So, everyones moving to London at the moment. It just seems like a natural life progression. Leave University/College, wait around for a year or so, think about what you want to do with your life, maybe visit South East Asia.. and then move to London. At least, that’s what a lot of my particular group of friends have done; and I imagine this situation is being replicated across the rest of the country.
Just to be clear, I’m definitely not bitter, hell, I’ve even dabbled with the idea of moving there myself. However, after much research and consideration, I have come to the conclusion that twenty somethings need to accept the possibility that they are not going to miss out on all life changing experiences if they don’t choose to throw themselves into the bear pit that is our capital. There are countless articles online on why you SHOULD move to London; so, in the interest of fairness, here are some reasons why you should NOT:
1.) You’re not going to be as cultural as you think.
It’s really easy to picture yourself living in London and becoming really arty and intellectual with your free time, knowing where all the best restaurants are, visiting the V&A every time there is a guest exhibition and, of course, going to the theatre, a lot. Realistically, when the average monthly rent is now £1,500 and the average wage just under £26,000, you’re probably not going to be too keen on splashing out 80 quid to see Les Misérable. You’ll probably just buy food or Netflix instead.
2.) You can’t afford to live – anywhere.
Rent- yes that old chestnut again. This one refuses to be ignored. As much as everyone is fed up of hearing about it, it just can’t be left out of the list. Rent and house prices in London are absurd, everyone knows that, yet for some reason people are more than willing to pay them. As the media frequently loves to remind us, you can legitimately buy a castle in Scotland, yes a castle, for the same price as a 1 bed flat in Chelsea. Now most of us would never actually consider buying a 1 bed flat in Chelsea, or anywhere else in zone 1 for that matter, but you see my point. It just doesn’t seem sane to trade in a 3 bed end of terrace with outdoor space up-north, for a double room in a flat share that no one with working eyes has any right to call a double room.
3.) Socialising is hard.
Once you’re there actually getting to see your other London friends is challenging. When you lived in the same town you popped round for a Tuesday night tea all the time, here in London you probably see them as often as you did when they went to University in Plymouth. Just because you live in the same city does not mean getting together will be like an episode of Friends. Realistically you’re more likely to have pints with your new work colleagues on the way home than brave the 6 tube stops, overground and bus it would take to see Dave; Dave who you were really excited to see more of once you moved to London.
4.) You can’t take your pet with you.
I don’t want to live in a world where a landlord won’t accept you for your cat, or your dog for that matter. If you share your life with a four-legged friend then, chances are, you’re going to want to pack them when you move. It’s not just the small matter of finding a landlord who is willing to accept you and your malting baggage, you’re also going to need some degree of outdoor space. Places near parks are prime real estate so you’re going to struggle procuring one of those for less than a kidney; also, there are certain places that just don’t strike as ‘dog friendly’; lets face it, no-one looks great picking up dog shit in Camden.
5.) The pubs can’t cope with the population.
Call it old fashioned, but when you decide to spend some of your hard earned cash on a trip to the pub, It’s quite reasonable to expect to be able to relax- find a seat, hear what the people you’re with are saying, not live in constant fear of an elbow sending your £8 glass of wine flying; that sort of thing. It’s not that a busy atmosphere isn’t enjoyable, it is, but on a sunny day when the only way to ensure a seat in the beer garden is to send someone an hour in advance to reserve it, reminiscent of a Majorca sun-bed brawl 5 minutes after sunrise, then it’s too much.
6.) There’s no countryside.
Growing up in the countryside means you need to be at least 20 minutes from a field at all times, otherwise you might get rickets or something; not really, but the countryside is really great. Clapham Common may be ideal for sitting around on a sunny Saturday drinking Prosecco surrounded by hipsters taking selfies, but it’s not the kind of place you can throw on your hiking boots and venture up a big hill; or pick blackberries, or spot a herd of Highland cattle, is it? I know people will say that there’s a bunch of wildlife in London, but urban foxes and the odd rat? It’s hardly Countryfile is it.
7.) London is not falling over itself to employ you.
How can there be any jobs left in London? Seriously. The rate that people seem to be flocking there I’d be surprised if the average BA could get you a gig handing out the bags on the way into Primark. I’m not just assuming, I have tried, honest. There was a time during my brief flirtation with the idea of moving to London that I genuinely applied myself to get a job there. Bigger city may mean more jobs, but it also means more people fighting tooth and nail for those jobs.
So there you have it, my list of reasons why we should eschew the capital for somewhere that isn’t a plethora of smog and over priced pulled pork. I may admit defeat and join the rat race one day, but i’m not ready to live in a place where you can’t get a portion of gravy with your fish & chips just yet.