Monday, September 25, 2006

London calling.

Yes, it's true what I wrote last week: I am leaving Toronto for London. I'm training it to Montreal on Saturday and then flying to England on Thursday, October 5.

My paternal grandmother was born in Ireland and, last year, I obtained my Irish citizenship. Then, this spring, I received my EU passport and the working privileges that come with it. Originally I got these documents just to annoy to Andrew Coyne, but the temptation to spend some time working overseas has been strong and I've decided to give into it.

Why now? Basically, my thought process is this: I'm 25 years old, unmarried, have three and a half years of newspaper experience under my belt and no mortgage. If I want to work abroad and see the world a bit, now's a good time to do so. It's scary to give up my great job at the National Post, sure, but it will be exciting to do the world travelling I never did in university, meet new people, and see plays that aren't directed by Morris Panych.

Why London? Well, the two things that I love most in the world are theatre and newspapers. London, arguably, is the world capital of both -- when it comes to the English language, anyway. Plus, well, it's LONDON.

And I do hope to use the city as a base to visit a whole host of other countries. One of my two goals for the next two years is to travel to at least eight. Suggestions welcome. (My other goal is to interview Tom Stoppard in person.)

My immediate plan -- and it is a sketchy plan, I must admit -- is this:
- Arrive in London on the 6th.
- Stay at a friend's mother's flat for four days.
- During that four days, find a more permanent place to stay.
- By December, find a job or a steady source of freelance income.

It should be an exciting experience and I'm really looking forward to figuring out things as I go along. I expect to stay a year or two, depending on how things go. If things go really well, of course, I may stay longer. If things go really badly, I'll be back for Christmas!

Now, fair blog readers and friends, if you have any tips or leads on journalism jobs, places to live, places not to live, people I should meet in London, please don't hesitate to send them my way. (My e-mail is jkelly -at - gmail.com, by the way.) I have no family and only a few acquaintances in London and will be thankful for any help.

I have much packing and preparation to do over the next week and a half, so blogging will be light. But I expect to keep up On The Fence in London, if only so my mom will know I'm still alive.

And if anyone in Toronto wants to stop by the Gem on Davenport on Friday night, I will be celebrating my departure from 9 o'clock on.

London, ho!

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