. Just look le anywhere on Europe. Love ♥️ Londres too.
??ROSES FOR FRIDAYS ??| by mia | A Creative Lifestyle Blog
Thanks, Mia! xo.
So happy you a following your heart because that is what ultimately is the most important.
Thanks, Melanie! xo.
I love all of this. I felt so many of these things as I tried to relocate over the past two years. I got my UK visa on Thursday and I believe you will as well. Something you want so deeply and thoroughly cannot elude you for long! Can I apply now to be your assistant once you get there 🙂 🙂
Hi Anna!! Ahhh, congrats!!! I’d love to hear more about your journey, what visa you are on and what your professional background is! I’ll definitely need an assistant so if you want to pass along your resume / CV, I’d love to see it! You can email it to email@example.com!
Thank you for being so honest and open with everyone. I hope To one day make that move (after I finish my masters) and your blog post was so inspiring. Looking forward to your blog once you get to London (I already love it now, but my heart is London)!
Good luck on your journey! xo.
Your team is extremely proud of you. We love you and we have your back one million percent the whole way!
THANK YOUUU! LOVE YOUUU!! xo!!
This is so exciting! I have followed you for years, and will continue to do so no matter where you live. I actually like your travel posts the best, so hope you do move abroad. Best of luck!
Thanks for sharing this with us Hayley. As someone who would has an avid interest in all things England I found this post extremely interesting. I have a feeling this is all going to be work out perfectly for you. 🙂
So, so excited for you! Praying for you during this journey. I moved from TN to New Mexico on my own, and while it wasn’t as far as London, it was a huge change nonetheless! Of course it had its challenges, but just like the quote you used, the reward was great. I found this is exactly where I need to be (not to mention, fell in love and got married!). You are strong and courageous and when you get there, I know you will make it through the challenges. I know you’ll make it through the challenges you’re facing now! God has put this on your heart for a reason. You got this girl! And all of your followers can’t wait to watch your journey!!!
Praying so hard, sister! I am going to London this summer and your travels and well written blog posts have only fueled my excitement. I can’t wait to visit all the beautiful, colorful places you’ve raves about! God bless you on your journey!
I’m curious— will your RN degree/license be valid there? Could you go back into nursing even part time or per diem if needed?
Hi Alyssa! Thank you so much! You’re going to love London! Hope you have the best time!
And, in re: to working as a nurse, I’m pretty sure under my visa, I won’t be allowed to be employed by any British business or entity, like a hospital. But, I do appreciate that idea 🙂
Wow! What a great post! I wish you the best of luck! I’ve been to London once and would love to go back. ? I definitely see the appeal ? BTW – the enneagram is the best personality test by far! I love it ? I’m a 7 ??
Right!?!?!? It’s SO amazing! Awww, love me some 7’s! I have a lot of good friends who are 7’s! I don’t know I’m just drawn to y’all or what – it’s also my second highest number so maybe I just identify with y’all a lot 😉
Just started to follow your recently and love you post. Moved to London two years ago from the East Coast and love it. I live in Chiswick and it is the most beautiful area to live. Any questions on the area, would love to help you answer them!!! Also have a dog that came over as well, the parks amazing here! Best of Luck!!
Hi Victoria! I’m so happy to hear that about Chiswick! I looove that area so much and I want to live close to a park for the boys! I’d love to get together for coffee on a future trip!
Hi Victoria! Don’t know if you will see this but I am moving to London this July (from Nashville) and would love to chat with anyone who’s done it! My instagram is @mchugh17 if you’d be willing to chat sometime!!
So happy for you! Can’t wait to follow along on your journey with the immigration process and move to London. All the best!
Your dad and I are both 3’s!
Good luck on your journey to London! We’re planning on going in 2022, so we will have to meet up if you’re there. 🙂
Hahah! He’s definitely a 3 with a lot of 1 and 8 in there! 🙂 What’s Justin? Has he taken it?
Justin is a 1, which I think suits him.
Definitely! I can see that! 🙂
Praying it all goes well! My father was in the USAF and we were stationed in England and Scotland! They are my two favorite country’s in the whole world!
That’s amazing! I want to travel to Scotland at some point after the move! It looks like such a beautiful country!
Your story is amazingly encouraging. I’m a newbie to following you. I was looking for how to style an outfit, came across a post on Pinterest, which linked me to Like to Know it and led me to Instagram and here I am checking your stories daily now. You may not have the same brands in London, but I will continue watching for the OOTD ? because it helps me learn how to style things together. A verse that came to mind as I was reading this is Numbers 6:24-26. I look forward to hearing more about your exciting journey.
Hi Melanie! Thank you so much for following! I’m so glad you found me!! I just looked up that verse. So so sweet. Thank youuuu! I really appreciate your prayers and support! xo.
Wow, what an overwhelming and exciting process! Good for you for putting so much time and effort into something you feel so passionate about. I’m positive the timing will work out just as it is supposed to, and it will be so awesome when it does! Best of luck treading through all this unknown territory! Can’t wait to keep up with your London life when it happens!
-Andrea | https://andreapeacock.com/
Thanks so much, Andrea! I really appreciate it! xo.
I moved to London from the US 2 years ago with my husband and absolutely love it here. Fortunately it’s not a crazy culture shock due to the language. Everything else you’ll figure out (i.e. rocket = arugula) I felt very brave moving abroad only knowing 2 people who live here but am so glad we did. You should be proud of yourself for taking this leap. London is worth it 😉
Hi Ashley! That’s so nice to hear – that it’s all worth it and that you love it! I’ve already got a lot of the verbiage that’s different than the U.S. down with all the time I’ve spent there and having dating a Brit. ‘Gutted’ = devastated ; ‘knackered’ = exhausted; ‘pissed’ = drunk hahaha can’t wait to make it over there! 🙂 xo.
Wow! It is so exciting and inspirational that you are following your dreams and putting this into motion! Can’t wait to keep following and see where the journey takes you!
Thank you, Nicole! xo.
Hi Haley, years ago I told you “wanderlust” was going to set in. I’m happy to see it did full blown. From one wanderlust Jax person to another-go follow your dreams. YOLO!!
Many blessings on your journey!
Hi Maritza! Thank youuuuu! Where are you living?
Prayers that all of this works out for you!! I love reading your blog and using your style posts for inspiration. I feel even though you will be living in London, I will still love reading your blog & folllowing along for your journey!!! I’m sure many of your readers feel the same way! You are always so bright & uplifting & it’s something that makes me happy!
Thank you so much, Traci! I hope so, too! 🙂
I cant wait to follow along!!! 🙂 I just booked a trip there end of april, with one of my girlfriends and we are super excited!!
Oh my god, Haley!!! This post was so helpful! How exciting!!! You did an amazing job with helping us understand this process! You’re an amazing person! God hears our cries and always gives us the desires of our hearts!!! He has a plan for all of us!! Jeremiah 29:11!!! I’m praying for you and with you that this happens for you!!
THANKS GIRL!!!! Appreciate your love, encouragement, excitement and prayers!!! xo.
First of all, WOW! Total bad ass for writing such a thorough post. The Lord is faithful and will surely make a way. So excited for you!
Thanks, Maritza!! Two Maritza’s have commented on this post! How cool, ha!!
Congratulations on committing to go to London, I too love it as a city! I just committed this week to move to Dublin for 3 years for my company, so I totally understand the excitement, fear and uncertainty. While I’ve been to London 2x a year for 20 years, my partner and I have never actually been to Dublin! But, sometimes you just take a leap of faith. We too hope that our couple of years in Dublin eventually helps get us to London. Good luck!
Dublin is much smaller but is so quaint and beautiful! The people are nice! Wishing you a wonderful experience there and hope you make it to London in the future!! So exciting!! xo.
I’m so excited for you! I will definitely be following along; what a fun journey!
Thank you, Emily!!
Wishing you lots of luck in this journey! Hope it works out for you. Xoxo
Thank you, Samantha!
I have to say, I’ve followed you for a very long time and I’ve loved ALL Of the content you’ve created for your blog and instagram. You’ve inspired me (especially since mentioning that you were going to look into a visa) to travel move and just follow your heart. I was in a toxic relationship for two years too long and became complacent in my life. But as of late, I’ve been looking into checking things off my bucket list more and more and that’s all because of you and you showing how you’re finally doing something that you’ve had in the back of your mind for years. You’re an inspiration! I hope this all works out for you – I would absolutely LOVE to see what new content you could created from “across the pond”. Cheers and good luck!!! ❤️
Tori!!!! Wow. Thank you so much for these words. They made me smile. I am SO HAPPY you are out of that relationship and this time afterwards has allowed you to wake up to yourself!! I hope you go after all of the things you want. You can do it! And, thanks so much for following 🙂 xo.
So cool to read about your plans because I have a similar dream of living in London that coincidentally started after a high school trip to England, Ireland and Wales during my junior year of high school!! Small world 🙂
Hahha, no way!!! Those high school trips, man … they’ll get ya!! Wanderlust is the best feeling!
I love following you so much! I literally talk about your posts and adventures like we are real life besties and my boyfriend thinks I’m absolutely ridiculous! But I am SO thrilled for you, Whit and the boys and cant wait to see what this year holds for yall!!! ❤
Hahahhah thank you so much, Cassie!!! xo.
This is such a beautiful store and I so enjoy following you and this process! I’m praying that your dreams come true!!
This is all so exciting and I’m loving hearing some of your process! I remember reading your blog when you were staying over in London and I love that you’re pursuing this dream! Go for it! I really feel that it inspires people to go for their goals and dream (regardless if the dream is moving to another country or not. lol)
Also to speak to the part about your majority American followers and the different shopping content/stores available in the UK etc, I’m a follower that lives in Canada and I love your fashion content regardless if I can get the exact item. (or if the exact item might be more expensive with shipping/duty etc). I also already follow some awesome people from different countries (Austrailia/UK etc) and that has never bothered me and I feel most people follow you for more than that anyway imo 🙂 Hope that makes sense.
I’m excited for this new opportunity for you and can’t wait to see where it takes you (and the boys! Who are so adorbs BTW 🙂
Thank you so much for all the love and encouragement! It’s so nice to hear that you live in another country and still enjoy following 🙂 xo.
All of these photos give me heart eyes! Esp the one with Fish 🙂
Hahah, he’s not as thrilled as I am to be there hahah it was FREEZING that morning!
I so hope this works out for you! After my first time visiting London I’ve always felt such a strong pull to it. Got super close once but it didn’t work out, you’re definitely inspiring me to pursue it again!
Thanks, Bree!! I hope it does for you, as well! xo.
After taking a break (family duties), I just finished reading this lost. I wish only the best for you and Whitney and praying you ladies get your visas settled. Can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you. Sending positive vibes your way xoxo
Thank you so much, Lizbeth! xo.
This is AMAZING. You are SUCH An inspiration. I have been saying I want to move to Paris. I used to speak french and it kills me when I go there and can’t get around. A good solid month would bring it right back though. This will sound stupid but maybe you’ll relate, I feel like I can’t do it while I still have my dog. I rely heavily on my parents to watch her when I travel for the blog which is often and I believe she loves them more than me. I couldn’t stomach taking her away from them and at her old age putting the stress on her. It seems like your dogs did great though and that’s actually motivating for me.
Thank you for ALL This information as even just a short term trip to Paris like you initially did in London is on my list of things to do. Maybe I need a buddy to do it with like you did! Bookmarking this because maybe that’ll help put the energy into it!
My Style Vita
Hi Jessica!! I totally understand. I think, in 2017, I used the boys as an excuse. It was so stressful to bring Fish over and the thought of bringing two … i literally tear up thinking about it, especially with Fish being 10 now. BUT, I will say, the people who were responsible for caring for him and navigating him through the airport were ALL so sweet and kind and ensuring that he would be fine. Another thing to mention – getting a dog to France is MUCH easier than the U.K. Because the U.K. is an island, they’re just more strict on how animals are brought in. One thing I am going to be looking into, actually, is flying with the boys in the cabin to Paris AND THEN taking the Eurostar [train] with them into the U.K. I’m not sure if that’s a sure bet yet as I still have to look into it but I’ve had MULTIPLE people tell me they did that with their dogs to get them to the U.K. without them having to fly under. So, France must be easier. Look into it and she can come with you!! I know that sounds like a huge undertaking – and maybe it is just to have her with you for a month – but it’s worth at least looking into if you’d like to live there one day. It is sad to take them away from people they see a lot and love but, you also have a life to think about. They will meet new people who will love them and their loved ones from the states will always be able to come and visit and, in the new place, they’ll always have you – who they love more than anyone 🙂
This is so inspiring and I’m hoping that everything works with the timeline you set forth for yourself!! A good friend of mine made the move to London a few years ago and just got the visa you’re referencing (she moved there for work originally)! Love that you’re going after what you want and love!!
Thank you so much!! Does she work for herself or for a company that moved her there?
Thank you for this thoughtful blog post; I’m so happy and excited for you! I might have to move to a different city this year and am pretty nervous about it, but your optimism is rubbing off on me 🙂
Yayy! I’m so happy to hear that!
I loved reading this post! I have followed you for years and years (like before you were a full time blogger and were still a practicing nurse years, haha) and at this point I feel as vested in your journey to get to London as I would for a friend I know in real life! Wishing you all the best! Your message that life unfolds at different paces and looks different to everyone speaks right to my heart and brings me so much peace at a time where this fellow enneagram nine is also on the brink of many life changes. Good luck!
I’m so happy that this post and that message could do that for you. Don’t be afraid to make those big decisions. Sometimes the not-so-peaceful parts of life can bring you to a life-giving place 🙂 xo.
I can feel your heart’s desire to be there through your words. As scary as it is to make a change like this, anything that weighs on your heart that much has to be for a reason, right?! I was raised in Southern California, but I have family in Georgia. Growing up, every time we would visit I would fall more and more in love with it. I couldn’t explain it, and I was for too young to understand it, but I always had a feeling that I belonged there. The last family trip I took out here as a young teenager I remember crying as the plane left. I remember telling myself, “You belong here and one day you’ll be back.” When I was 19 I packed up, and without my parents and brother moved all the way across the country. It was the scariest decision I’ve ever made. But it’s also been the best decision of my life. I’ve been here almost 13 years and I have never once thought that maybe I don’t belong. It’s an amazing feeling knowing I followed my heart. I hope and pray the same for you!! Good luck as you prepare for this next chapter!!
Wowww! This makes me feel less crazy, ha!! Thank you so much for sharing! I’m so happy you found your place! xo.
Thanks for sharing your journey. I hope to be with you reading all the way. Prayers for your dreams to come true! I adore your. Stay brave doll! ✨
Thanks so much, Dee! xo.
Love this post Haley!! Praying for you!
Do you think you could write a post about how you lived in London on a visitor’s visa? I’d be interested in doing that too!
I’ll definitely keep that in mind as a potential future London blog post! I might save it for when I’m actually there, though! 🙂 xo.
My favourite blog post of yours to date! Thank you for being so honest and open. Are you able to let us know which visa it is that you are applying for and which different one Whitney is after? I’m also a Freelancer (although from Canada) and have been struggling with my options on getting back to the UK, after spending 3 years living there.
Thank you so much! At this time, I’m not comfortable disclosing my specific visa being that I’m in the midst of a lot of uncertainty. While we are hopeful about this visa option, we still have a lot of work to do. I would definitely try and get in touch with an immigration lawyer to talk through some potential options – if you’ve had one before, maybe try a different one who might be inspired to have a fresher idea of what could work! If, after I get to London, you are still trying to find a way, I might feel more comfortable talking about it via email. xo!
I took the enneagram test after you raved about it a couple of months ago, and I also got 9! I was nodding along the entire time reading your post, because SAME!
I am so excited for you and this adventure! London was my absolute favorite place when I went to visit my Dad in Germany back in 2001. He was active US Military at the time, now retired, but we took so many trips during my 2 months overseas. London, by far, was my absolute favorite! What a dream it would be to go back for even a visit. To be able live there would be simply amazing! Best of luck to you and may God continue to bless you on this journey! We are all praying for your dreams to come true!
Love all of this. Thanks for sharing!!!
I am with you! Go after your dreams….as we get older moving away dreams easily get lost!?
Thanks for sharing! I loved reading this post. Seriously felt like a little bit of Sex and the City but London. Loved all the details. Thank you so much for sharing. This could totally be a movie btw!! Can’t wait to learn more about Mr.London
I think you are wonderful and admire you and your ambition. I am trying to kindly tell you to have someone check your notes. There are many mistakes…examples …her and I’s …whitney and I’s is improper…I have seen this mistake many times. It may seem a small thing but looks unprofessional.
Otherwise good luck. Seems a fantastic plan.
This is so exciting! why didn’t you mention your boyfriend John at all? Did I miss something?
Hi Ashley! I met John in March so he wasn’t mentioned because we hadn’t met and he wasn’t a part of my life at the time. I have loved and wanted to live in London long before Mr. London 😉 although, now that he is in my life, it’ll only make my life in London that much sweeter, whenever it is that I am approved and allowed to live there! xo.
You never mentioned John Martin..Mr. London in all of this??? Been following your journey and was so excited when he appeared in your life. I just noticed he was not mentioned..is he still a part of your journey? Hope so.
Stay positive.. Proverbs 3:5,6
Hiii! Yes, that’s because it was written before I met John. This whole journey started a long time before Mr. London 🙂 which, is a part of why he has been such a sweet surprise but, yeah, I kind of love that I was heading there anyway more I met him.
Everything is fine with us 🙂
Wishing you goodluck in this next adventure! I am from California and now live in Budapest, Hungary – If you ever find the need for another friend abroad. 🙂
Thats great news? Are still working as a nurse? You can still pursue your nursing career in London by applying in MNC so you can get work permit. Same time you can work as a nurse and still do your travel blogging.. i love London too. Used to live outside london in Oxforshire county but closer to Bershire county. If you fancu visiting countryside try Henley-on-thames.. the place of Royal Regatta.
Wish u the best in all your endeavor