Lori is originally from Canada, but her grandfather was born in the UK. Because of that, she was able to apply for an ancestry visa, which allows you to stay in the UK for five years, and if you meet the requirements, you can stay permanently.
Her journey started a few years ago when she traveled around Australia and New Zealand for almost two years. Going back home to Canada left a void in her heart, and she knew it was not the place for her.
Although having it easy to acquire a visa and stay in the country, Lori did encounter various struggles, too, especially when COVID struck. Being an events planner, she was forced to find a new job to sustain her needs while the country was in lockdown. It definitely took a toll on her career, but obstacles always result in fantastic progress. Currently, Lori is working on her own online business, which is one of her biggest dreams.
And unfortunately, I lost my job right in March kind of when COVID was kicking off. So when I was interviewing for new positions, or just starting of finding new positions, like literally within a week, that kind of all ended because, you know, the city went into full lockdown. And that was really scary being unemployed at the beginning of a pandemic. Yeah, that was definitely stressful. I just the only thing to do is go around and apply to the grocery stores, because that was the one place that would be hiring for sure.
Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 20 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people left their country to chase a better life. I'm Daniel De Biasi, and in this episode, I had the pleasure to chat with Lori. She's Canadian and because her grandfather is originally from the UK, she was able to move to London due to the ancestry visa, apparently, that allows you to stay in the UK for five years. You can apply to this visa if one of your grandparents was born in the UK. She has previously lived in traveling Australia and New Zealand. But when she moved back to Toronto, she felt like it wasn't her place despite our love for our city. In our conversation, we talked about finding a job, a place to live and making friends in the UK, which also can be applied for other countries. Before moving to my conversation with Lori, consider subscribe to the show if you haven't done it already. It will be grate if you can give us a review on Apple podcasts and PodChaser. And now please enjoy my conversation with Lori. Hi Lori, thanks for being on the show.
Hi, Daniel. Thanks for having me.
How are you?
I'm doing good. It's a evening here in London now. Just relaxing. How are you doing?
Pretty good. Thanks. Pretty good. So you said you're in London,but where are you originally from?
So I'm originally from Toronto, Toronto, Ontario. And yeah, I'm currently living in London, United Kingdom at the moment.
Sweet. And what do you do in London?
Normally, I work in events, I was an event planner back in Canada. That's what I do, usually for career due to COVID. At the moment, events are obviously not happening. So at the moment, I'm actually working at a local grocery store in a bakery. So a little bit of a little bit of a transition from my normal career. But that's been my COVID job, I guess you could call it. And I also during this time, have taken some courses online and I'm looking at starting my own little business as a virtual assistant business. So doing online event planning and virtual assistant work
Sweet. I'm gonna definitely be going back to that point to this topic later and ask you a little bit more question about business and things related to visa status and everything.
But let's start from the beginning. So why did you decide to leave Ontario to leave Toronto to move abroad? And at what age did you decide to leave?
Um, yeah, when? Well, I think it all goes back to, I've always kind of been one to move around quite a lot, which started in Canada for the most part, I moved away for school, from Toronto to Ottawa. And I spent the summer working out west, actually near Vancouver in the mountains. And I just kind of fell in love with traveling in that sense. So when I was 25, I moved to London for the first time. It was only for summer at that point. And I just instilled my love travel even more. But I felt I needed to focus on my career at that point so I came back to Toronto after that summer, and spent a few years working in the city. And then at about when I was 30, I realized that I could do the working holiday visa for Australia. And I just figured you know, it was my last shot to do it. Because once you're 31 at that point, now it's 35. But at the point it was when right before you turn 31 was the last chance to do it. So I decided to take a chance, leave behind my secure job and move to Australia to become a backpacker. And it was the first time I've ever done anything like that. And to be honest, it was one of the best years of my life I met amazing people. And it did amazing trips as well got to go to some places I never imagined such as Bali, Fiji, did a huge two month road trip around Australia, just camping and saw almost all of the whole country. And then after that I didn't want to go home yet. So I got another working holiday visa for New Zealand and I moved there for seven more months before returning back to Toronto for the year. And I just felt like something was missing in my life going back to what I sort of left behind. Just travel just woke something up in me and I just fell in love with it. So I decided to yeah, go abroad once again. And I applied for the ancestry visa because my grandfather was originally from the UK. So now I'm living in London on a five year visa.
So you say you got your visa for London because your grandfather was from from the UK?
Yeah, so there's a thing called the ancestry visa, which, if you've had a grandparents could be on your mom or dad side. It just needs to be one grandparents. If they are originally from the UK and born here, then you're eligible for a five year ancestry visa, and then actually after your five years, as long as you are in the country, I believe it's 180 days each year, then you can be eligible for indefinitely to remain after.
Okay, because I heard other people in the podcast that were from the from the US and if their ancestor or grandparents or whatever were from from Italy in the case, they could ask for a second citizenship for a second passport.
I wasn't aware of that. I don't, you can't do that in the UK, for what I know, unless maybe your parents was also born here. But neither of my parents were born here. It's just my grandfather on my dad's side.
Oh, that was pretty lucky.
Yeah, no, I thank my grandfather all the time for that. It's, um, you know, it's definitely definitely a gift and a privilege to be able to come over here, you know, on a visa like that for five years, especially because a lot of people do come over to the UK on the the Working Holiday scheme or the work scheme visa, which is two years. But you know, after that two years, there's no guarantee that unless they find someone to sponsor them, or some other visa they can apply for there's no guarantee to stay. So with the five year knowing that I can stay longer after if I get indefinitely to remain is, you know, it really makes it worthwhile.
Yeah. And was there like a help having a visa that long for finding a job was actually helpful?
Yeah, I definitely found that I found compared to Australia, New Zealand, I find London was a bit of a tougher market in terms of finding jobs, especially my career field as an event planner, a lot of places do like to know that you don't need to be sponsored, and that you can work for a bit longer term as well. That's just from my personal experience there. Other people could have had better luck but yeah, I just I just found in terms of employers, recruiters, they definitely were a lot more happy to see that I had a longer term visa.
Yeah, no, no, no, I agree. That's why I was asking that question. Because I had the same situation here in Canada, because I only had a visa for six months. I was super hard for me to find a job because even though I was qualified, they were not willing to sponsor me. And also, they didn't want to go down the rabbit hole to sponsorship and they want to somebody more stable that they wanted to if all you have like a year visa, would it be much different. Six months was not enough for any company to moving forward and hire me. That's why I was asking you that question.
Definitely, um, I think Yeah. And then it kind of gets into more of the backpacker type jobs, right, like temp positions, or, you know, definitely, like small hospitality positions here and there.
Yeah. Which is, which is fine if you're backpacking, if you're planning to do that just an experience abroad. But if you actually decided to have a more stable situation abroad in in a new country want to have a more stable job and and in your career, and that makes it a little bit harder if you only have six months, right here visa instead of five, which is super rare.
Yeah, I definitely makes it a bit harder. Like I found in Australia on my one year visa. I did, I was able to find work in my career field, but it was more contract position. So I didn't actually try to get sponsored. But I don't know what that would have been like. I know. I know people do manage to get sponsored. But I think it can be a little bit tricky. You almost get lucky if you're there on a shorter term visa.
Yeah. So you're planning to stay in London?
At the moment. Yeah, I'm definitely planning to stay in the UK at the moment. I I really love London. It's such a fantastic city. There's so much opportunity here. You know, the weather's a little bit warmer than Canada. I do prefer the winters here to Toronto. But it does rain a little more here. But yeah, it's such a great city, there's so much to see and do here. The, you know, travel is so easily to the rest of Europe from from the city here and flights are so cheap to the rest of Europe. And it's such a multicultural city as well, which I really, really love. Whether I'll stay here long term in the city, I'm not I'm not so sure yet, but at the moment, I do plan to stay here.
Because it's not a cheap city to live in.
No, it's definitely not the cheapest of cities to live in. But I'm from Toronto. So it gets, in some ways, I actually find it quite similar and on par. For instance, rent is maybe a bit more expensive here, but food is more affordable. So we're going to find is about the same so it kind of balances out we're traveler transport here for the tube and whatnot is definitely pricier than, than Toronto, but I find it kind of balances out and, you know, I kind of look at it as you you're living in the city. So you, you know, you're sort of paying for the quality life that you get here as well where I find the quality of life in London's really, really good like you can go to any restaurant, there's, you know, so many theater shows and whatnot to choose from amazing concerts. This is all you know, not during COVID of course. But looking forward to when those days are happening once again. But yeah, there's there's no shortage of things to do and people to meet and job opportunities as well.
Yeah, no, no, no, totally. I agree. I agree. I've never been to Toronto. But being like living in Vancouver definitely missed the subway system of London of Europe, for that matter, just so much easier to move around London, you don't need a cab, but I've actually been to London a few times and never got into a cab or a bus. With the subway, you can just move anywhere you want.
Yeah, it's there is definitely very sophisticated in that sense of how far around you can get. I don't think Toronto is necessarily known for their subway system. It is an amazing city, I love Toronto so much. And I do miss it. And yeah, the music scene there is unreal. Same with the food it's and things to do. And you know, it's a major sports hub as well. But yeah, in terms of their, their transport system, it's not the greatest they can improve on that.
And do you have any regrets about leaving Canada, leaving Toronto?
No, I don't ever regret anything that I do in life. I try not to in that sense. But I wouldn't say I have any regrets on leaving, because I love I find that it creates so much more excitement in life in a sense. You know, it's, there's always a bit of unknown about living abroad and adventure that kind of comes into life, even even on one day it feels the same, because you're still out of your comfort zone. And I definitely love having that thrill in my life. The one thing I do miss very much I would say is when I went to Australia, New Zealand, I didn't go back to Canada for 18 months because of the distance and the cost of flights and all that. And you know, when you're away from family and friends for that long time, so much time goes by, but you almost don't realize it. When you're away, I find you kind of think that like, you know, you you're in your mind, it's like time is frozen. But when you do go back, you do realize how much time has passed and you see friends and family and like, you know, some people have gotten older or like nieces and nephews, for instance, I have a niece and nephew. And you know, they definitely grew up well, my I didn't have a nephew at that point. But my niece grew up so quick and I didn't like being away for that long. So actually, when I was deciding to come to London, I thought you know, it's so much closer to Toronto, it's only a seven hour flight, it's a lot more affordable. So I was definitely planning to come back, you know, once or twice a year and family can come up to Europe as well because my mum is actually retiring shortly. So you know, the plan is for her to come and visit. But now with COVID happening, unfortunately, that's put a stall on when I can go back because currently there is a quarantine for two weeks for people coming to Canada from the UK. And then coming back to the UK from Canada. There's another two week quarantine, where I just can't afford to take a month to quarantine, you know, for like a two week, two week trip to see family and friends. So I was actually supposed to be back in Canada about two weeks ago, for my niece's birthday at a friend's wedding, which you know, I missed and my nephew now, he was eight months when I left and he'll be two in November. So it's just when you see the things that you're missing. In that sense. That is the thing that I find a bit hard to deal with living abroad. But luckily with FaceTime, you know, and the technology that we have nowadays that it really makes it feel a little bit closer, right, then, you know, maybe the days where people writing just snail mail to each other.
Yeah, yeah, it's such an advantage like being in in this era. Just as I said, like a facetiming I mean you said you you left and your nephew was eight months old?
Yeah, he was eight months old. And he'll be two at the end of November. So when I think about that, and how much he's, he's grown and he's, you know, he's looking like a little man now. So it's just, it's those little moments that I wish I could be there for. I think that's that's the hard part about being being abroad. Yeah, but, you know, I still don't regret my decision of coming here because it's definitely enhanced my life in so many ways as well.
Yeah, no, I agree. 100% Have you seen your nephew since you left?
Uh, just on FaceTime. Yeah, just on FaceTime, but No, I haven't. Yeah, since I've left. I left I moved to London in August 2019 so I've been away 13 months now. But no, I haven't seen any any family or friends from back home since then.
Yeah, that will be interesting the first time you see your nephew, because I remember when I saw my niece for the first time I think she when she saw me for the first time because I left she was a month old.
Oh, wow. Okay.
And I saw her she was just over a year, something like that. And well, I was amazed that she recognized me she always saw me on FaceTime like an iPad. And she when she saw me for the first time like a real life she recognized me right away. She ran into my arms. It was it was it was it was a beautiful moment. And I was shocked she could actually if she recognized me it was beautiful.
Yeah, that's amazing. See, it's that's you know, social media has its pros and cons. But that's definitely a pro that you know that that with that technology. They can recognize you that way. I'm sure that was just such a such a cool experience. I'm hoping that my nephew does recognize me. I facetimed with him the other day and he was waving at me and you know saying hello. So yeah, it'll definitely be a good experience. My niece is eight now so she definitely you know we we chat quite often so it'll be great to see her when I actually can as well.
Yeah, I mean, especially because like they're so young so they are, they're growing up knowing that their uncle or aunt is it's on the other side of the world is even this just becomes normal that they only see you on FaceTime and only see once a year. And then once you're there, it's just, it's an amazing experience for both of us for us and for them.
Well, the thing I look forward to is once some once my niece is old enough, and my nephew as well, hopefully, you know, I would just love for them to come out, you know, to come visit London and you know, have the experience or I can take my niece maybe to Paris, and you know, when she's a bit older, like 14 or so or 16 and take her to Paris for a weekend to go shopping or you know, visit. I just think that would be such an amazing experience for them as well. So I look forward to that day when it can happen.
Yeah, no, totally. Yeah, the same. I can't wait for my nephew, which is the oldest to come and visit me. And going back you said you were being in London for like 13 months, just to what I hear you actually you celebrate a year not long ago?
Yeah, I did.
And I saw on your social media that when you left Toronto to move to the UK, you had like a list of questions. So you have a few question before moving abroad and stuff like will find a good place to live, or will find a decent job and will get lonely?
All these kind of questions. So how was your experience when you move abroad? When you when you move to London? Did you manage to find a job and was able to find a job? And did you feel lonely? How was the experience with people from London?
Um, to be honest, London was a bit of a rough go in the beginning. I knew London in a sense was going to be a bit tougher than for instance, like Australia, where I found it a lot easier to find a job and kind of get settled right away. But yeah, London was a bit of a tough go. So when I first came out here, I was living in a hostel, actually, for about two and a half months, which was quite difficult in some senses, you know, you don't have any personal space. But it's also a really neat experience, because you do meet some really, really cool people as well. In terms of finding a job, yeah, it's it took me about a month to find a job in my career field. I mean, I think if I had just kind of taken, you know, any sort of job, it would have been a little bit easier. But I was really focused on trying to find a job in events planning. So it took me about a month to land a job, which, in terms of UK time, that's actually really not that bad. And yeah, I was really happy with like the salary that I was offered and the job seemed really good. It was a bit more of an, you know, step up in my career and assistant manager position, which was amazing. But unfortunately, it actually took me, I got hired at the offer the job at the end of September, I didn't actually start the job till the beginning of December, because they have to do it was for a finance company and they had to do all these background checks. And police record checks. And because I lived in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, in that path, the time that they were looking for, they had to get all the background checks from those countries. And at the time, the wildfires were happening in Australia, like the really bad wildfires that were recently there. And that delayed my checks so much, and, and the checks from New Zealand as well were delayed, I think because their offices in Australia so that delayed the whole process. So yeah, it took about two months for those checks to go through. So that was a very stressful time, because I was waiting to start work, I was burning through my savings that I saved to move over to London, well, which if you're aware of the Canadian dollar doesn't go very far when you come to the UK. So yeah, that was quite a stressful time. So I didn't know if I still had the job if I should get a part time job or what was kind of going on. And the UK is a bit difficult in some senses because if you want to get a place or get a house or place to live, you know, they need to help prove that you're working. And you need to, you know, go through a rental agency and get background checks and not done as well. And a lot of places won't take you if you don't have a job. And you know, in order to open a bank account, you need a job so it's all connected. So it was a bit bit of a rough start but luckily, I got the job offer so that was enough to help get me a place to live more to get out of the hospital. And yeah, eventually I did I did start that role, which was a very, very satisfying day when I got the call, and all the checks have come through. So yeah, once once that was also the first three months were quite difficult in that sense. But you know, at the same time, it's you just got to mentally prepare yourself for those ups and downs of moving abroad. Like you have to think you're literally uprooting your entire life and, you know, moving to a new country. It's not just, you know, if you have a backpacker mindset, which I didn't have this time around, because I knew I was coming here more to settle versus when I went Australia. I was kind of you know, more free spirited, and I was just happy for any adventure that kind of came along at that point. Where here I knew that I wanted to find a good a good house that I was going to be comfortable in and I wanted to get a good job and you know, just get that settled right away. Um, in terms of feeling lonely. I yes and no, because I was surrounded by people quite often. And I'm, I'm pretty outgoing people person. But I also, I think from living abroad and traveling quite a lot, I'm very fine on my own as well. So I did have some moments where I slowly just when times felt stressful, you know, you just miss having those close people that are familiar and close around you nearby to kind of just be around. But I did meet some amazing people that became, you know, friends quite quickly. And I moved into a really good house share and help support in that way. So, in terms of feeling lonely, I wouldn't say too, too much. Yeah, I got pretty lucky in that sense.
Okay, yeah. Because sometimes it's hard to make friends, or to find people on the same page that I don't know. It's not like growing up in a place where you were you were born, that you go through different stages in life with your friends, like going to school and everything. So you go through those stages and you your friends that you meet from school, they can be your longtime friends. When you move abroad, and you're like an older age, it's harder to find those friends because you don't have those experience so it's harder to find, like a good friendship, right?
Yeah, no, I definitely agree. It is bit harder. As you get older, especially when people are, you know, I think, I think in London, it's a lot easier just because there are so many, you know, people who are from other countries or other cities that are living here, so multicultural and there's so many people in the same position as you are if you're you've just moved here. And one thing that I found is amazing. And I definitely recommend people do if they are you know, moving to another country or another city, especially London is just look at Facebook groups and meetup groups. And that's what I did. I just I ended up finding some like, one was a travel Meetup group. So you know, it's like many people who also love travel and they would host meetups and one of my closest friends here now Ashley, she's from Australia, but we met through one of these travel groups. And then you know, there's there's a Canadians in London group, which I'm sure a lot of cities have that there's also like, you know, Australians in London or there's Australians in Toronto, just you know, just look on Facebook groups and just kind of connected people even on social media in general Instagram, you can connect with people in that way. So I found you know, even even in lockdown there's a group called London New Girl which I'm a part of on Facebook. And you know, there's over 10,000 members who are women on there who so many of them are always posting looking for to meet friends I live in this area, you know, I like to go to the pub or like live music I like yoga, they just post interest and you know, the poster age and so many people commented on it. And I did that during during lockdown as well. It was around June and I just wanted to meet some people in the area who you know there's there's a really nice space where you can go walking in in the woods nearby and I just wanted to meet some people to do social distance walks because you know, after lockdown, you start craving some craving some interaction with people. So yeah, I ended up meeting a couple girls and we formed a little walking group and you know, I just think just getting out there and putting yourself out there is definitely important in that sense, you know, because then it helps not feeling so isolated and lonely.
Yeah, no, totally. Because the other thing I met really good people like a really good friend that's dear friends of mine, Buffalo like living together like we're sharing a flat and most of my friends that I met just my friends or my roommates, hpw was finding a house in London Is it easy to find good roommates and the good houses?
Um, it can be quite difficult I think from what I've heard I got lucky in that sense. So I I live in a really good house share I actually live in the Wimbledon area in London so London's very spread out in terms of different suburbs in that sense. So I found my place through a friend of a friend and yeah, it just it was the first place actually came to look at and it just worked out perfectly. So I've been here the whole time but I know there's there's different sites like one spare room that people use quite a lot and there's different Facebook groups as well that you can find brings up but I think sometimes it can be quite difficult there there's a lot of people who are getting ripped off landlords can be kind of shady yeah you got you got to be careful I think sometimes in London from for looking for places and just have your wits about you because I have heard quite a few stories of people trying to get ripped off or they'll post pictures and it's not the actual place you know it it's looks completely awful when they get there and it looks amazing on what they post online and you know that's I've heard stories of people asking for you know, money up front before you even come and see the place so you know I like to think that there's more good people out there then you know those that will do that to someone but unfortunately you know in bigger cities I think that can tend to happen so
Yeah, no you're right because even I when I was looking for a place here in Vancouver I found like I mean Vancouver is not a cheap place to rent. And I could find like some ads of like a beautiful houses like a brand new houses for like a like a super cheap like less than $1,000 for per month in a beautiful house was felt like a super dodge at the beginning even then they were asking me money up front to to secure the place. I was like, oh, if you're interested, you have to send me the money. I mean, it's you need to be kinda like a smart you know if it's like a super nice house and the price is not fair it's a scam it's a scam and definitely don't get money advanced for sure. And what did you use for for finding a place in London is it a website or just Facebook?
Yeah I'm spare room is I think the main well there's Gumtree, which is sort of in Canada of the Kijiji or the Craigslist. Gumtree is the same similar thing here. But there's also spare room, which is really good. Um, but so I was looking mainly on that to begin with, and then but this place that I found now that I'm living in, it was a, like I said, a friend of a friend. So they told me about the room, and then I came to see it. So because the one person was friends with my current housemate here, you know, they're also I think, more inclined to take someone who knows someone through someone versus just, you know, a random person from from the internet in a sense. But yeah, we just got on really well. And it worked out it worked out well.
Sweet. And going back to your job, did you try to find a job before you move to the to the UK before you left Canada?
I did. Yeah, I did spend quite a lot of time searching for a job before coming out here. Unfortunately, I didn't have any luck in trying to secure a job before. And I think, I don't know for sure if this is the case. But I think sometimes recruiters are a bit apprehensive to, you know, take on people if they're not actually in the country yet. Or I think I had a call with one recruiter, just in general to get a feel for, you know, what my skills were and what I was looking for. But in terms of job hunting, I didn't have any luck before coming out here. But once I was here, and you can put, you know, an address, like a UK address on your CV, I mean, I just put the hostel address that I was staying at when I first got here. Um, and yeah, and then I just I got a lot more attraction than I had when I was in Canada. And also, I think, because you don't I didn't have a UK phone number when I was in Canada. I don't know if it's the whole UK in general but in London, you go through a lot of recruiters before to find a job. So most of the job postings, it will be a recruiter posting the job posting, and then they'll help you kind of find a job that way. So I don't think they're, you know, I think they're more inclined to talk with you over the phone, and then on email. So if you don't have the UK phone number before, I think that can, you know, cause a bit of issue sometimes.
Yeah, no, I mean, there's, there's a different way to if you actually want to have a UK number, if you're not in the UK, I think you can have just an internet phone number, I have an Italian phone number, I have a New Zealand phone number in case I need to call somebody in Italy or on New Zealand. So it's easy to get an a void, which is like a internet number.
Oh, well, I didn't know that.
But yes, you're right. It's hard sometimes to because people wants to know that you are in the country to take you seriously. I don't know with London, but many counter they have so many applicants that it's easy for them to find somebody to do the job, right?
Oh, absolutely. And I think just in general, what the recruiters like, when I was interviewing with some of them or speaking with them, you know, they were like, Okay, well, when can you come in and meet with us and you know, get set up and register with the recruiting company? So I went in, you know, within a few days. So not saying that you can't get a job from abroad, I do have a friend who is Canadian, as well, but she has a British passport, and she landed a job while still in Canada before coming over here. Um, so I don't know if maybe having a passport makes a bit of a difference versus a visa. But um, yeah, I think it can definitely be done. I just personally found that it was a lot easier once once you're actually here.
Yeah, totally. And you went through agency, or did you apply from LinkedIn?
I would use quite a few different sites. So Indeed, is a big one over here, which is that's I think that's pretty worldwide for the most part. Yeah, I was applying on LinkedIn. Indeed. There's also reed.co.uk, which is out here. And there's so many other just recruiters and agencies that are here in the city that you can can register with. But yeah, I find I find Indeed is probably one of my favorite ones in terms of looking for jobs and Reed is Reed is pretty good as well.
And what's the requirements to work in the UK? Do you need like a lack of something as simple as a social insurance number?
Yeah, so we're here to have your NI number. So I actually have an NI number still from when I lived here spent a summer here in 2011. So it's very similar to a social insurance number, it's just your NI number which you do need in order to work out here.
Um, was there any particular obstacles or particular challenge that you had to face when you're when you move to London?
Um, well, I would say like definitely the beginning stages have mentioned like it taken quite a while for my job to start and finding a place to live in that sense and just, you know, I guess, kind of living here three months without working in London. It's been quite expensive city and you know, just kind of seeing your, your savings kind of burnt away and that sense can be a bit stressful. And then I definitely say, obviously COVID has been has been quite a struggle living abroad. You know, I did have family friends that weren't just asking, like, are you are you gonna come home for this? Are you coming back? And I just was like, Well, no, because I moved here, you know, like, I moved here like in terms of, like I'm in my 30s now and I just this is where I'm trying to set up my life now. So yeah, being out here kind of solo, it makes it a bit more difficult. But like I said, I've been lucky. And I got some great friends that I've met up here who've been with like a little family while I was away. And unfortunately, I lost my job, right in March, kind of when COVID was kicking off. So when I was interviewing for new positions, or just starting to apply for new positions, like literally within a week, that kind of all ended because, you know, the city went into full lockdown. And that was really scary being unemployed at the beginning of a pandemic. Yeah, that was definitely stressful. I just the only thing I could think to do was go around apply to the grocery stores, because that was the one place I knew would be hiring for sure. And I got lucky and I found a job in a bakery, which is a five minute walk from my house. And I work Monday to Friday, which is really amazing. What do you think about that? So yeah, that's got me through this time, which has been, you know, a got a godsend in some ways. So I'm looking forward to getting back into my career field, hopefully soon. Once things kind of, you know, get back to normal a bit. But um, yeah, those times were definitely definitely stressful. And I did actually end up getting COVID in March as well right before starting that job. So yeah, being out here, getting COVID and dealing with that was definitely stressful.
Yeah, I bet. So youactually got the COVID?
Yeah. Yeah, I got it at the end of March.
What was it bad?
Ah, yeah, it wasn't great. Yeah, it was, it was I was definitely, I didn't go to the hospital or anything but um, it was, I probably I definitely had it for a good full nine days, where it was a good four or five days where I couldn't really get into bed. Definitely had really bad pain all over my body. Any kind of noise, the headache was so bad, it kind of felt like a jackhammer in your head. Yeah, the whole my whole body hurt really, really bad. Just even getting up to go to the washroom was, you know, very painful. And really bad fever aches and pains. I didn't have a cough, though. But one thing I noticed afterward for like quite quite a while afterwards, is I had like a weird sense of like, lucid feeling like, I wouldn't call it vertigo, but you just almost felt like you were kind of out of your body in a sense, like, you know, when you're just really not quite delirious. But yeah, I don't know how to describe it quite quite that way. But um, yeah, I just felt like almost like out of it for a really long time and I just felt really out of breath. So that was like a bit of a long, longer effects from it. But in terms of it being as bad as some other people have had it. I was lucky in that sense, I guess.
Yeah, exactly. That's why I was asking you because sometimes people can have COVID, then don't feel it at all. Some people they have really mild and some people are really bad. That's why I was asking.
Yeah, no, I definitely wasn't wasn't a severe severe one compared to what some other people have had. But I wouldn't say it was mild.
During this this period like, when you lost your job, and you're looking for job and quarantine and everything. Have you ever thought to move back to Canada?
No, no, um, I mean, it crossed my mind. But I just knew, I just didn't see what the point was, in a sense, other than being close to family and friends, which is still very, very important. But I think I just because what I was experiencing here, I'd probably be experiencing the same thing back in Canada. Like I gave up my apartment in Toronto, I didn't have a place to live so I would have had to move back to my parents house probably for a while. So you know, that would be definitely something to adjust to. And I'd have to start from scratch again, as well, I'd have to find another job decide if I wanted to move back to the city because my family lives in outside of Toronto. So yeah, I'd have to get set up all over again, where here, I was already set up, you know. And then I didn't know when I'd be able to come back out to the UK again, because I knew, you know, I came out here with the intention to start a life out here. So no, and that's it. For me, it wasn't an option. Like I was very dead set on I'm going to do what I can to make sure I can stay up here.
And do you feel lucky to be an immigrant to have left your own country?
Yeah, absolutely. Like I mean, Canada is one of the best countries to come from. I don't doubt that and I feel very proud to be from Canada. And you know, I do so much work Canada, I do love and I do miss but it's I just think that having the ability to go and live abroad somewhere else and experience the world is huge. You know, there's so many different cultures and so much to see in the world. So just to stay in one. spot your whole life when you have the ability to you know, go and live abroad somewhere, people should take advantage of that, if they can. And I know it's scary in so many ways, but, you know, the payoffs for it, I think are much much outweigh the, you know, the fears that come along with it. So yeah, I definitely feel so lucky to be able to come out here and do that. And you know, the thing I always tell myself, because it is scary before, you know, I've lived abroad a few times, but each time before going, I always get that, you know, cold feet, or that anxiety of moving abroad. But, you know, I just kind of tell myself, like, Canada is always there. So anytime it doesn't work out, or if I want to go back, it doesn't mean I failed, it just means, you know, maybe it was I tried, and maybe it wasn't the right choice, I can always go back home. And, you know, it'll always be there. But you know, that opportunity to move abroad, if it's, if it's there for you take it because it might not always be there.
Totally, totally, what was your biggest fear when you decided to leave?
Moving to Australia? I was definitely afraid of the spiders out there, I can tell you that. Turns out, they weren't as bad as I thought they were gonna be. Um, I don't know, Australia I didn't really have so much fears, from what I could remember, maybe that it wasn't gonna work out. But I just was so excited to go. Because I just, like felt so much adventure before going and it really was an adventurous year in that sense. Like, it was just, you know, I said, I was doing some roles that were events planning related, but I also was traveling like a backpacker. And kind of like living like I was 20 again, at the time, but it was so much fun. Um, but yeah, my fears before coming to London, like I said, was just, you know, I knew it was going to be a bit more difficult than I had in Australia to find a job and get set up. And it was going to take more time and just planning it all out. And I think because I worked so hard the year before, like saving, you know, Toronto, like said it's expensive city, as is. So really restricting my social life in some ways. And, you know, putting everything into saving money and getting all my documents in order. And I just, it was a big year of planning to come up here. So having that fear of it not working out after all, that was definitely scary to think about. But you know, I think if you do focus too much on that, then the chances of it not working out or higher, where if you just keep telling yourself that it's gonna work out and have that faith that it will, you know, it makes it a lot more smooth sailing.
Yeah, even as you say, if things don't work out, you can just go back you don't see as a failure. That kind of mentality is actually pretty good because I think I thought about it. Like, if I go back to Italy, I kind of feel like a failure so that I don't want to go back to Italy and prove that I couldn't do it abroad. And I even like many of my friends told me like, Daniel, if this thing don't work out when you when you're abroad, on't feel like you're a failure if you if you're coming back. But I think the back of my mind, I thought that was kind of like a failure if I can make it on another country.
Yeah, I can definitely get how how people would think that way. And like I, you know, I have thought that way before, but I just kind of changed my mindset to think, you know, that it's not necessarily failure, because I think, you know, if you really think about it some ways, what's more of a failure is actually not if you wanted to do it, and then you didn't out of fear, I think then that, to me would feel a little bit more like failure than actually taking the chance of doing it, and then it not working out. Because to be honest, like moving abroad isn't for everyone like, and there's nothing wrong with that. Like if, if someone tries it because they want to, and they prefer being home and having that comfort of home and things I know, then, you know, that's if that's what's best for you, that's what's best for you. And like, that's great, but if you are staying behind and you feel like something's missing, and you know, you've had the desire to travel, but you're just too afraid to and you don't take that chance, then, you know, I think that's something a lot of people would regret not doing.
Yeah, totally. As you said, it's not for everybody. Some people are just not interested.
Yeah, exactly. Like, you know, I, I'm kind of the only one in my family that's really gone and moved abroad where you know, my family would, or people my family might not be interested to do that. So, you know, it's just, like I said, it's just not for everyone and some people it's for.
Did you have like a different kind of mindset, when you left for Australia, when you left for London was the same kind of like a way of thinking to moving abroad or?
Um, I think when I left for Australia, it was a little bit different. Because I was like, even though I was working in a job that was related to my career in the city, on the outside, everything looked good. Do you know what I mean? But I wasn't happy. Like I, I was kind of miserable in my job. I, you know, was just in Toronto kind of questioning I think also I you know, you turn 30 and you sort of start asking these questions to yourself. You know, I was like, Am I happy? What am I doing out here? I'm just working this job. I'm not enjoying it. Like, I want to experience something else. Because this would you know, the next 10 years is gonna look like for say, and yeah, I was just like, I just wanted an adventure. Like, I just want to feel like living more, you know, where it's my life just felt very predictable. So yeah, I just took that chance and was like Australia, I'm good to go. And, yeah, that was a bit of a different mindset. So I was just feeling a little more adventurous and kind of, I don't know, more, like I said, more of a backpacker. mentality in that sense, and then coming to London. Yeah, my thought was a little bit different. Like, I still had all these, you know, ambitions to travel and travel as much as possible. That's the main reason I moved out here. But my mindset was more okay like London's perfect cuz I can actually stay longer and make it more of a, you know, someplace to settle in and still work in my work my job and be able to travel at the same time like sort of have both.
Yep. Another question if you didn't have the option of like this five years long visa would have you gone somewhere else, or you would've just go to London anyway?
Um, yeah, definitely. So before deciding fully on London, I was kind of, it was a tough decision between going back to Australia or picking the UK, because in Australia, the only visa I would have been able to get would have been a student visa. And just like I said, being in my 30s, I've just thought I could do it, there's no guarantee that it would work out long term. You know, it would be it'd be more or less, I would have just done that visa to get into the country and hopefully be able to find sponsorship down the way and have trust in the universe, that it would align that for me. Because I loved Australia, I fell in love with it so much. It's such an amazing place. So if anyone's listening and they want to go to Australia, I highly recommend it. But it just didn't seem it doesn't seem smart. And that sounds like you know, it was a bit too risky, there's too much up in the air just to you know, spend all that money on moving abroad again, and taking that risk, whereas London just felt longer term for the investment to the visa, you know, just having having the five years and, and also, I hadn't really been to traveled Europe that much before. I think I've only been to London and then Dublin actually. So just knowing that, you know, Europe's at your doorstep, and you can do weekend trips so easily. That was definitely more of a selling point for me. And it's closer like that is closer to Canada. So you know, the direct flight for seven hours. So it's a lot easier to to go home to visit on normal circumstances.
Yeah, no, I mean, London is a great hub in Europe, even even for me to fly from from Vancouver to to Italy, I have to go to London most of the time and it works perfectly. London is super cheap to fly all over Europe and Europe, I realize is so much cheaper in many other many ways.
Oh, it really is like, actually, when I went to Rome in March, right before, right before the country lockdown. Actually, I had a weekend in Rome. And it was amazing. But yeah, the flights were incredibly cheap and super quick. I think it's only a two hour flight or two and a half hour flight. You know, just took a three day weekend and got to see so much of Rome in two and a half days. It was amazing.
Yeah, they can do that anywhere in Europe, I'd been traveling around Europe, even just for a day, what was going on in the morning, come back in the evening, because it was cheaper didn't have to pay for the hotel, which is so much cheaper, like a fly was like 20 euros, you could just fly anywhere in Europe.
Yeah. And like when you that's amazing, even when you think about it in Canadian dollars. Like it's still so incredibly affordable when you know, the costs of flying in Canada's a little bit outrageous.
Probably the cab to the airport is more than 20 bucks.
Yeah, like I think actually to fly from Toronto to Vancouver is probably the same price to fly to London, in Toronto. So yeah, it's crazy when you think about it in that sense. And you know, bonus of actually being in Rome, right? Kind of while the pandemic is sort of kicking off. We went and saw the Vatican with no lines got to see the Colosseum, no lines. So that was pretty amazing to experience that.
Sweet. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Because Rome can be pretty, pretty busy.
Yeah, I imagine.
Yeah. And knowing what you know, now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Um, I think what I would have done differently is, maybe I'm saved up more money to begin with, because you kind of you never know sort of what mishaps will come along the way. So I didn't plan to not be working for the first three months. So yeah, just because London can be quite expensive to get set up in terms of if you are going to be renting a house, or in your own place, you do need to pay a deposit. So if you think about first month, last month's rent in pounds, so you're coming from Canada, that's, you know, it's almost double the price. So that's a huge chunk of your savings that you're going to be putting up right away, just the cost of food, you know, in general getting set up that it can those things can happen. So I definitely would say just, you know, save as much money as possible before coming over. So I think I would have definitely, if I had more time, I was just so anxious to get out here. To be honest, I was so excited to come. I didn't have a set deadline I needed to come out here but I I came out three months earlier than originally planned. So maybe had done it again, I probably would have you know, worked for a little bit longer in Toronto, and then come out here, but I don't regret any of it because I think everything kind of happens for a reason and you know downtime I just worked out.
Yeah. And going back to what you say the beginning that you are now thinking or you're working towards starting your own business? Is that something that you are allowed to do on your visa? You need to change your status? How does that work?
Yeah, no, on my visa, the only restrictions on my visa are not I'm not allowed to accept public funding, so I can't get any, if I'm unemployed, I can't get government funding or anything like that. But no, in terms of starting my own business, I just registered as a sole proprietor with HMRC, you can also register as a limited company. So I started it in terms to be at like a freelancer. So yeah, just through locked down, I decided to try to make the most of it. So I purchased some courses on starting a business. And so it's been a dream of mine to work remotely, as a travel lover, you know, think you can kind of be in one spot and travel. So you don't have to be in one spot, you can be traveling around and you know, still working online. And I've always wanted to own my own business as well. So, um, you know, just especially with COVID, the landscape of working is changing so much that people are approving and seeing that people can work online. And a lot of companies are shifting to be that way. So yeah, I just took some courses on just a bit of digital marketing, and you know, starting on business, enhancing the skills as well. And being an event planner, events are going online. That's sort of where the shift is happening now so those are just skills that I'm hoping to offer as well. So it's very early stages, but it's kind of where I want to see happening, where I'm taking my career in the next in the future.
Yeah, no, you're right. I mean, the COVID is changing so much of our lives, the way we work, the way we behave, the way we socialize, that's gonna be interesting to see what's gonna happen a year from now, after everything will be over to see if people are happy to work from home and company are started shutting down their offices, because people don't want to go to the office or people are sick to be home with the kids or just being normally wants to have another place to go. They are yeah, when I go to the office to see other people or be in different environment, to be interesting to see. But definitely, there will be more opportunity to work online to work more little from anywhere you want in the world.
Yeah, I agree. I think it'll definitely be interesting because like, I've heard so many different sides of it. Like I've heard people miss going to the office and miss that socializing factor, and other people love it. And, you know, I think in some ways, it's like a positive thing for the economy as well because some places where the economy is suffering, you know, if people are able to travel and go spend their money there and it's like a stronger currency then it's going to help put money back in tourism back into the economies and that sense and yeah, it just creates a really nice work life balance. I think for a lot of people who do love to travel and you know, be like where you can still be earning money while traveling. As well as you know, just having that flexibility and just even working from home like you think about London for instance. any big city that commute is just you know, not a pleasant way to start your day sometimes being on a you know, a to just crowded with people and you know, you feel like you're being herded like sheep in the underground you know to get to work and then have to do the same thing coming home and you're not getting home until eight o'clock at night. Where if you're home and you know you can have that time to go to the gym in the morning or wake up a bit later and you know, you don't have to put on a suit and you can take your kids to daycare or do your laundry on your lunch break or groceries whatever it is you need to do while you're home and I find like you know some people tend to work more whether at home because they're you know like they it's their or their days are just more flexible and I just think it creates a much nicer work life balance.
Yeah, I even like people that don't want to live in the city and they have to commute for hours to get into the city either because they don't want to live to the city or because they can afford to live the city now they can live anywhere. So even from another aspect will be interesting to see the price of renting or buy houses in the big city because probably people rather live in the in the countryside in the UK instead of living in London with traffic and I don't know
Yeah, just maybe rather people stay closer to the ocean or in the middle of the countryside and that will change the price of the houses.
Absolutely and like because well London to buy is absolutely outrageous in some ways you know? So it's true people can you know live in the country and then still have half the jobs in London and that's kind of living the dream for some isn't it?
Yeah, I mean I know that London is expensive because I have a friend from London and introduce him to some of his friends they live on a boat on the on the river.
That is amazing. I would love to do that.
It's a really cool way to to live in in the city like a cheap way to live in the city but the same time is like camping over your long like a living in a tent pretty much because it's the same kind of lifestyle you will have in a tent because you have to empty the toilet tank you have to Yeah, did you have to keep moving the boat you had to take the garbage out but they don't collect the garbage so you have to go find a garbage bon where you can empty your garbage. And like even having a shower to fill up the tank to have a shower. There's all these kind of things it's like living in a tent in a in a campsite. But it's a cool way. I mean, you live right in the city.
Yeah, that's really interesting. I've never lived on a houseboat. I would love to do that at one point in my life, not maybe not permanently, but you know, just for the experience, I think would be amazing. Just the same as I would love to live in a van temporarily.
Awesome. Is there anything else you'd like to add that we maybe we didn't discussed?
It's just a general, if anyone's thinking about moving abroad, like, I just absolutely recommend it. You know, I just think, do your research ahead of time, you know, kind of figure out where like, what kind of country you want to live in county work there? You know, what sort of job are you looking for? Just, you know, how much how much money do you need to move there to be, you know, financially stable, and not run into issues? And yeah, just do it. I think that's, I'm a huge supporter of like, taking that risk in, you know, moving abroad, it just is such an amazing experience that I don't regret any of it. And I think people should definitely do it, if that's something they're thinking about.
Totally, I agree. 100%. I, you said about like a, figure out how much it costs to live. And then that country, you do have any website or research that you check out to see how much it cost living in London or something?
Um, I, what was I doing, I was just googling to be honest. And I found people's blogs as well just kind of to get a rough idea of, of what the cost of living would be. Like, the London new girl was a really was a good one that I used as well. Yeah, just do it, just do your research blogs, I find are great to, to read up on versus just looking at random websites, because it's getting people's first hand experiences, you know, people who've actually lived there, and they're writing it with the intent of trying to help others, you know, versus just like a, like, a basic website. And, yeah, I think just do your research in that way is definitely good. You know, just looking up, you know, how much is a mobile phone plan going to cost, what's the cost of food, what's the cost of living, you know, how much does minimum wage, what kind of job sm I going to have. Just so you have a better idea of what your expenses are going to look like, you know, especially your startup costs, that's definitely something you want to know because I gave myself about a year to save up, you know, properly to kind of come out here. So and I just worked out a budget plan while I was in Toronto, I said okay, how much is my rent? How much is you know, I want a little bit of spending money to go out to enjoy myself as well. How much is my full plan food, all you know, all your basic costs, and then extra costs that you can kind of work with? And yeah, I just worked out a savings plan for a year and I no matter what, every time I got a paycheck, I just put however much I allocated into the bank, and it was like out of sight out of mind that is my London budget for when I go. Yeah, and keeping that on track with that. And it's just it's just important like you know, you have to make some sacrifices before moving abroad in most cases, I mean, unless you're very lucky but you know, for the average person I think you do have to make sacrifices so you're like okay, is going out to the bar on a Friday Saturday with friends and buying drinks, you know, if you miss one night, and that's gonna get you to London or Australia or wherever you want to move to that much quicker. What's more important to you? You know, or can you give up your gym pass? Can you sell your TV can you sell your car you know, just little things like that? Can you sell your clothes and just you know that you don't normally wear downsized is huge. I definitely became quite a minimalist from moving abroad and I came out here with just like a medium sized suitcase and I love that it doesn't fit all in there anymore. But you know for like for a while I literally everything I own just fit into suitcase and that was just kind of a satisfying feeling. You know? Because you could just pick up and move easily in that sense and but yeah, you do you do you can save a lot of money just by cutting such basic things out of your life that you don't even realize.
Yeah, but it's crazy that how much stuff we collect because I moved to both country Canada and New Zealand with one suitcase Yes, you know last time I moved from from like from my previous place to here I hire like a van full of my stuff like a How did this happen? I came here with a suitcase and now I'm moving with a full van of stuff he didn't know I just started collecting things getting new stuff because you kind of need to get salary and your country kind of need your own comfort and all of a sudden you have like a van full of your stuff.
Yeah, it's amazing how much we can acquire so easily. But then it's also amazing how much you realize you actually don't need you know in life just and you can still be happy with just having minimal things
Totally I agree because everything you got men Yes, it was a van full of stuff but probably 90% was the things you need to leave like a bed or I don't know a desk or something like that. But if I have to move tomorrow, I know pretty much all I need is a suitcase and my pack with my computer stuff.
I know exactly what I need. Yeah, everything else is extra.
Yeah, it's kind of a nice feeling.
Totally. I agree hundred percent if people was getting in touch with you where people can find you?
Yeah, so um, you can find me on Instagram at wanderlush. So it's wanderlush_lori. And I also have a travel blog that I do as a hobby blog just about traveling and living the expat life. And that's wanderlush travel.com
awesome. Put everything you said everything. All the links were discussed in this episode on the show notes on emigrantslife.com. Also, thank you. Thank you very much for being on the show and sharing your story.
Yeah, thank you so much for having me. It was absolute pleasure.
Pleasure was mine. Awesome. Thank you very much, Lori.
Okay. Thank you.
Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can find the show notes with all the links we discussed at emigrantslife.com/episode 20. Once again, emigrantslife.com/episode 20. If you're interested in how to get a phone number from a different country so you can start to apply for jobs beforehand, check the post I published on our website, you can get a phone number for just a few dollars a month, or even for free if you have some computer skills. If you know a friend who wants to come to UK, share this episode with them. The goal of this podcast is to help people who wants to immigrate with resources and a bit of motivation from people like Lori who already did it. On the other end. If you are immigrant yourself and wants to share your story on the show, visit emigrantslife.com/your story. Thanks again for listening. Talk to you on the next one. Ciao.
Aeron's story proves that your circumstances don't determine your future.