First, the Queen passed on, capping off an unprecedented 70-year run.
Concurrently, the UK has experienced a period of tremendous political and economic upheaval, as the country cycled through multiple prime ministers in record time.
And now, in news that is bound to send equally powerful shockwaves through this country’s establishment, the Banker on FIRE is preparing to depart the UK.
The Sands of Time
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may recall some of the soul-searching I’ve done upon turning 40 last year.
There was always the question of what to do next. But figuring out where to do it was equally high up on the agenda.
While we absolutely loved living in London, it was also clear that we’ve run down the shot clock quite a bit, in particular when it comes to maxing out on time with our respective families.
Family reunions, as fun and exciting as they may be, only last so long. You may not want to live next to your parents and siblings, but you don’t necessarily want to live an 8-hour flight away from them either.
Engineering geographical moves is never easy. In addition to disrupting every single facet of life, they also involve a fair bit of career choreography, especially at the more senior levels which I am now approaching.
And so, when my employer reached out over the summer, asking whether I would consider taking a slightly more senior role back across the pond, I was ready for a serious conversation.
One thing led to another, and before too long, I was signing on the dotted line while my wife was submitting her own resignation letter and looking up new schools for our children.
Wherever you happen to live, it’s easy to focus on all the negatives in your life – and the UK has certainly had its fair share of, ahem, challenges over the past few years.
But as I look back at our 10+ years here, there is an extremely long list of things I will miss about living in this country, and certainly about being in central London.
First and foremost, there’s the cadence of holidays.
The amazing lead-up to Christmas, which always felt more drawn out, less commercial (and ever-so-slightly more debauched!) than it did in North America.
The weekend ski jaunts in the winter. The short beach getaways around Easter, soaking up that long-awaited sunshine.
Finally, the almost-institutionalized summer holiday in August, when even banking activity grinds to a halt and everyone descends on the beaches of southern Europe.
I’ll miss the density of living. When you live in central London, you certainly don’t get to live in a 4,000-square-foot mansion. We’ve spent most of our time here in relatively compact flats.
What you do get, instead, is the ability to lead a “car-light” lifestyle, walking or taking public transport pretty much everywhere.
Some of my most favourite memories include walking our daughter to school in the mornings, watching her ride her bike along the leafy streets of South Kensington.
On the days I was working from home, it was picking our son up from daycare, and possibly making a detour to the local gelato place on the way home.
As surprising as it may seem, I’ll also miss the weather.
Perhaps not the gloominess or the incessant rain.
But anyone who spent time in the Midwest or the Northeast will appreciate not having to dig out from 5 inches of snow overnight, and not having to wear anything more than a light coat and a scarf come winter.
The list goes on and on.
There’s nothing quite like the flexibility of jumping on a Eurostar (or EasyJet) on a Friday afternoon for a last-minute weekend getaway. The lazy summertime Saturday afternoon picnics in Hyde Park. The cozy pub evenings next to a crackling fireplace.
Most of all, I’ll miss being just one short tube ride away from central London, one of the most special cities in the entire world.
Don’t get me wrong, we are beyond excited about our move.
First of all, it is nice to be coming home, especially after such a long time away. We look forward to reconnecting with our families and old friends.
Career-wise, I’m taking on a new and expanded role, which is always a fun challenge.
My wife is looking forward to trading her intense finance job in for something with a bit more flexibility.
And if my early read is correct, I will probably manage a slightly better work-life balance myself, courtesy of no longer being based in London and finally getting some family help with the kids.
Unsurprisingly, the kids are also pumped up for a new adventure. Highest up on the agenda? Enjoying “real snow” in the winter. Let’s see how long that excitement lasts!
Knowing ourselves well, I’d say there’s a 50%+ chance we will end up back in London or Europe at some point over the next 20 years.
The good news is that you won’t need to wait that long for the next post as I definitely plan to keep the blog up.
London, it’s been amazing. Till we meet again.
About Banker On Fire
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Banker On FIRE is an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) investment banker. I am passionate about capital markets, behavioural economics, financial independence, and living the best life possible.
Find out more about me and this blog here.
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