As my first day of being thirty years old passes, we find ourselves having forsaken London. We went out flat hunting, paperwork in hand like rifles, the tube like horses and hounds. After several false starts, I had to admit to myself that London just wasn’t worth it. Paying a thousand pounds for a small flat (bed bugs likely included) in a part of town I would be scared to walk in at night, spending an hour on the tube just to get to a part-time job at a fabulous bookshop just didn’t add up.
I feel terrible about it, but I turned down the job at the bookshop. As much as I would have loved to work there (and the fact that job-hunting in this country has been as futile and depressing as hell, but that’s the subject of another post), the part-time hours and level of pay just didn’t rationalise the ridiculous London rent. After crunching numbers, I calculated that the difference in price to live in a shitty London flat versus a decent flat anywhere else was more than I would make. In essence, living outside London unemployed would be cheaper than living in London and working part-time minimum wage.
Realizing this seemed something of a relief, actually. We were both tired of London but couldn’t justify admitting it. Had we turned tail and fled without the power of mathematics on our side it would have felt like failure or cowardice. I already feel pretty stupid for having believed the glorious picture of London. But then again, a lot of people have told us since: you have to realize for yourself that London sucks. No one heeds the warnings non-Londoners give; as my cousin said, if the person telling you is from the north, you just assume that it’s part of the whole Northerners-hate-London thing.
But they are right to. Trust them. London is beautiful in the centre, terrible on the outskirts. It’s a wonderful place to visit, but not to live. Lesson learned.
So then, we fall back on Plan B, which is actually returning to Plan A. Our sights are set on Hebden Bridge or somewhere like it. And if we don’t get jobs, then we travel and write until the money runs out and then go back to Vancouver.
Plan A sounds fantastic actually. Why did we even form a Plan B?