How to Live a Gypsy Life of Big Cities
Often, people are confused by my accent - I'm regularly mistaken for a Brit and I still say 'rest room' and 'to-MAY-toe’ like I’m living in America, but I'm always so proud when people find out I'm a Kiwi and hear the lovely things they say about New Zealand.
I grew up in a country town called Darfield, which is about 40 minutes drive from Christchurch. Surviving huge earthquakes in 2011, and seeing how we all came together to pull through as a city, gave me a whole new appreciation for life. I knew I wanted to travel and be successful.
It’s been four years now and as you guys know, I’ve lived and worked in Melbourne, New York, London and now Dubai. Four years of visa hopping, hard work, continual learning, and hustling my way up the career ladder.
I’ve worked as a nanny, carried plates as a 'runner' in Melbourne, waitressed in an iconic Manhattan restaurant, studied for my NYC real estate licence, recruited for finance in Europe’s tallest building, and now as you know, I’m a specialist Recruiter for Marketing for the UAE and Europe and Corporate Lifestyle/ Office Fashion Blogger. I have definitely been hustling!
And believe me... There have been times where I've wanted to pack it all in and move back to my family. I've felt lonely, tricked and had no food or money (great times surviving on a £1 and a packet of frozen veges/ pasta haha). But mostly, it's been an incredible ride.
To live a gYpsy life of big cities, here are my top tips you will need to know:
Don't be a job snob
I was a trained Speech - Language Pathologist in New Zealand, however the regulations differ for this all over the World and further study is required for me to practice. I had no idea what I wouId do when I moved overseas, though I tried not to worry about the future so much and took on jobs waitressing. Having hospitality, retail experience or a trade to fall back on when you are travelling can be very beneficial.
Work culture is the most important thing to consider when finding a job as perhaps you may not know many people in your new city - ensure you work with great people!
After deciding in Melbourne I was going to move to New York, I took on the seemingly impossible task of saving enough money from $0 in two months. I took on extra shifts at the restaurant, and picked up another job working as a nanny. Anything is possible with hard work and determination! Maybe even start a side hustle so you can earn some extra income?
When you are an expat working overseas, demonstrate to your employer how hard you work and show your eagerness to learn - this attitude is what will get you places (and who knows, maybe you will need a new visa sponsorship down the line).
HAVE 3 HOBBIES
One to keep you fit, one to bring in cash and one to fuel your creativity! I had no hobbies in Uni, but picked them up again when I moved to London. And developed a new found love for playing footie! Not only are hobbies a great way to meet people, but they keep you busy and out of mischief.
Take on difficult Challenges
'Sales' didn't come naturally to me when I started working in recruitment, and 'cold calling' was extremely daunting (see my tips here) but I threw myself into it. Is there something you've been dreaming of yet you are too scared to do it? I can't even imagine life now if I didn't start my blog... though it took A LOT to suck up the courage. Does anyone say 'I wish I hadn't done that!' after they did something outside their comfort zone? NOPE. Even if you don't succeed you still will gain from the learning experience.
care less what people think
The older I get the less I care, and I know this is the same with many others. People are always going to add their 2 cents - a number of people suggested I would hate Dubai, or thought I was crazy for moving to NYC without knowing anyone. Over time, I've learnt that sometimes if you share your goals with people, they may not understand due to their own insecurities. Don't let the thought of what others may think limit your life.
It can be incredibly hard going from having a million friends to zero! Forget Tinder, MeetUp is an excellent way to meet people (if you are in Dubai you can attend my ladies group here). Interact with people on Facebook groups (e.g. Kiwis in London, Brits in Dubai) and invite people to coffee - you will find so many others in the exact, lonely situation as you! My diary over the next few months is full of people's names I'm yet to meet!
Don't get sucked up by going OUT out in your new city- yes clubbing in NYC is fun and the pubs in London CAN get wild, however, is it really necessary three times a week? From my experience, partying a lot can have a wider impact on your life such as affecting your self-esteem, job, energy to exercise etc.
Invest in yourself
I think it's important to be continually working towards a new goal, whether it's running a 10km race or starting a course. Initially, you may not have many friends so use this time improving your thoughts and developing healthy habits.
Be nice to yourself - there are going to be moments when you screw up, take the wrong train, or feel frustrated. Only you are responsible for your own happiness.
Do your own research into things such as apartments, visas, bank accounts etc - trust no-one. And be wary of who you overshare your feelings to as people may use them against you (calling mum is for that).
Give it time!!!
Too often I see people move back after a few months in a new city... it takes me at LEAST six months to one year before I start to feel settled. The city will be what you make of it - open yourself up to new things, opportunities and people.
DON't forget your roots
But most importantly, to survive the life in the big cities it's crucial you remember who you are and where you came from!
Kia Kaha, as we say in New Zealand! Living in a new city can be incredibly daunting, and it can take some time to get used to a new culture and find your friends, but stick it out and trust me when I say the pay off will be worth it.
Hope you enjoyed this post, guys! If anyone needs a friend in Dubai, or wants to message me for support I'm always keen to catch up. You can find me on Instagram (@deals_in_high_heels) or Facebook (Deals in High Heels).
What's your number one tip for surviving a new city?
Until next time,
Briar Prestidge x
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