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1 nov20191

Settle down! They said. I am not a tree! I answered

London, United KingdomLondon, United Kingdom
It has been 9 months since I came back to the UK and one question that I have been asked many times is "Don't you want to settle down? Buy a house maybe?"

In the last few years I learned I do not need to get to a certain socially-acceptable point in life by a certain age. There's nothing wrong with either approach - that's also a learning I took from people I met in my life. If you want to have kids by the time you're 30 - great and best of luck! The problem arises when it becomes a norm and the moment you're on the other side you're getting grilled about when you're getting married, having kids, or buying a house. 

Few days ago one of my friends asked me similar question. He emphasised where, not when, I would like to settle. When I close my eyes and imagine a place I could just live and be happy, it would be a small cottage somewhere in Scotland, some animals to keep each other company, not a lot of people around, maybe a neighbour or two within some distance, and a village with a pub where you can meet and discuss the events of the day. This would be my ideal base. I will probably never stay in one place too long but that would be my dream home to come to when some peace is needed. 

London, turns out, is too big for me. Even when I visited it in the past for few days I could never really get a feel of it. I visited few other big cities like Singapore, Vancouver, Medellín, or New York. None of them were like London. Yesterday I saw this sketch about how only Londoners love London: 

Only Londoners actually like London.

Posted by on Saturday, 26 October 2019

I can relate a little bit. Most of Londoners will say they love their home and I do not find it neither untrue nor weird. Sometimes you get used to one place so much that you think it's the whole world. The problem is when you happened to have seen the world tiny bit and realise that nowadays you can live everywhere and anywhere. To me personally the world is too big to just stay in one place and settle. The sheer excitement of packing bags and moving to a different longitude and latitude is like a drug. If it involves learning new culture, language, getting to know people with different stories, then that's a huge bonus. 

Big cities are not for everybody. London is home to almost 10 million souls and there are a lot of compromises you have to do. Many times I have heard an honest advice to move closer to the city centre, in order to save some time to commute or, on the other hand, move farther away to avoid being close to the traffic. I live about an hour from the centre, which sounds amazing but there's a caveat: I have a so called Northern Circular right next to me. It basically means the buzzing sound of cars 24h a day. Wish I paid more attention to the surroundings on the map when I made my choices about which area to live in.

Wherever I lived I had put roughly the same amount of effort to make it my home. Only that way I can really get a good benchmark where I feel comfortable. It would be possible to make a super extra effort, in order to get a little bit of sanity here in London but why should I? I am an analyst after all. Proper baseline is necessary to get a good comparison. Don't get me wrong I still had to make some extra effort here but I can't bend over backwards just to see if there's a glimpse of happiness. 

Sometimes you just aren't compatible. Whether it's a person, a job, or a city. 
I am not a tree
I wish I was, or do I? We humans, unlike trees, can move when the circumstances allow us. This pictures sums it up perfectly:
Just for your information I am the guy behind the human with birds flying out of its head :)

One of the things I loved about UK and even US is how easy and normal it is to move around the country for new career prospects. Thanks to European Union it had changed a little bit but I still don't think it's in the culture of most Eastern parts of Europe. Yes a lot of economic immigrants leave countries to work for a year or two and then they go back. Also I think they would rather go abroad for certain amount of time and come back, rather than try to move within the country. I wonder how true is that? 

There was a very interesting survey done in 2017 by MoveHub. They were looking at global moving trends. Here is a map that shows the most exciting destinations for people to move to permanently.
Just by looking at this map my feet feel the urge to pack my backpacks, buy plane or train ticket, and go there. For a week, a month, a year, or a decade.  Canada, Spain, South Africa, India, and of course - Australia :) are always on my mind. Just like with emotional settlement, some people find their match early, some literally settle, and some keep on looking until it feels right.

The most exciting part of the last 3 years was the thrill of being in a new place. The thoughts of who I would meet, what I would discover about myself, what kind of impact will the place's history and vibe have on me. Only now I properly notice the fruits of those discoveries. I'm living in 35th mostly populated city in the world (honestly I thought it would be at least top 10, 35 doesn't sound so dramatic haha) with almost 10 million humans. Everybody is busy, rushing to the train, underground, a bus, living the 9-5 life. I used to do that. Back in my 20s when I was a textbook defition of a workaholic. 

I think I had to go through it anyway. Now I know that I do not belong to places like London. A place where I would need to compromise a lot of things, in order to achieve some kind of inner-peace. It has been a learning experience, that's for sure..  but if my feet are tapping all the time, it can only mean one thing :)
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