It has been five long months.
Updated: Jan 30
The last time I was writing about my life, my thoughts, and my adventures was five months ago.
Last November I decided to return to the UK, and specifically to London, after a palatable job offer: I was offered a 12 months fixed term contract with one of the biggest clients I did work for during 2021. I choose the security of a full-time job again, probably pushed once again by my mother who has no open mind about freelance work and owning a business - with of course all the risks, but equal satisfaction, that comes with owning a business. Plus - by accepting the contract, I was tight by it to the presence in the London office twice a week. So I really had no choice, but to relocate back to the black smoke.
In addition, there was the hope that, by bringing with me my partner, I would have had the opportunity to show him London, tell him more about myself and my life during my twenties, while we were living apart, and maybe get a deeper connection between us.
The truth is nothing as planned went actually as I thought. The office workplace was drastically changed since the pandemic hit hard the UK. London was changed, the UK was changed and I felt once again a stranger in my hometown.
I moved to north London, in an area which in fairness, doesn't look like London. This time I wasn't looking for parties, exhibitions, hustle and bustle, but I was looking for forests, lakes, and rivers, peaceful walks immersed in nature, and in the thoughts of my mind. I wanted to stay away from the black and white pictures taken of those tall buildings and those desolated and dark secondary roads with uneven pavement and a strong smell of urine that I was used to walking through in the middle of my sleepless nights.
Taking pictures in black and white was it was my only outlet to speak to the world, to let my soul tell stories of untold people, framed on my shots from far away, unaware of my presence a few yards away, as too busy chatting in a busy pub, or simply got prisoned by their night routine and habits.
This time for me was different. I wanted to take colored pictures, portraying that aristocratic part of London and of the British people that for years I deeply aspired to be part of. With park walks, beautiful boutique shops, expensive butchers and flowers shops, wealthy mid-class families having tasty Sunday roasts in a beautiful Victorian pub, sipping decent quality beers, and talking about the ordinary life, while kids were playing outside.
I truly hoped I could build up my family there, with a decent job back in London, sell the house in East London, and move North. Be with my similars, away from an area of London where I've never felt to belong to.
After five months I am probably at the furthest point of my original plan's starting point.
The job I signed up for 12 months revealed to be not so exciting after all, mostly requiring tasks that could be easily performed by a junior/middle weight designer. Internal politics are a big thing there and reminded me how nice it felt when I stepped away from all of this becoming a freelancer. Owning my own business required me to be super nice to my clients, but at the same time to step away from all the mandatory training & hierarchical politics that affects usually a company. I always felt a deep level of pride in making my clients happy, but at the same time, I was very careful to steer away from that whirlwind of office unnecessary internal politics.
As the cherry on the cake, during December I was the only person actually present at work.
Many times when I am looking back, I am questioning myself, thinking what if I stayed in Italy and I left my London chapter truly behind me. I will never find out what was the answer for it, but the time for closing that chapter was approaching with the coming of the following events.
My partner got a job offer to relocate to Dubai for good. And this was only after two months that we were back in London.
I started to suffer from Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and I spent days in bed crying when there was no sight of sunlight. I still think that if I didn't have the love of my little cat Puk Puk, I would not be here telling this story today.
And now here I am, writing this chapter from an apartment in Business bay in Dubai.
It's a glorious sunny day and I have been here for exactly the last 20 days.
I have been working fully remotely with my company at the same high standards - as I normally do. I give 110% when I am working remotely and probably just 80% when I am in the office, where I am too distracted by my surroundings, or by checking the time to see how long it's left till I can wear my bike outfit and cycle 12K back to my studio apartment in the North, finding the comforts of my own loneliness & quietness. While I was here I was informed that my rented property became a refugee home without my permission. After the initial shock, this made me realize how I truly now want to close this London chapter more than ever. Seeing how non-British parasites are taking advantage of the British governments' leaks is something sickening and it's now affecting my life as well as my family's as I have no idea when I will be able to evict the current 'guests' and take back the control of my property. This, as well as with my FTC that will end up in November, are my very last chains to a place I no longer feel comfortable calling home.
The time spent in Dubai made me think about where I was last year.
I did work so hard to build my business, to shape the life that I wanted becoming a digital nomad where I could perform my job from literally anywhere in the world, only with the use of pc connected to wifi.
At this exact time last year I was in Tenerife experiencing my very first adventure as a digital nomad. I remembered that feeling of freedom, the fresh air on my face every time I could admire the sunset from the beach, after a long day at work, or the excitement of trying a new early morning running trail or a hidden culinary gem where I could taste cheap local cuisine.
No day was or felt the same, and that excitement of the unknown is what I am missing the most.
Here in Dubai I experienced a completely different culture, a clean and secure environment, a place where I could feel comfortable see my children growing up and teaching them that there are laws, and if you don't obey to them there are consequences. Somehow I truly admire the fair mentality that you can breathe here. I also like the weather, opening the curtains knowing another sunny day is ahead, and my mental state won't be suffering by feeling imprisoned in a 30sq2m studio under a grey sky. Tomorrow I will be living Dubai with the crystal clear intention of breaking the final chains that are holding me tight to London, to finally close that black and white chapter of my life, and to open myself to new horizons, where only vibrant, bold and colorful picture will be taken.