We’re Maya and Kasper (not our real names but online personas) – a pair of Londoners hailing from continental Europe. I, Maya moved here first and Kasper followed me some years later. We’re not married and have no children.
Our interests have more often than not stayed away from what we’d consider excessive spending or luxurious pastimes – except from travelling which we both enjoy a lot. As such, we’ve usually been able to live below our means and one day in 2010 decided to empty our small coffers and bought our first flat.
Although highly functional and located in what they call a desirable area of the capital, the flat started being a nuisance the moment we both had to commute for work to central London (either one of us worked locally before). We started a hunt for a new place and three years later bought our first house. Located in another leafy area, this time in a well-connected zone 3, it cuts our commuting times by half and more. We’ve been letting the flat since and are not sure what to do about it at the moment.
We’re both contractors in the tech and creative industries. This means plenty of freedom and a similar amount of uncertainty about our month to month income.
Until 2016 we were pretty sure our base would be London – as immigrants who lived in other countries we don’t always easily call somewhere a home. It made sense logistically, financially and socially. To make our base the way we’d like it to be – I suffer from an incurable love for architecture and design – we hired an architect, got a further advance and planned a whole remodel, refurbishment and also extension of the house. An obtained planning permission, hired professionals and the Brexit (Great Britain’s decision to leave the European Union) vote later we were well on our way to make things happen. And then… we changed our minds.
It could be because I started reading all the FIRE blogs (particularly MMM) and books about urban architecture and it also could be because our architect had been more than flaky for months and dragged the project interminably. It could be because we realised that most of our close friends have left / are leaving London and it could also be because we travelled around the UK and Europe a bit more at the time.
What we came to consider a relatively cheap house for London started being a stupidly expensive house for most parts of the UK and Europe. What we saw as our base with good transport links and friends nearby started being an overcrowded town where meeting friends was possible only if they worked as centrally as us (otherwise everybody was too tired).
We needed a wake up call and luckily it didn’t come too late.
We decided to make the most of our earning opportunities in London and save + invest enough money to leave it. Where to? We’re not sure yet but definitely somewhere human and cyclist-friendly – the search is on.