After more than 5 years in San Francisco I was feeling the itch for something new. Last year, I decided to take a job opportunity in London. Deciding to leave the city and the country was pretty nerve wracking but also pretty exciting.
At first I thought I would just ship everything I had accumulated up until that point to continue the status quo of life as I knew it. As it turns out, it's incredibly expensive to ship things across the world 😅. It felt like a sign that I should do it the ol' fashioned way and start fresh. After a few yard sales and Facebook Marketplace exchanges I successfully sold all of my belongings. It was surprisingly cathartic to let go of all the things I had collected over the years but I would be lying if I didn't have moments of doubt and anxiousness. Everything I decided to keep fit into two suitcases, and with that I was on a plane to the UK (👋 Goodbye, SF).
I landed in London mid-February of 2020. I was able to go into the TransferWise office for about 2.5 weeks before the Coronavirus pandemic started to become a real event. The UK decided to go into lockdown at the beginning of April, which many thought would last a couple of months max. A few weeks into lockdown my flat-mate and I started having flu like symptoms which unsurprisingly turned out to be Covid. He seemed to get over it after week 2 but my symptoms only got worse. Long story short I ended up going to the hospital for 3 days but thankfully recovered after being given antibiotics for the pneumonia that had developed.
The rest of the year has kind of blurred together as one big extended work from home event. There were a few periods in which the government decided to open restaurants and retails shops again, which was a nice change from the constant solitude of our flat.
Work itself wasn't so bad, if anything it proved what a lot of people were trying to convince their employers of for years...you don't have to be in the same office as your coworkers to be productive. Coming up on a year at TransferWise I'm incredibly proud of all of the projects I've been able to work on and ship during this time. Even though I still haven't met most of my coworkers in real life we've still been able to create relationships I value and allow us to get work done but also hang out after work (via zoom).
At the time of writing this there's one week left in Feb 2021 and the news of the vaccines efficacy is promising. It feels like life may start getting back to normal in about 2 months or so. With a 3 year visa and one year being used up on lockdown I'm incredibly excited to start traveling again and making new friends. TransferWise has decided to move to a hybrid working model which means we have more freedom with where in the world we decide to work for a large portion of the year. I'm hoping to take advantage of that and travel to some of the offices around Europe and Asia + take some vacation time at the same time. I've also signed up for an Iron Man triathlon with my best friend in New Zealand at the end of the year so things are starting to look up and I'm excited and optimistic about 2021!