5 things no one will tell you about moving to England at 23

This article was created for The Travel Project by Bec Jenkins, a 23 year old adventurer who has packed up her life, put her career on hold and flown to the other side of the world to follow her dream of travelling solo to as many countries as possible.

3 months ago, packing my life up and moving to a new life in the UK was just a distant fantasy. It was something I would daydream about whilst sitting at work, before dismissing the idea as too far-fetched for the average 23 year old who is already settled into a career job with debt on a car, no real ‘savings’ and the usual endless bills that seem to drain away the idea of travelling the world anytime soon.

Fast-forward 3 months and I am now sitting at my desk on the other side of the world in England, where I have been living for the past 2 months. How? Well, I am about to show you 5 things no one will tell you about moving to England.

You don’t need a lot of money

Surprised? So was I! Providing you plan it right, acquire the right visa’s (if need be) and have the right attitude, you don’t need a lot of money to move to another country! 9am, the morning after I landed in the UK (for the first time, ever) I was walking into a job interview. 10 days later, I received a call and started work the next day. How? I got my butt into gear, adjusted my CV and jumped onto job sites local to the UK, and well, the rest is history.

Don’t have any savings? Don’t worry – neither did I. It is amazing how much you can save in just a short amount of time when you begin to eliminate the unnecessary bills (who would’ve thought, huh?). You know those little pieces around the house you keep, but never really use? Maybe those shoes you own way too many of? Sell them! Your car? Let it go. You will be able to pick up the material things once you’ve settled again. You will be surprised how easy it is, too.

Bring enough money to last you approximately a month, keep a little ‘emergency’ fund for a ticket home in case it doesn’t work out, and what’s the worst that could happen? Maintain a good relationship with your current employer (leave the metaphorical door ‘open’ for emergencies) and the world is yours, with a little security – just in case. Now, if I can do that with only 6 weeks of preparation then almost anyone can do it; you just have to put your mind to it.

I believe falling in love with a city is just as exciting as falling in love with a person… ❤️🌎

A photo posted by Bec Jenkins (@becjenkins_travel) on

You can live the London life, without living in London

Maybe you’re not a true city person, but the idea of experiencing the London lifestyle is exciting. Or, maybe you are a total city-lover who could live out your days amongst the bustle of the rich and famous in London, but your bank account says otherwise (I know the feeling). Or, maybe you just want to live out your dream of living in England, but the first thing that comes to mind is London and the outrageous expense that usually comes with it. Well – what if I told you there are ways you can live in England, where you can travel to London (within an hour) where you can enjoy the London life as often as you like, without the expense that comes with living in London?

As an Aussie from the suburbs situated right in the middle between Brisbane City and Surfers Paradise, I found that the same rules apply to England (surprise, surprise!) as they do in Australia. The further from the City Centre you live, the more affordable. So – try going for a village in England. They not only have great links to London by train (so, so easily connected), but they also have so much of that wonderful English character. No two villages are the same, and each are uniquely filled with English history. I am going to bet most people in other countries haven’t ever heard of my little village (an hour out of London), yet I can walk 5 minutes down the road and find myself in a 600 year old Church with an old telephone box out the front, and in that time I would’ve passed around 10 old English pubs. Or if I drive 5 minutes down the road I would find myself in an old Castle, or a stunning country park.. Awesome, right? All I have to do is jump on a train and an hour later I will be in London St Pancras station – simple!

You don’t need a plan

Are you one of those people who need to plan out your day on a to-do list before you can fathom the idea of functioning properly? Does the idea of moving across the world suddenly send you into cold sweats, because how on earth can you plan for something you have never done, or somewhere you have never been? The answer is – don’t! The only plan you need is a backup plan; an emergency plan to get yourself back home in case it doesn’t work out, which it will (positive thinking, okay!). Like I mentioned before, maintain a good relationship with your employer (or prospective employers, in case you need one), keep a little money aside for a plane ticket home and leave the rest up to the freedom that comes with life when you allow yourself to live it.


Obviously, start planning some necessities i.e. organising some job interviews, an initial place to stay (think of any family or friends you might know overseas – trust me, it is always a bonus to know people across the world!) and enough savings to get you by for a little while. The rest will happen.

Better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times🍂 #PuntingInCambridge

A photo posted by Bec Jenkins (@becjenkins_travel) on

There is so much more to England than the big cities

While London is one of the most remarkable cities I have ever been to in the world so far, the rest of England is so full of beauty, history, culture and incredible architecture that spans so much further out than the usual big cities you typically hear about. Every corner of the country has some hidden history and beauty; there are castles and century old Churches and buildings dotted all over the country, all you have to do is explore it.

Life is better when you take the road less travelled👣 #ThorpeCloudSteppingStones

A photo posted by Bec Jenkins (@becjenkins_travel) on

The world is quite literally on your doorstep

You are SO close to some of the most incredible places in the world when you live in England. Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Continental Europe are all on your doorstep; you can jump on a train and a few hours later find yourself in Paris… yes, Paris! An hour on the plane can take you to Ireland, an hour and a half to Switzerland – fancy skiing the Swiss Alps? I did that a few weekends ago.

Now – if someone had told me a little over 3 months ago that by the end of 2016 I would be living on the other side of the world away from everyone and everything I have ever known, own a little English car that drives me to my full-time job each day, skied the Swiss Alps and stood at Jungfrau (the Top of Europe), drank pints of Lager in an old Scottish pub while dancing around to a traditional Scottish band in Glasgow and spent New Year’s Eve on a boat party on the River Thames – I would’ve chuckled and returned to daydreaming about the day I might be able to do it. But, here I am, owing all thanks to a travelling cousin of mine who said to me one day in September – ‘I dare you to do it’.

If I can do it, you can – I dare you.


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  • drewboy182

    I have considered this myself in the past but I would like to know how you dealt with leaving family behind? My two brothers are a couple of my best friends and I feel like I would really struggle with this.

    • Bec Jenkins

      The hardest part for me was the ‘goodbye’ at the airport. I am also really close with my sister & brother, and my parents so I struggled with the thought of being so far away for a while.
      Once I was on my flight and flying into Abhu Dhabi then on to London, I was so excited that I forgot how hard the goodbye was. There are obviously days where I miss my family & friends, but things like Skype make it so much easier to stay connected and calm the homesickness.
      Besides – once you put yourself out there in another country, you’ll start making new friends in no time and it will feel like home! 🙂

  • Space_Monkey

    Omg!!! You give me so much hope to do this!!
    I was thinking of doing this, but always read blogs where it was so difficult and expensive. I actually on a contiki with a really sweet Australian girl who went to London to work for a year. She kept on saying that it was the worst experience of her life.

    But after reading your blog… its so refreshing!!! I have always wanted to work and live in London, but was so cautious to take that step.

    • Bec Jenkins

      Keep an open mind and remember not to take life too seriously – you will be fine! A lot of people find they struggle to adjust to living in London, which is why I live outside the city (but, to be honest I could seriously see myself living right in the city one day!!). But, also remember that ‘everyone else’ isn’t ‘you’. We are all different and we can’t let other people’s opinions or personal experiences stop us from doing what we want and learning for ourselves.

      I know It’s not for everyone, that’s totally fine – we all have different experiences and handle situations differently. I have just learned to go with the flow and not to panic – everything has a way of working out just how it is supposed to!

      If you want something enough, go and do it! 🙂

  • Bianca

    I’ve always wanted to pack up and move to London, but worry that while I’m over there I won’t earn enough to get by. What kind of work do you do?

    • Bec Jenkins

      Hey Bianca,

      I work in HR in England just in an admin position. There are plenty of jobs around, you just need to look at it as if you were looking for a job back home.. it’s all relative! 🙂

  • Deanna

    Been looking into moving to England for practically most of my life and I’m curious about what kind of visa you got because I think I remember reading somewhere that you’re not supposed to work or even look for work if you’re there on a visitor visa. Since I’m not trying to be a student or get married and I don’t already have a job lined up I’d already given up any hope of ever being able to get any other type of visa :/ But if you did it then maybe there’s hope for me after all! I’d love some advice.

    • Bec Jenkins

      Admittedly, I had it a lot easier than some as I qualified for a British passport (my Mum was born in Scotland) however I have joined some groups on Facebook such as “Aussies in London” where people just ask each other for recommendations and advice (you are sure to find someone who’s been in the same position as you!), and they all help each other out finding answers, and sharing their experience.

      My best advice would be to look into a working visa and get some Skype interviews lined up. It’s all about taking the right steps to organise it 🙂

    • Suffrin

      If you’re under 30 you can get the tier 5 youth mobility visa. which is a 2 year working visa for the UK.

  • Laura Creed

    If you want to nurse in England it’s pretty easy if you are qualified or have experience from home. The salary isn’t fantastic but you can rent a place and live ok on your own, harder if you have kids. I am English born and work in England but with nurses from all over the world. It’s a good way to get into the UK.

  • Courtney

    What was the best site to look for jobs! And had you secured one beforehand or lined one up and then went for an interview!? Also where did you stay and how did you begin to look for accomodation. I’m wanting to do exactly what you did but have no idea where to start!