Living in 5 Countries in 5 Years

If you don't follow me on Instagram, you may have no idea that I am currently living and working in the good ol' U S of A!

It's actually my first time here, which I feel gets some pretty surprised responses. I know a lot of friends have grown up going on holiday to Florida, or taken weekend trips to New York - given that the big apple is only a 6-hour flight from London.

Despite my delayed visit to the US, it's not through a lack of trying. A couple of years ago, I had a place at George Washington University in DC, but broke my foot just after confirming my place, and couldn't work to save up the money needed for my time out here.

You might've seen my post about it. At the time I was absolutely distraught. Studying in America had been a dream since I was around 10, before I realised how hard and expensive it was, so having to pull the plug due to breaking my foot (en route to a date, did I mention?!!) was a bloody tough choice.

HOWEVER, it all worked out. I instead landed a summer job in France, which followed me for 3 more summers, and I lived and graduated with some of my favourite people in the world.

On top of that, I landed in America on September 26th, ready to pursue a new kind of American adventure. One without studying, and where instead of the bustle of DC, I'm actually living in the most beautiful house just outside of Charleston, two doors up to where they filmed The Notebook.

Sadly, Ryan Gosling has not been spotted rowing dreamily along the water our house is on. If he was, you can bet I would've thrown myself in and half-died trying to make it across to him.

But in-between my Ryan Gosling fantasies, I realised the other day, that America is now the fifth country I've lived in since 2014.

Including the UK.

In the last year alone, I've lived in 4 different countries. Having been in Australia this time last year, then back to the UK, then out to France to work, and now being here.

And in 2014, a time when, frankly, this blog was in its prime, being dedicated to stories of hunting down boyfriends and eating my weight in gelato, I was living in Italy.

It's pretty rare for me to pat myself on the back and commend myself for doing life. Because, yknow, it's just bumbling along the same way others do in a 9-5. But I'm actually pretty impressed with myself.

Every time I've jumped on a plane to move to a new country, whether with a backpack or a suitcase, I've been alone, most of the time without having any friends at my destination.

I always brush off the sentiment of being brave, I don't actually think it is brave. I just think, if you want something that badly, you'll find a way to do it. I've landed in countries with £160 to my name. I've lived off pasta and rice for a month to avoid going home.

You make things work, you shuffle things around, and to be honest, you make a couple of decisions you'll probably regret.

But I'd never regret anything as much as not actually taking the risk in the first place.

So. A quick recap of my international antics is definitely in order! Please prepare yourself for some questionable photos.

Let's smash out the UK first. The UK is home. It's where I'm a registered citizen, it's my passport, and thanks to its fortunate position as a state, it is also the reason I can live and work in so many countries.

You'll hear me moan about being at home. But truthfully, I love parts of the UK. I love London, I love the countryside, and I bloody love Yorkshire puddings. It's just not where I see myself in my twenties.

When I was 18, I had my eyes on Italy, and where better to move, than the home of parma ham and parmesan cheese... Parma! I was an au pair, and lived in my own apartment in the centre of the city, something which, in hindsight, I was not at all prepared for.

When you go to university at 18, you're surrounded by your peers and you're all figuring it out as you go along. When I went to Italy, I was completely alone in a country where I had no support system initially and had no one to help me figure things out with.

Luckily, it wasn't all doom and gloom. I ended up with a solid group of friends, and learnt a LOT in that time. I also spent most weekends in nearby Milan, Verona and Bologna and went down to Tuscany, which to this day is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited.

My first trip abroad, was to France, when I was 8 years old. We drove to Portsmouth and spent the night in a hotel, before waking up in the early early morning to catch the ferry across the channel. France holds some of my favourite childhood memories, and to this day is my favourite country. So it was no surprise when at 20, I applied for a job there.

I spent two university summer holidays, and one subsequent, working in the Vendée region of France - in total I've spent 10 months there. Summers spent biking around campsites, eating a LOT of cheese and croissants, and getting in at 4am on the regular.

Despite the fact I have this desire to travel, I'd never actually left Europe until I was 22. So I did that by going as far away as physically possible. I spent 24 hours across two flights to Sydney, Australia.

My year in Australia was undoubtedly, the best year of my life. I met my soul mate - who happens to be in blonde, female, 5'6, Harry Potter-loving, best-friend-form rather than the 6ft dark handsome stranger I thought it would be -, I worked in the best job I will probably ever have, and I also became incredibly secure in myself.

Australia was the place I realised I could be liked for who I am, with no obligations from others. Friendships were raw and honest and nobody 'has' to be your friend when you live in hostels. It was also the place I spent the most time in and out of doctor surgeries, thanks to two bouts of tonsillitis, one fractured cheekbone and a broken ankle. But my GOD, was it worth it.

And now I'm here. I've been here for one month, and I'm here until December. I still haven't fully made up my mind on America yet.

There's a lot I'm getting used to, and even more that I'm confused about, (grits... really???????), but I DO love how much they throw themselves into spooky season. And that Pumpkin Spice is literally everywhere.

I'm living in Charleston, South Carolina, which happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in the country - both from what I've heard, and seen.

I'm going to do a proper American-life-update soon, if you can try and hold on for that. Currently, the only photo to reflect my time here happens to be the recent weekend I spent in Orlando.

So. Five countries in five years. It hasn't all been glamorous, and I've definitely spent more time feeling homesick than people probably assume.

I think it's so easy to see people who travel and believe that they never crave home, but it's just simply not true. I've cried down the phone to my mum in every one of these countries about something or other, always at that time wishing she wasn't a flight away.

However, every one of these experiences have been absolutely priceless. I had absolutely no idea my life would take this turn, but I am SO glad it has.

Love, Alice x