Why I’m Moving Back to London

I’m spending the summer in London. It’s time to reset. The past few weeks have whizzed by in a mixture of cocktails, sunsets, new friends, white wash buildings, colourful Nordic houses, fun with the family in Barcelona and the excitement of coming back from the USA and having fun with my friends in London.

I feel like I need to come back, commit to some sort of exercise and healthy eating, cut back on the way too many fun nights out I’ve had lately and make some headway on my never ending to do list that’s crushing my brain.

Taking a step back

Moving back to London

– Me hiking in Harmavan, Lapland, yeah I wore that with all the North Facers

Last week I was at the TBEX conference in Stockholm (big event for travel bloggers). Lola Akinmade Akerström (awesome National Geographic photographer and blogger) did a great closing speech, based on the premise that as travel bloggers we shouldn’t fear transition. We need to travel to work, but when we want to slow down, as is kind of inevitable at some point, we should just do it.

People change, so do blogs and their bloggers.

The last few months, well, now TWO YEARS have been crazy. As in approaching too much kind of crazy. Lola said to think about how we’d define ourselves beyond ‘travel blogger’ in front of a room of heads nodding in agreement. Heads filled with the all-consuming nature of feeling the need to Tweet, Snapchat, Pin, Facebook, photo, write, Facebook Live and Periscope every minute of their travels.

My job is awesome, incredible, brilliant, all the positive words ever, but in travelling and working all the time I’m shattered.

“Think about a house. You can’t build the walls if the foundations are constantly moving”

–Lola Akinmade Akerström

I just want to leave my toothbrush in the bathroom

Harmavan

– Harmavan again, bloggers, cameras and a bridge – photo unedited

I want to go through the thousands of photos I’ve taken, tell some of the two years of stories, hang out with friends and just actually be with people I’ve known longer than a few days. I was already thinking like this but Lola’s talk has cemented the fact that I need to just be. The little things, like being able to leave my toothbrush in the bathroom, making a proper cup of tea, not carrying all my possessions wherever I go and not having to use adaptors on my plugs seem all kinds of appealing right now.

It’s a strange life, as evidenced from my many chats with my travel bloggers friends,

– Too bohemian for the ‘make a million dollars in a month’ digital nomad crowd. Their thirst for money by dishing out second rate products was against my beliefs, and they couldn’t understand why I didn’t plaster ads all over my blog. Well, the ones in Chiang Mai anyway.

– Too grown up and dedicated to my work to just travel freely with the gap year travellers, although, some of my best times were spent with them when I abandoned my work for a week or two.

– Too much travelling to fit in with the ex pats in any destinations. If you want to make any kind of roots, you need to stay still for more than a week.

I see my happy place right now somewhere in the middle – in the best of both worlds. I want a home so I don’t have to carry all my stuff, somewhere where I have friends nearby, but with the opportunity for plenty of travel too. I’m definitely not planning on ‘settling’.

I’m going to have to build up to this though. I feel a bit like some kind of feral beast who’s expected to emerge from the freedom of the jungle and rejoin society.

London is my home

First step to the forthcoming assimilation is a month-long Airbnb somewhere between Brixton and Stockwell. I’m still going to Wilderness Festival, and I have a day trip to Paris planned, but the rest of the time I want need to find some sort of normal schedule to live by.

I don’t have much stuff so it seems like a good way to have a base, without being too permanent. Right now I can’t dedicate myself to either flying or staying still, so I’m going to hover.

I’ve tried a lot of things in the last two years, thinking I might find something I want to stick with, before I realised the thing I want to stick with is trying new things. And London is the perfect place to do that.

The time is now. Enjoy it.

Skydeck ChicagoI’ve seen quite a few bloggers slow their travels as they start to crave community after a few years of travelling and blogging, and now I’m joining that club. No (wo)man is an island, no matter how much you like islands.

I’ve worked on my blog and freelance projects hard over the years, and I’m happy to say that if I keep the Champers to a minimum I don’t need to find any sort of ‘day job’ to finance this change. I hope that not having to research where I’m going to sleep every night and how to get there means I’ll have more time to work on projects that have taken a backburner. I have so many ideas for things I’d like to do on and with my blog, the time is now!

I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU ABOUT CHICAGO YET! – (pictured)

I know that my blog is my calling, my life’s work. And so that’s my career tick. I just need to actually do some work on it. So now’s the time for family, friendships, and maybe some kind of relationship.

Where’s that dark room?

Since writing this I’ve lost my iPhone 6, in a field in Lapland the day after the insurance ran out, and then left my laptop charger in the hotel room, two hours away. So I kind of feel like I want to go and sit in a dark room for a week or two and think about my future.

Let me know if you have any suggestions.

The Little Man Who Bullied Me on the Way to Sainsbury’s
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tagged in life

20 Comments

  1. by Sharon on July 22, 2016  10:26 am Reply

    There does seem to be a big change happening in travel blogging. Some bloggers who gave been doing it for years are feeling the need to slow down. I don't blame them.

    Running a business and travelling isn't for the faint hearted - I can't even imagine the frustrations caused by temperamental internet connection/speed - to constantly be on the move must be exhausting.

    Never mind the effect on personal relationships. I noticed many bloggers (especially the females) talking about the limits of friendships and dating in this environment.

    Everyone needs a break every now and then. I'm in the middle of a planned career break right now. It's made a huge difference to my motivation and productivity. I hope yours has the same effect!

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:45 am Reply

      Yes, that troublesome Wi-Fi can waste hours, even days, when you're travelling and working. It's SO frustrating when hotels, cafes and restaurants advertise that they have Wi-Fi only for it to work circa 1999. So annoying.

      There are SO many female travel bloggers that I think the guys have a field day. For the girls it's hard to find anyone who's schedule and ideals match up. And it would take a very special person to make me want to change the freedom I have in life, so it's difficult for anything to happen naturally.

      Yep, it's just a month (right now) and I'm already sleeping better, feeling better and getting more work done, so all good!

  2. by Säräh on July 22, 2016  12:08 pm Reply

    Sounds like you need a break for sure. When the traveling starts to feel like it's too much it's definitely time to slow down. Your job is meant to be the dream and it should be fun!

    Just take a break and you'll soon be feeling on top of it again.

    Have fun in London :)

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:47 am Reply

      Yeah definitely. I feel bad talking negatively about my incredible life and opportunities, but too much of anything is just too much!

  3. by Jenni on July 22, 2016  1:13 pm Reply

    Awww bless you, you certainly have been living the dream and I'm also a blogger so understand how tiring it can be. I never got a chance to speak to you at tbex as it was quite manic for those couple of days but I have just booked my ticket for Jerusalem not a place I would have thought about visiting, are you going?
    Anyway get back to London and I bet in a few weeks you will be itching to go again I'm in Bristol come and have a tour although don't expect me to be knowledgable I've lived there 16 years and no nothing so I'm also having a staycation to get to know the town and surrounding areas I live in

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:51 am Reply

      Ah that's a shame we didn't speak. I think I probably will – I've been to Jerusalem before and it's such a beautiful place. Seems like the perfect opportunity to extend the trip a bit and go to Jordan too.

      I'm feeling better already after two nights of good sleep. And I was even looking at flights to Chile last night (oops). It won't be long till I'm back travelling again, but definitely looking forward to this month of relaxing and enjoying London life.

      I'd love to come to Bristol. I went for a hen do a few years ago and loved it!

  4. by Paul on July 22, 2016  1:25 pm Reply

    Good read,

    Travelling is always mind revealing but as you rightly mentioned no man is an island.

    Enjoy London, it's brilliant, try the street food markets.

    I would leave you with one, Dinerama at Shoreditch, try out the best burger, Pork ribs etc in London at "Smoke Stak", say hi to David (Big guy with skinny legs)

    Find other street markets. They are the hidden germs of London.

    Enjoy

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:52 am Reply

      Ooo nice recommendations Paul! I've added them to my 'things to do in London list'. Love a meaty treat :)

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:52 am Reply

      Thanks Tanja!

  5. by Teena on July 22, 2016  2:43 pm Reply

    Hovering sounds perfect for you. It's like a novelist who wants to write historical fiction; they spend years studying, reading, traveling and learning the history. Now it's time to sit down and write the story.
    Find a foundation that works for now and take some time, write your stories, put your videos together, sort your photos, and eventually I hope you give us a more in-depth look at what you've been doing the last two years.
    I look forward to reading about your past adventures and your insights from a retrospective viewpoint, and your new side trips too.

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:54 am Reply

      Thanks Teena, that analogy is spot on. I've done so much I need to sit back and think about it all. And as you say, write the story. Thanks for reading!

  6. by Bob on July 22, 2016  2:58 pm Reply

    Hey Vicky, That National Geographic lady sounds like she knew what she was talking about. I really really enjoyed reading this article and must admit, I did have a smile on my face here and there, most of the time actually. Thank You for that! It is really exciting to see you going through yet another metamorphoses and doing the inward looking thing. I can understand the constant living out of your luggage while working becoming hard work. It is, but it can be a real adventure and I know you love it. I think this is the second or third best post of yours that I have read. Maybe there may be another arrow in the quiver out there for a skilled writer to tell stories that personally effect them. I enjoy reading stories that come from the heart as that is a real reality.

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  7:57 am Reply

      Thanks Bob, I enjoy writing them too. Nice little diversion from the practical tips and advice I usually like to give out. Now that I have a bit more time to put fingers to keyboard you can expect more!

      I feel bad saying I'm tired and worn out, because I've obviously been having a lot of fun lately but the work to keep up with the adventures has just felt relentless at times. I feel more relaxed already, in just two days.

  7. by Lola on July 23, 2016  4:44 am Reply

    It's so humbling and also inspiring to watch you through this life transition. I'm so honored and touched that the keynote resonated with so many of us within the travel blogging community. Wishing you the very best with your transition to London and remember, transitions are also often temporary detours that bring us back on our paths even stronger. Best wishes!

    • by Vicky on July 24, 2016  7:59 pm Reply

      Thanks Lola. It's definitely been the most difficult times of my life that have bought about the best times. Looking forward to seeing what comes next now :).

  8. by A Lady in London on July 24, 2016  10:50 am Reply

    I can definitely relate to feeling burned out after traveling constantly. I hope your time in London allows you to recharge and settle down for a while. Good luck!

    • by Vicky on July 24, 2016  7:56 pm Reply

      Thanks Julie! I need it. Feel like I keep making silly mistakes lately. I need to sit down in the same space and chill!

  9. by Cajsa af Ekenstam on July 27, 2016  8:50 am Reply

    Maybe you found out this "slowing down feeling" when we were hiking together in the Swedish mountains in Hemavan? Natures grandeur in the mountains gives everything a second thougth or meaning. I suggest you come back not only searching for your phone but also to search and find calmness and gratitude in the mountains. Hugs from your guide Cajsa.

    • by Vicky on July 27, 2016  10:27 am Reply

      Ar thanks Casja. I loved our time hiking together! I'd love to come back and see more. London seems a million miles away from here and our hike, and the helicopter pick up. Seems like a different world! I'll definitely be back one day. :)

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