I can still clearly remember the feeling I was struggling with exactly 4 years ago when the year 2016 had just begun. Everything was practically good. I had a good job with possibilities to grow within my role, I was surrounded by my amazing friends and family, I was healthy and training for triathlons, and had nice trips and other occasions planned ahead. But despite all of this I was very anxious and felt like trapped. Days started to feel the same and I found myself (almost) questioning if the same thing is happening to me as to Bill Murray in the Groundhog Day movie. Am I just living the same day all over again.
Moving abroad had always been a dream of mine but I didn’t quite know how to make it true. I still regret that I didn’t take an advance of the exchange student programs when I was a student. At that point I just wanted to get my degree as soon as possible and start building my career. I didn’t want moving abroad to be another thing I’ll regret the rest of my life. It may be the wrong decision but at least I’ve tried. In the end people usually regret more of those things left undone than the ones they did.
I always imagined USA would be the place I’ll end up if/when I eventually have enough courage to take the crucial step and leave Finland. I never considered UK as the place to move into. My first visit to London in 2014 definitely didn’t leave me dreaming of living there someday. Probably the opposite. Nevertheless I’m super happy this is the place I can call my home now.
New city, new job, same company
In January 2016 I was working for a Travel tech company which had been acquired by a UK/US company just few years earlier. Their headquarters and most of the finance department was in London (well Slough is not exactly in London but at least very close by) so there was an opportunity to be relocated within the company. I shared my desires to move abroad with my manager at that time and luckily he was on the same page with me straight away. He came up with a plan that I can be more involved with the UK side and we can build my role to be done from UK.
The move got speed up a lot in May 2016 when I was offered to another job in Finland. When I told my manager about the job opportunity I was offered elsewhere he advised me to contact the team in UK as there had just been an opening I could get if I’m interested. I’m pretty sure I’d have loved the role I was offered in Finland but the decision was easy. This was my chance to try what it’s like to live somewhere else than in Finland. I had the summer to arrange my move before in August 2016 I packed my 3 suitcases, jumped into a plane, and moved myself and my belongings to UK.
What started with a 14 month contract has now lasted for nearly 4 years! I pretty much felt like home the moment the plane touched the ground and there hasn’t been a single moment of regret of my decision to come here. Obviously it’s not always easy to be far away from your friends and family and not being able to participate in person the big events they’re having back in Finland but you really can’t have your cake and eat it. You can’t predict the future however at the moment I’m happy here and planning to stay here for now at least!