It's Australia Day this weekend. And some of the biggest gatherings of antipodeans will be happening right here in London. It's become a second home to many young Aussies. But why? What is it about this city that draws so many of us in when we so readily revel in tormenting the English cricket team? How can we declare our love, when we proudly declare that our lifestyle of balmy weather and beaches is to be envied by London Brits who covet grey skies and enduring winters?
In the short video below, the love Aussies have for the city is explored as one expat who is getting ready to depart, reflects on why she fell in love with London and why so many of her Australian friends feel the same. As you follow Rebecca's interview you'll see she really struggles with a definitive answer, and it shows that perhaps it's simply just a feeling that has so many of us hooked.
Understanding the lure of London
Travel is something that's entrenched in the Australian culture. There's a certain sense of snobbery passed if you haven't backpacked for an extended period of time or taken off and lived as an expat. For a nation so far away, we really need to make the effort to open our minds to the rest of the world.
Even our former prime minister John Howard spent two years in London, declaring that doing the 'London thing' is a rite of passage every young Aussie should undertake. In his time here he even fell in and out of love with a London local.
But it's not just London's access to travel or the following of some bizarre cultural rite of passage that we have created, no, our love for London is so very much more specific than that.
I spoke to some current Aussie expats and they helped me put together a list of 36 "little things" we Australians have come to love about living in London. Some may even have you scratching your head...
1. The constant flow of top international artists, bands and DJs that won't go to Australia
2. Just how cheap these gigs are
3. Cheap and awesome clothes *cough* Primark *cough*
4. Pop-up markets, pop-up bars, pop-up restaurants...
5. Array of food markets (Borough markets, Broadway markets, Columbia Road markets, Brick Lane markets, Brixton markets, Portobello Road markets...)
6. Stumbling upon history that dates back hundred of years, everywhere
7. Pubs older than our country
8. Dogs in pubs
9. Pub lunches
10. Cultural activités in abundance: galléries, muséums, musicals, exhibitions
11. The cheap prices these cultural activities
12. Liberal drinking laws
13. Off-licences and the abundance of them
14. Ability to buy groceries and alcohol in the same location
15. Low cost of takeaway and alcohol
16. Jerk chicken
18. Vomit on the street, everyday, without fail (I think this indicates level of nightlife)
19. Squirrels and foxes, casually running around
20. Boris Johnson
21. People are genuinely, really polite
22. In some industries, a more relaxed work-ethic
23. In other industries, you'll work with the best-of-the-best
24. Career opportunities can be bigger than your dreams
25. Expat lifestyle: The rejuvenation of the house party
26. Expat lifestyle: Everyone is like-minded, always up for doing something new and exciting
27. Expat lifestyle: Constantly meeting new people. Australia is quite cliquey
28. After-work social drinks. The drinking culture in London far exceeds Australia's, honestly
29. Bigger drinking culture but far less nightlife thuggery
31. Freedom to express your creativity. You can dress however you want with little judgement
32. Access to Europe
33. Truly multicultural, you have the opportunity to learn about so many different cultures without even leaving the city
34. East London.
35. Parks in hot weather. The vibe is amazing
36. Summer in London. Enough said.
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