We did it! We moved to Edinburgh! We drove, our possessions packed into a van that was slightly too small and my car and, with London in our rear-view mirrors, drove up the west coast of the UK, cut across along the border and arrived safely in Edinburgh!
Time for a little back story.
Back in September, Kate was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Edinburgh office of the business she works. She was all up for it, but I was unsure. We talked about it, her full of excitement, myself full of fear and doubt. While Kate had moved country to country, from big city to big city before, I had stayed in London all my life. Granted, I did move to Canterbury for 4 years for my university degrees, but I had moved back to London for work as that was where the majority of the jobs were. As I realised, this move was most likely due to me wanting to move back into my comfort zone as it was the place I was raised, I knew it and knew it well. Edinburgh, on the other hand, was a complete unknown and I am not a fan of the unknown.
Kate and I decided to visit Edinburgh to see what it was like. We planned a 4 day weekend, Kate would work on the Thursday and Friday from the Edinburgh office and I would explore both Edinburgh and Leith (the port town north-east of central Edinburgh that is now considered part of Edinburgh). It was on this four day weekend that I realised what a beautiful city Edinburgh was, it was rich with history, stories and breath-taking sights. And the air! My God the air in Edinburgh is the freshest air I have ever breathed!
This trip was the clincher. We were moving to Edinburgh. When I told Kate, she later told me that she nearly cried with joy!
After setting a moving date of the 30th of November, I handed in my notice at my job and started packing! We hired a van and, thankfully, a very good friend of mine, Neil, said he would be free around that time so he would drive the van so I could drive my car in convoy. This man was an absolute life-saver! I was already dreading the drive up (we were told it could take anywhere between 8 and 11 hours!) and if Neil didn’t drive the van, I would have had to do it twice, once in the van and again in my car. But once everything was packed (I say it as if it took a few hours, it took days if not weeks!), we loaded the van with the help of my parents and hit the road.
We left around midday on the 30th, and with Kate in the passenger seat, we headed to the M25. We had decided to go around the M25 and exit towards Oxford, heading up the west coast of the country.
For those who have driven this way before, you will know what happens around Oxford but for those who have not, I can tell you this: Once you pass Oxford, I am unsure why, but the landscape completely changes! Up to Oxford, there are tall trees, tall hills that enclose the motorway, but once you pass Oxford it all flattens out where you can see for miles! And this isn’t a temporary thing, it continues like that till you hit the Lake District.
Talking of which, we saw that our route would take up past the Lake District and so we thought we would pass through it. I mean, why not? Why pass up this opportunity? But…
We got lost in the Lake District.
I am not kidding. We planned to cut the corner of the Lake District, pass two towns and rejoin the motorway, but somewhere in Kendal, we got completely turned around. So much so that we stopped in a petrol station and looked at a map to figure out how we could get back to the motorway! We did eventually, but along the way back to the motorway, we drove through the most exciting road I have ever driven on! It was almost like a mountain road. It turned, twisted, went uphill and then downhill, and it was surrounded by the most gorgeous scenery! I would happily drive that road again (but in a more powerful car, my poor little car struggled a bit!)
But we eventually got back onto the motorway and it wasn’t long before we saw a big sign saying “Welcome to Scotland!” and what a feeling that was! We had driven up the length of England! Well, almost, but it’s only an hour or so to the south coast, so I am counting it!
At this point, we basically turned right at Carlisle and cut across Scotland to Edinburgh down a country road. Yes, a country road that spans the width of the border! That, too, was a lot of fun to drive down. We saw some lovely little towns that we definitely want to go back to one day to visit. And around 2.30pm/3pm, we arrived at our new flat in Edinburgh. Yes, you read that right, for I have neglected to say that we stopped for the night in Lancaster as it was nearing 9pm by the time we got there and we decided to stop in a Travelodge. So in total, from door to door, the trip had taken around 26 hours! But if we hadn’t stopped for the night or detoured through the Lake District, we predicted that we would have arrived around midnight or 1am, a total of 12-13 hours thanks to all the traffic we hit around Manchester!
Trip over, we unpacked the van (which took half as much time as it took to pack the damned thing!), got some dinner at our local pub (shoutout to The Granary! I am actually writing this post in The Granary too!) and did some furniture rearranging. Here, I have to give another shoutout to Neil, because he came up with some stellar ideas to how to arrange the furniture! Cheers buddy!
So, I sit here in our new favourite pub, 2 weeks and 5 days later. Time for a bit of reflection on the past 2 weeks!
We are still without internet! PlusNet promised us internet on the Friday after we moved in, but here I sit 2 weeks later still without internet! Don’t worry, I have already called up and had a little chat with them. Didn’t help though, I am still without internet but we should get it very soon! Everything is unpacked, we have already decided on which furniture to keep and which to get rid of to optimise all the space we now have. Main reason for that is we want to convert the second bedroom into office space whilst keeping the bed in there. Tricky, but not impossible if we are smart about it!
I look back at the doubts and fears I had before we decided to move here. Some doubts and fears remain, such as the distance from me and my family who are still in London, but we text each other most days and we do our best to fit in a big family call once a week. It will be tough to get used to not being a 10 minute drive away, but things will all work out in the end. To be fair, we are already taking about my parents coming to visit during Easter!
You know, every now and then, Kate and I have to remind ourselves what we did. We moved our entire lives from London to Edinburgh. That’s a pretty big deal! But sometimes we forget this because we have to deal with the day-to-day stuff, and it’s important to remind ourselves every now and then of what we did.
Most of my blog posts have a lesson to teach, and this one was this: I was presented with an opportunity, and I took it. I nearly didn’t, but there are 2 big reasons why I changed my mind.
Firstly, I saw a phrase saying “When opportunity calls, don’t let it go to voicemail”. It’s a silly phrase, I know but it struck me because I saw it as I was thinking about the move. It helped a lot.
Secondly, I always say “I would rather regret doing something than regret not doing something”. So I would always regret not taking this chance. I would rather do the move and go “This isn’t working out. But I tried”.
I hope the next time you are presented with a new and exciting opportunity, you will take it and your life will be better because of it.
While it’s tempting to play it safe, the more we are willing to risk the more alive we are. In the end, what we regret most are the chances we never took. I leave you now with this quote from the final episode of Frasier, it is a poem by Tennyson, because I feel it applies very much to this situation.
“It may be the gulfs will wash us down, it may be we touch the happy isles, and though we are not now that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are. Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”