Leaving London is Tough

Airplane - Pablo Barrios

The man who is tired of London is tired of life. In this light, I consider leaving London for a few years merely as a nap.

For many people, the question of 'home' is an easy one to answer. Some people grow up and live their lives wherever they were born, and by default, this is the place called home. For other people, the question is less straightforward.

On some occasions whilst travelling abroad, I used to be asked where home was. Naturally, I would answer "London", only for them to ask - "No, where is home-home?" Clearly referring to my country of origin, revealed not to be the UK by a passport as well as an accent, it struck me as a valid, if odd question.

After so many years I could truly call London a home, with Germany, despite my roots being there, coming in a close second. I had been in the fortunate position to be able to shop around for a place called home, and - surprisingly for me - the UK was where I landed. I had established a life, fallen in love, found numerous friends, and started a family.

Then suddenly, my employer offered me a deal to relocate abroad for a few years. Whilst I had not aspired to it, the offer was tempting, and some discussions (and a pros & cons list) later, I had signed up, with the full backing of my wife.

Coming to London was easy. I brought two suitcases and nothing else. Now I had a wife, a toddler, an unborn child and an overloaded container in tow.

In the build-up to the move, the business of the activities involved kept us from really thinking about what we had signed up for. Too much to do, too many friends to say goodbye to, a car to sell, a flat to rent, and so on and so on.

With our material possessions in bubble-wrap and what used to be our home empty, the realisation started to sink in: We had decided to disrupt the life as we knew it, put our friendships on hold, and leave a city we loved dearly.

Our son was toddling through our empty apartment which he could barely recognise - until he found the light-switch which had been next to his crib. He remembered his habit of flicking the light on in the morning and stood in his vacant nursery switching the light on and off.

He had finally found a familiar bit of what he had called home, a place we remembered for being the place we brought him home when he was born. That moment we realised that this part of our life was completely over. We had signed up for an adventure, and the toughest part of it was getting started.

It led us to believe that whatever came after this would be easier. And the way we see it, the easiest thing will be coming back to London. Because we are not tired of it yet.