More from Jovana Miletic – AussieTheatre’s London blogger…
I’ve recently come back from a ten-day trip in Europe. I made my way through Essen and Cologne by train, hitchhiked to Bruges then made the final move to Amsterdam via Brussels where my holiday ended three days later.
I can now say I’ve lived in London long enough to feel that I need to go elsewhere for a holiday. The initial shock of a new city has gone and I am finding my way around smoothly. There are still so many places I have not yet visited. There is so much more to find and discover; this is partly due to the fact that so many people filter through this city bringing new ideas and opportunities; every day there is a new creative project to read about.
Having left London for a week or so allowed for some time to reflect and to regroup. It is a fabulous city however the flip side is that it has a force to not be reckoned with. You are either part of the wave or being tumbled and drowned by it.
For me, at this moment, the most important thing seems to be ‘home’. ‘Home’ in the sense that, wherever you are in the world you must at some point find a place you can feel comfortable enough to unwind in. After moving five or six times in the last year, I am in need of ‘home’.
This has lead me to come across some interesting housing options as a result.
Once you are here there are a few ways you can go about it. The most obvious is to find a hostel if you don’t have family or friends. The second action is to go on gumtree or spareroom, or flatshare London. These are all great sites that will help you to find a place. Now for the new discovery. There is a website called adhoc.eu which basically offers great accommodation for a very low fee to people who are willing to be guardians of that property.
This could mean you could be living in a fully furnished office building or church for 35 pounds PER WEEK.
The reason for this low cost is that the building is not currently being used and the owners, to prevent squatters, wish to have someone there to keep en eye on their property.
At first I was a little sceptical when my friend mentioned he was going to register as a property guardian, however now, after having talked to a few people, and seen the website I’m quite keen to get involved.
If you come to London as an artist, wishing to spend time perusing your craft as opposed to working in a bar for forty-fifty hours per week just to pay the bills this may just be the perfect option. I am certainly looking into it at the moment.
To give you a basic idea, London is great when it comes to cheap groceries, terrible when it comes to rent and travel expenses. Unless you live and work in the same suburb you may be spending around 30 pounds per week to travel between zones 1 and 2. There is another hidden devil called council tax too. You not only pay rent, you also pay for the land you are living on. This is unheard of in Australia…thank the Lord!
Combine all this with old London houses and apartments that have very little or no insulation and you get a huge gas bill in winter…Yay!
To clarify for those who are still not catching on… London can be a hard city to live in but if you have your accommodation sorted out in terms of feeling at home and being able to live affordably, you are set!
Having spent that time in Europe allowed me to look at London with some newfound clarity. Even before I left Australia I had been seeking a way of life that was still unknown to be, restless within the confines of what I knew. The European way of life needs to be given credit, people seem to be able to find the balance between work and play a lot better. They don’t so much work hard play hard as they do play in work, and rest in play.
Looking back to Australia, I see that this way of living through work and hard partying is reflective of the London lifestyle. I think this is why people seem to get very worn out here and the only difference with Australia is that we have better weather and more vitamin D to soften the blow.
What I enjoyed on this trip and on other trips to Europe in the past was this ability for people to balance out their lives so that no moment reached an extreme. Of course this is a generalisation, but I’m attempting to paint a picture of the general vibe I get from any European nation I visit. They’ve been around for a while and they know how to pace themselves.
Even If you step just outside of London you will find a similar sort of lifestyle.
Some websites to check out if you’re heading to London…
Till next time, stay comfortable Australia!