Today marks the one year anniversary of my big move from a sleepy town in Surrey, England to the beautiful, bustling city of Edinburgh. It’s been without question, one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, uprooting myself from the town I grew up in, moving away from where the majority of my friends were living and starting a whole new life in a new country and city.
Whilst it was difficult to begin with, it has been one of the best years of my life, despite the ups and downs and I wanted to document all about it below: the highs, the lows, living independently, what I’ve learnt living in such a big city and more.
Hopefully this will be useful for anyone making a major move or simply looking for a bit of reassurance having just left home. This post will cover the good, the bad and the ug- nothing really ugly, with some pictures throughout which, for me, capture a moment in time – what I was feeling, where I was, my hopes and worries at that time.
It’s a period of my life that I have loved – it’s been incredible to have so much on my doorstep, living in my own space and making it feel like a home and growing to love a city as much as my home town. It’s not all been a bed of roses (I giggled as I typed this as that was definitely something my grandma would say) so here are the not-so-great bits before we discuss the high points.
Living independently is one huge learning curve, and one that has hugely defined and shaped me in the past year and how I have coped with things. I remember getting a very slight eye infection during my first two weeks in Edinburgh and having a complete panic having not registered at a doctors surgery yet and worrying that I would loose my eye after a quick google search (I now know never to google my symptoms as a general rule). Thankfully, mum was on hand at the end of the phone (thanks Mum) to soothe me and tell me that I simply needed to pop into Boots and get some eye-drops which thankfully solved everything.
There were also moments of real loneliness right at the beginning of my move, despite having some lovely friends around and a hugely supportive family who were always ready to pick up the phone. I wrote a post about loneliness here and when I was writing it found that there were actually many people who felt the same in a new, unfamiliar city. As the months have gone on, I rarely feel lonely, although it does happen time to time. After a year away from my childhood and early adult home, I feel a lot better equipped to cope with those feelings and know how to pick myself back up when I’m feeling low.
At times, this year has also been overwhelming. Overwhelmed with losing touch with family and friends, the fear of growing apart from many of those I love most. Overwhelmed with fitting into a new city, a new work environment, creating a space which reflects ‘me’ and producing meaningful content and growing Edits Of Jo as well as my career outside of blogging. Overwhelmed with my decision to move and how that would change my life, whether or not living in a new city would work out. A year later and I couldn’t really be much happier being in a job that I love, having a little network of friends up here, someone who loves me unconditionally and rekindling some new (and old) hobbies, which brings me nicely onto the good…
I feel like I have fully embraced living in this beautiful city, getting to know the Old and New Town and exploring Edinburgh and its surrounding more generally. I have managed to live in a space that I love, making it more and more my own and thereby feeling like it is my home. I can now cook a handful of adult meals, unlike uni when beans on toast and soup were my staples. I am becoming more green-fingered – I have six plants that I am managing to keep alive (I’m not going to go into the number I’ve accidentally killed this year) and become excellent at tidying, although hoovering will never be my favourite chore. I’ve come to a point where I know myself, my strengths, when to ask for help and how to live independently.
I have gotten so much closer with a handful of friends, particularly one lovely lass who has recently moved to Berlin but was in Edinburgh when I first moved up and suggested weekly Sojo nights (Jo and Sophie) where we ordered pizzas, full on belly-laughed, watched vlogs and spent the night chatting away. This made my move up north so much more bearable and I am forever thankful she was there for this specific period in my life. My gorgeous friend, Gabs, who has known me since the age of eleven, has been with me through those teenage years, through the breakups, the wobbles in King Cross Station and Heathrow airport more recently, and has become completely irreplaceable in my life. There are so many other people who have made this year so special, including my brilliant work pals ( Laura and Luce), that close friend from uni who is there always no matter what time of the night, sending you memes (Charlie, Elliot thank you) to name but a few.
I’ve moved closer to the person I’ve fallen completely head over heels for and been on some incredible adventures around rainy Scotland (particularly thinking of this day trip to Fort William), had two of the best holidays in Mull and Lisbon and grown so much closer to him now we are no longer doing long distance and can see each other on a weekly basis.
I have loved Edinburgh – the fast, bustling pace that made me a little weary of city-living is one I have grown to love, and I can’t imagine leaving anytime soon. I love how much there is to do and see at any given time and how there are so many endless options – art exhibitions, markets, productions, screenings etc. I have done so much exploring this past year but in some ways I feel I have barely scratched the surface with Edinburgh (and Scotland) – I still have a list of places I want to visit that is longer than my arm.
I’ve also rekindled a whole load of hobbies, which took a back-seat when I was working in London as I simply couldn’t fit them in with such a long commute in the morning and evenings. I’ve rediscovered my love of writing, photography (particularly film) and dancing. I’ve been brave and taken drawing classes, done some volunteering and found more time in the evenings to read and learn a bit of ballroom. None of this would have been possible last year with commuter life and not being able to balance work with life.
I think your twenties are a time for finding yourself and knowing who you are as a person, which moving out from my hometown has definitely allowed me to do. Although I do very much miss my friends, family and family cat, Honey, I feel lucky to live in such a creative, architecturally stunning and all-round charming city which has undoubtedly stolen a piece of my heart.