Why is it so hard to orbit out of London?

So you moan about the weather, rent, transport, the government, your job and the price of a pint, but you’re not actually going to do anything about it are you? How come the weight of all of these negative attributes never over rules your London routine, and you always push back that big move to 2016, then 2017, then 2018, to now, “yeah at some point soon.” It’s taken me 23 months of moaning, but I’ve clicked confirm on Skyscanner, and here is my reasoning behind the long delay.

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Until you remove yourself from the universe that bubbles away within the M25 for more than a week, you will not be able to orbit out of the M25 galaxy because you have too many plans within it to make plans outside it. Your weekends are booked up 3 months in advance, you have dinners locked in 4 nights a week, and you’ve paid for your class pass and your football season until December. You somehow have a birthday every Saturday at Franks / Pergola / Bussey Building / Gordons Wine Bar / 4 Thieves for the infinite future, and once you click attending you have delayed any orbital decision, yet again. Your colleague asks you to come over for dinner and you flick through your phone like some international CEO, and suggest a Tuesday in September, how did it come to this? You wake up on a Saturday morning and frantically review your Citymapper plan of the day – can you make boozy brunch at the Villandary at 11am, pints at the Phene at 2pm, dinner in Covent Garden at 7pm and then zip down to Phonox pres for 9pm? You do too much. It is impossible to think about anything else when you’ve committed all your time and energy to the M25 galaxy.

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Big moves, involve big savings, involves not being in an overdraft. If you were to find the time to think about leaving the Capital, you would also need to find the time to make a savings plan and commit to it. You assume that because you are on an entry level job, surely you would not be able to save? But then you get a little pay rise – what drain can I find all of this extra money in because it’s certainly not in my wallet? You decide to jump ship and sign a new contract for a satisfactory £5k more, but again, why am I seeing the £0 on the 30th of every month? Perhaps it was the £60 Uber I forgot to split last month, perhaps it is my new oyster season ticket that I lost and cannot remember the online login details for, perhaps it was even the time I paid rent on two houses because my contracts overlapped? Until you have a direct debit untouchable saving scheme that magically removes travel funds, the M25 galaxy will hold you hostage.

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The fact that every single person you know from school, university and work now live in one place does make the idea of throwing yourself into a blackhole of Canada, Asia, America or Australia a bit ridiculous. London offers your clusters of friends from different times in your life that you can always call upon, and an entire solar system of plans and events. Your family satellite around from time to time, and because there are so many airports around the outskirts, you can escape the routine periodically. Beyond the social ozone layer of London, is the realm of the unknown. No weekend plans are certain, and people who venture there will inevitably change themselves, their lifestyle and their social circles. The other side of the blackhole might not be like the M25 Galaxy, there will be good times and definitely bad times, but London isn’t going anywhere. Clusters of friends, months of plans, and Citymapper Saturdays, will stay firmly in place awaiting your return.

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Whilst we are all quick to moan about the capital, we are not quick to depart it. If you are a moaner like me, you have two options: throw yourself in the blackhole and commit to exploring the other side, or stop moaning and embrace it. Summers here – it isn’t all that bad.

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