I may have lost my damn mind. This is the story of me moving to the UK on a 2 year Youth Mobility Visa.
As you may know, I love to travel, and I’m a bit of an adventurous soul. I was super jealous when my friend A received an Out of Canada posting and got to live and work in the UK for 3 years! I’ve been all around the globe for days and weeks and month long adventures to other countries because I just can’t get enough of learning new things and experiencing new cultures, but I’ve never felt completely immersed, as you would be if you lived and worked there, day-to-day.
When I left the military I wasn’t super certain what I was going to do. I started my real estate course and since it was online I ended up taking the time I had to travel while I worked on it. In 2015 I came to the UK, spending a week in London then a week in Edinburgh, and finally a month with the most amazing people in their B&B in a small seaside town in northern Scotland called Portgordon. Then I had a train tour of Scandinavia and Germany 🙂 And THEN my most wonderful cousin came over and we did a whirlwind trip of the UK and Europe (her first time overseas) with London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Paris and Athens all on the itinerary.
After that I went back home, took my licensing test and worked as a real estate agent for a year, but I never stopped wondering why I was settling down into real estate, in my same old house, in my same old city, when part of the reason for me leaving the military was to have the freedom and flexibility to do what I wanted. I spent the summer, the busiest time in real estate, helping clients and all the time wondering whether I was missing out.
Then the time came. As I was approaching my first year anniversary as a Realtor I had to decide whether I wanted to renew my license or do something different. I was on my way to my 30th birthday which meant my options for adventure were getting smaller (most countries offering ‘working holiday visas’ usually offer them until age 30). And being me, I just took the plunge.
So first I had to renew my passport which had expired. Then I got all my documents in order, paid my fees, did my photos and applied for my Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa which is offered to the citizens of certain countries, like Canada, and allows people under the age of 31 come to the UK to live and work for up to 2 years.
I sent in my application online, had my appointment in person in Edmonton where it seemed everything was in order and then my application was mailed to New York. All that was left to do was wait. I was pretty nervous. It’s not cheap to apply and I was worried that the quota for Canadian applicants might be up that late in the year (I think I read somewhere there are 5,000 openings for UK visas each year, dunno whether this is true or not). Turns out that fear is unfounded. I read on another blog that someone had asked and it turns out just because I think moving to the UK for 2 years is a great idea, there might be a bit of confirmation bias at play, and not everyone is dying to do the same thing, so…..Canada has never used up all of its positions in the 10 odd (?) years the programme has been alive.
Anywayyyyy. I received confirmation back that I was GTG (good to go) and the panic set in! Also, I had rented out my place, not renewed my real estate license and packed up all my shit so it’s a good thing. The only thing left to do was tell my Dad and pack my bag.
So here I am, 5 months later (I was seriously considering doing this in August, made up my mind and started the wheels moving in September, applied and was approved in October, flew out in November). Loving every minute of it, and waiting for people to start coming to visit me 🙂