Welcome to my first post everyone!
(love a good gif…sorry not sorry)
I’m quite excited to get this travel blog up and running. Most of my friends and family know the reason behind it, but for my new readers and those of you who don’t, I wanted to put this post together to welcome you and explain the situation and inspiration.
So, about 4.5 years ago, I boarded a flight to London at Chicago O’Hare to begin my secondment with work. I thought I had it all figured out before I even left….
Step 1: Move to London
Step 2: Stay 5 years
Step 3: Obtain indefinite leave to remain*
Step 4: Obtain British citizenship
*This just means you don’t need an employer to “sponsor” your visa to work anymore. Makes it easier to get and switch jobs.
Easy, right? So, there I was, midway through year 2 attending a routine visa check at my company when I get a wake-up call….
Immigration Lawyer: “Thank you for your time today. Here is your information packet on Tier 2 ICT visas. We also just want to remind you that none of your time on this visa counts towards indefinite leave to remain or citizenship.”
(Last gif, I promise)
The next few days were spent frantically reading through an impressive amount of immigration law, all of which led me to the same conclusion….the dreaded “cooling off” year. You can read more about it here, but in short, once I hit my 5 year mark in September, I have to wait a year between the end of my current work visa before I can apply to get a new work visa. So basically, I can’t reside or work in the UK for a year, but I can come in as a normal tourist (for up to 6 months at a time).
At first I was pretty depressed. I already knew after my first year of living in London that I wanted to make the UK my permanent home. So I started to get creative, if I was going to be forced to leave, I may as well make that year away exciting and do something interesting. I came up with quite a few ideas. At one point I was considering teaching English in Spain and the next, going back to school to get a degree in fashion. However, in the end, my love of travel won out.
I’ve decided to take a grown-up gap year and see a few new continents! I’ve been researching and building a rough itinerary which I’ll share with you shortly. I’ll also share tips and advice for how I’m preparing. When September rolls around, I know it will be bittersweet, but I’m excited to start this next chapter in my life and wander the world for a bit.