A lot of people have dreams of traveling or moving outside of their comfort zone. Its romanticized. Baguettes, bicycles, giant landmarks, running through fields (clearly we’re in Paris) but then reality sets in and you freak out about leaving your twin size bed, friends and everything you’ve ever known.
To my explorers, I want to introduce you to one of the absolute best. My friend Patrick. We met our freshman year of college, wore matching Hollister outfits, ate copious amounts of Jimmy Johns, were each other’s sorority + fraternity function dates. (so cute). Patrick went to study abroad our senior year, came back for a semester and then jetsetted off into the sunset back to London. BOLD. He is fearless and has so many poop jokes. Today he gets real with us on living abroad…No BS, like has he really seen a Spice Girl is true form?
Meet the Aboard Expert
What persuaded you to move abroad?
I first moved abroad when I in my final year of undergraduate for university. I had always had my mind set on London… Europe even but there was something about London that was so alluring, and there still is. I’ve now lived in London for nearly 3 years, I was mostly persuaded as I wanted something completely different from what I was used to. Being from a medium-sized rural town in Illinois, there is not much room to really find your identity and true passions… So I wanted to move to an international capital and pursue a different lifestyle and new chapter of life.
What has been your favorite part about living aboard?
I’d say the proximity of travel is the best! I am going to Iceland in March for about $50 return ticket. Paris is a two-hour train away, Ireland is an hour flight. The closeness of other countries and the low cost is such a steal.
I also love the diversity of people I’m able to surround myself with. I have friends from all over, and I have to admit its a privilege so gain insight to so many backgrounds!
Do you identify more with Mary Kate or Ashley in ‘Winning London?’
Oh god, I can never tell them apart… but whichever ‘will always be known as the girl who barfed at the Dodgers game’ is totally me. That scene is very Gretchen getting diarrhea in Barnes & Noble in Mean Girls. Neither of which has happened to me, but made me lol as I’m so clumsy and unfortunate sometimes that my friends never let me live down embarrassing situations.
What was the hardest adjustment?
Ugh honestly, living abroad can really kick your bum. Being so far from my family and dogs was really hard, especially with a few family health problems it was tough not to be there. It’s also tough when you aren’t used to a particular healthcare system, and your ill without your mum to take care of you!
What experience have you had that you would have never had at home?
Getting home from a night out at 11AM the next day! Well, as well as going to gigs, film premieres, fashion shows, working, so many things that make me think ‘I srsly cannot believe I’m doing this, in London of all places’.
I also started doing drag in London! That gave me a great platform I think. I was in a major film in drag, went to London Fashion Week in front row, and performed a few times. There are so many opportunities in any city you are at to make something of yourself!
Have you seen the Spice Girls?
I’ve seen my favourite Spice Girl, Emma Bunton (Baby Spice) LOADS. She’s gorg.
What have you learned about yourself in your time abroad?
I’ve learned to be a confident, motivated, and earnest person- personally and in my work life. I’ve worked really hard to be here, and to be where I am. So I’ve learned so much about hard work and trusting your instincts.
Does London feel like home?
Yes, I think most places can feel like home once you settle in and find yourself and surround yourself with the right people.
Was it everything you thought it would be?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I imagined London would be idyllic with white pristine flats like you see in Chelsea. But true London is grimey, and rough which I love. There are so many juxtapositions in London… some good, others not so much. You can have a beautiful skyline of the City of London in Liverpool Street filled with the Shard and luxury flats, but also surrounding it you can find rough council estate blocks (public housing)
What advice would you give someone who wants to move far from home?
Do it. Everyone should get out of their comfort zone, and where they were raised at least once in their life. We live in such a massive world, and the issue with America is while it is a huge place, it is not the only entity. There is so much culture and perspective to gain from outside of the states. You’ll learn more about yourself than you thought if you take that leap!
Hey, its me again. Like how cool is this guy? HE SAW BABY SPICE. Annnnnd, overall is really chasing his dreams. Special thanks to the wonderful Patrick Jordan for taking the time to share his honest insight with us, along with a laugh. Follow him on Instagram + Twitter.
Do you guys have any questions for him? Leave a comment or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.