There’s an ever ubiquitous millennial snobbery targeted at those in their twenties who’ve made the decision not to live in London. The British capital is held in such high regard by the current populus aged between 18-30, as though it is some Millennial / Gen-Z rite of professionalism to have slung your bindle over your shoulder and marched down to Euston ready to make your fortune. However, I just do not buy it.
I visit London frequently for both social and professional purposes and although I enjoy it on the most part, there are some key reasons why I know that I do not want to move there – not now and not ever. Here’s a peek at some of those reasons:
1) The cost. I know everyone bangs on about how expensive London is, but it is as if I get off the train at Euston and twenty pound notes fly out of my purse, never to be seen again. I always come away from London having spent nearly half of my disposable income for that month with very little to show for it apart from the flaccidity of my once monetarily stocked pockets. “Oh but you’d earn more if you moved to London”, I hear you say. Well, actually, not that much more. As reported by the Office for National Statistics, the average full time salary in London is £36,611, whereas the average full time salary for the rest of the UK is £29,588; split that £7,023 difference between twelve months and that gives you an extra £585.25 before tax per month to spend. Whilst that sum might sound considerably chunky, bear in mind that the avergae cost of travelling to work in London is almost double the average commute cost in the rest of the UK, at 47p per mile compared to 24p per mile. Workers travelling to their jobs in London spend an average of £305 month on commuting, which sees a mighty chunk of that ‘extra’ income disintegrating pretty swiftly. I’m just sayin’, before moving to the big city, consider those coins y’all.
2) The pollution. Wash your face after a day in London and the soot splattered basin does not make for a pretty sight. I’ve seen so many articles which suggest wearing makeup to shield your skin from the dirt wafting in the wind, but frankly I would like to have the option of going makeup free should I so wish, without the fear of my pores being packed full of even more impurities.
3) Too many people. The inability to go anywhere without other people being present is a feeling I find suffocating even I’m just visiting for a short while.
4) That said, I would miss the lack of community. I like a happy medium between being able to go about my day without being trampled by a throng of commuters, and feeling as though there is a group of people to whom I am connected, not only through a geographic conincidence but also a common interest in our hometown. As is similar in the majority of the world’s busiest cities, loneliness is a very prominent and very real problem in London. Despite the millions of people all living in the same city, statistics show that loneliness in London, including a lack of community feeling, is at an all time high. As much as I like my personal space, I’d hate to become completely anonymous in the very place I exist.
5) The tap water tastes foul. You might think this is a frivolous point, but watch even more of those pounds drain ceaslessly from your bank account when you have to shed out for bottled water every day.
6) The lexicon. The phrase ‘London W*nker’ was coined for a reason – because those who move there start using terms like “jump on a call”, “touch base offline”, “square the circle” and “idea shower” (I’m cringing so hard just writing these…how do people actually say them with a straight face?). Stop it. Just stop it.
7) The soul destroying trauma of tackling the Tube with anything bigger than a satchel. Trying to fit your own body into a Tube carriage anywhere in Zone 1 is stressful enough, let alone when you have a suitcase. The furor is not helped by the people tutting and rolling their eyes when they have to move half a foot to their left to make room for your case – sorry that I have belongings that I sometimes need to take with me places, what an awful person that must make me. Jeez.
8) The sweatiness of the Tube. You have a shower in the morning, you do your hair, you may even put on a smattering of makeup. You get on the Tube and boom, three minutes later you’re clammy, your forehead is glistening with sweat and your once perfect ponytail is now framed by a frizz halo. Why bother?
9) The streets are not paved with gold, they are paved with dirt. Want your nice new shoes to stay stain and scuff free? Well you won’t be wearing them in London pal.
10) Not being able to drive. I genuinely enjoy being in my car, belting out my tunes, chatting with my loved ones, wacthing the scenery go past (NB my enjoyment of driving does not equate to enjoying being sat in traffic – any wait over ten minutes and the drive goes from enjoyable to enraging pretty damn quickly) but the congestion charges along with the lack of parking, endless jams and unapologetically combative fellow drivers make driving in London an almost Herculian task best avoided where possible.
I really could go on, but I can hand on heart say I have no desire to move to London. Many believe that such an assertion is on par with saying ‘I have no desire for career progression or a bangin’ social life’ but, honestly, these can be achieved outside of the British capital. Opportunities don’t start and end in London, and I for one won’t be sucked into sacrificing my rural quality of life any time soon.