Being a Nigerian girl living in Lagos, you hear stories of how unsafe it is to go out and your parents do their best to protect you from all the harms of the world. In doing that, they do not allow you to experience the beauty of life and just simply living. On moving to the UK, I decided to take charge of my freedom and create new experiences for myself. Living in the UK changed my life forever and it has made me see the world differently.
I understood that freedom isn’t about living on your own and doing whatever you like but having the ability to spread your wings to enjoy the goodness of life and see what the world really has to offer. I had a lot of cheap getaways across the Uk because I had friends schooling in different cities. The cheap getaways allowed me to visit Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Surrey and London. The exciting thing about the UK is you can live the London life without living in London because of the efficient train system. The efficient train system also allows you to travel within Europe as well, London St Pancras station is the hub for international travels by rail.
I realised really quickly that the best way to see the world without having any financial implication was to either volunteer or take up summer job that requires me travelling within the UK. This allowed me to attend horse racing events at Ascot, Flower show at Surrey, weddings in Wiltshire. I always say one of the dumbest decisions I have ever made in my life was taking a job at Liverpool and travelled over 10 hours on the road for a 5 hours shift (Don’t Judge me !)
Asides being able to see the world, shopping in England from the busiest streets of London, Oxford street to one of the largest malls in the UK, Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. The high street stores always have a way of getting you to make a purchase just by simply looking. The weather allows you to be fashionable at all times, so I guess why not?
One of the most beautiful places I went to in the UK is Hastings, it has that east coast vibes – multi-coloured house, mountain views and of course the beach. It is a good place for a day trip or a quick getaway from the typical British environs.
The cost of living and housing in the Uk is very expensive, especially in London. If you are relying on money from your home country (for me, the naira), you realise the money would not do a lot for you.
Another thing for me is everything is small and squashed together. The roads are so tiny that you think cars are kissing each other on a dual carriage road. My dad always makes jokes about my bedroom being someone’s entire apartment in England. The compactness of England makes moving around quickly but it is still expensive.
Safety is a huge concern in the UK. Stories of gang-related crimes and violence like stabbing are real. The UK nightlife is very exciting but if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, the outcome may be disastrous. I usually wouldn’t walk about in the night because I knew how dangerous it could be. I remember receiving a mail about someone who was a stabbed to death on a road I used often.
England is mostly known for its amazing weather especially during the winter and summer but the rain…OMG, It can drizzle all day. You just want the rain to fall and be over with but that is not what the rain is like in the UK. Don’t be fooled by the light rain, if you have a motive on a rainy day, you will be drenched.
Central London is known for its small roads and traffic but there is a system to get through the traffic which is driving through the congestion charge zone. The congestion charge road is marked ‘C’ and you pay for using that route. I remember going about in London with my friends and we were stuck in traffic. It was annoying seeing the free lane but no one wants to ply the route because of the charge. We could not stand the wait in the traffic anymore and we used the congestion charge lane. You can read more about the congestion charge in London.