"The sun rises and it sets and it rises again". I’m taking that as a reflection and mantra for my life. Cause hey, that's how it’s been. It's been a good while since I've blogged! Yes, of course, I’m aware that everything online isn't real and those that are transparent, aren't transparent about everything. There are some things that are not shown online that are covered up by smiles and what and not. Hey! I’ve gone through a period where I didn't have the desire or that level of transparency to share that life wasn’t really that great, so I sat tight. I didn’t know how to be open with social media with life's challenges. Of course, I’m aware I’m not the only one. It’s hard to understand how your struggles can help another person when you’re trying to help yourself. Don't know how to. Post-travel depression is a real thing. Let me start there.
As I’ve mentioned before, I came back from my “start a new life adventure” early because one ran out of money. Tried again some months later and really, really ran out of money. Listen to Episode 20, “Third Time, not so Lucky” of the Hot Foot Roams podcast. Then I came back to the UK, I was homeless. Literally sofa surfing. Not the best situation in any metropolitan city, especially London. OMG this place is expensive! I then moved around and came back to London. Working with a friend of mine at her after school club and breakfast club. That was a blessing. 6 weeks of no money and no home was different and I’d been here before in life. It was frustrating, but I knew I had to be patient. But fuck! It was frustrating. It was hard to be Zen and maintain my center and my spirit. Ooh! The Universe challenged my A.S.S.
One month later I got another temp job. Another month later I got another job after that contract ended the week I got told the storage unit I had paid for, for 2 years that stored my personal item, my books, writing, pictures and irreplaceables had burned down, just like that. Two days later my friend (who I still love) asked me to find somewhere else to live. Devastated! That was an understatement. Got my 24 hours of crying in, just about and proceeded to find somewhere to live and sort out a new job. The Universe didn’t have me down for long. The opportunity to house sit for my friend’s Dad arose, just like that whilst he was away and then rent a room in his home when he returned. Started a new job the day after I moved. I was aware that my friend’s Dad was returning soon so I was on a mission to get my own place. So pounding the pavement and scouring the internet continued.
I viewed a tonne of flats across London. I had put in an application for a new build flat as part of a scheme for working Londoners. The flat was great! Ready to move into, at the steal price of £635 per month. In London, for a one-bedroom flat, that is pretty much unheard of. A room in someone else's flat, maybe, but a whole, with a patio and parking, Nah! I jumped through hoops to complete the process, submitted all the requested items and even received a move-in date, gave notice at my friend's Dad’s place... at the 11th hour my application was declined as I wasn’t a permanent employee at my job. Crushed! Back to the drawing board. I ended up staying another 4 months at my friend’s Dad’s place, Covid-19 lockdown came around and then like most of the world, everything was upside down, started working remotely. I struggled as I was in lockdown, but I wasn’t in a place that was my home and like any other die-hard traveller, I was wondering what the fuck was gonna happen next!?!
I don’t know how, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, was patient and by the time I saw a random mouse run across the kitchen floor of that flat, I said I was done!! I asked the Universe and the sisters from the sister circle (that has been an absolute lifesaver during lockdown) for help. So said, so done! Two weeks later, I got offered a flat that I had applied for earlier in the year and totally forgot about it, just like that. Moved in July and have been here ever since.
When you’ve put all your energy into something, you come down from that “high” and you’re just on a downer until... I've been in the same job role now for almost 12 months (that’s how long I’ve been back, well longer, actually). I then went through a period of “so, is this it?”, feeling stuck, corona paranoia invading my life. Working from home, in a new flat, where I am now, literally starting from scratch literally. Travelling? Well, I have sort of. Let’s rename that “journeyed”. Fast forward through the crud of life. I’m grateful for my support network and good ol therapy. Post-travel depression is a thing. I’m definitely creating a housing co-op for working Londoners, especially women. There’s nothing more butt-kicking than being a grown-ass working woman, who can’t afford a place to live. Take it from me, it happens. Right now, I’ve got my head down and taking action on sharing my many stories.
Below is some useful information for those that may find themselves in need of housing outside of the ridiculously priced private rental market, in London:
Women's Pioneer Housing Association https://www.womenspioneer.co.uk/
They open their register once a year for self-referrals, in April for 2 weeks only. I know it's a way off, but keep it in mind. Housing is affordable (as in £635 per month for a no-frills studio - heating and hot water included, separate kitchen and bathroom - no sharing nothing with no one!).
London Living Rent (LLR - is a scheme backed by the Mayor where new build properties across London are rented below market value to working Londoners in an attempt to support them to purchase the same property within a fixed period of time. For example, a tenancy may run from 3 to a max of 10 years, within that time it is expected the tenant will have arranged a mortgage for the property that they have been renting). LLR and other rental schemes are available on the website below. It does have a lot of stuff regarding shared ownership. But sift through as there is rental stuff there too. https://www.networkhomes.org.uk/ https://www.sharetobuy.com/
Low-cost rental in shared houses, with a small number of single flats available. The Co-op is managed by its members, tenants.
I went to a meeting with this housing co-op a few months ago. A nice bunch of hippies who have acquired a dead-end road in New Cross with houses and a small block of flats, all maintained by the residents themselves. Rent in a shared house is £280 all bills included, that's also WiFi!
Here is a list of other Co-op's https://www.coophomes.coop/
There are many housing co-ops in London, but as they are self-managed their marketing is crap! Which makes them hard to find. Try trawling Twitter for a few others.
Property guardianship offers flexible tenancy in properties across London (and the UK). The properties are due to be demolished or are in areas that are due to be regenerated or are temporarily being managed by the guardian company. You live in the property (flat, studio, house, former shop, former library, etc.) for the allocated period of time. All tenants are given 28 days if the tenancy is to be ended and you'll be prioritised to be re-housed. You would have the property for a fixed period of time, which you would know upfront. Anything from a few months to a few years. Here are some guardianship organisations:
Google them. Troll them. They all have some kind of scheme. Check their websites. Find out who has an open register/self-referral and or a scheme for working Londoners.
If you need somewhere immediate and short-term, particularly between travelling, you could try the travellers favourite. Couchsurfer is a service that connects members to a global community of travellers. It’s free to stay at another traveller's home - couch, inflatable bed, or spare room.
Although in a city like London, staying in Hostels for more than a few days can be very costly, but if you’re between travelling and life, it may well be worth it.
Happy home/house/roof over one's head, hunting.
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