August 2, 2021
I work for a management consulting firm, and my team works on internal transformation projects…we’re essentially the in-house consultants for a consulting firm. It’s a global team, so there are quite a few options for transferring to other large offices. I’ve always wanted to live abroad and after the craziness/uncertainty of 2020, Andy and I decided to take advantage of an opportunity that will make it easier for us to spend as much time as possible traveling throughout Europe. My company has two big offices in London and I have several other team members here, so it’s been a really easy transition.
What is Andy doing?
Incredibly, Andy was able to transfer to his company’s only ex-U.S. project management team.
Did you bring your pets with you?
Yes, of course!!! We couldn’t imagine moving without our cat (Minerva) and dog (Lily). For some reason, most people (in both the U.S. and the UK) are under the impression that all pets coming from the U.S. have to quarantine for six months upon arrival in the UK. I really am not sure why this is still such a widespread belief, but a much more reasonable policy went into effect in 2012 that lifted quarantine regulations for pets that are microchipped and vaccinated against rabies.
That being said, it is still really complicated (and VERY expensive) to move pets to the UK — it was by far the most stressful element of our move. We worked with an international pet shipping company that helped handle all of the paperwork and logistics, which definitely helped with the overall process aside from some unavoidable issues with trying to get a Labrador retriever on a flight since there still weren’t a lot of airlines shipping large pets on transatlantic flights in August.
How did you find a place to live?
My company provided access to a relocation expert as part of my transfer package, which was invaluable. She found potential flats based on our list of needs/wants and sent us videos of properties she toured on our behalf. Between the impact of COVID and the stress of finding a place that accepts two pets, we ended up signing a lease on a furnished flat without ever seeing it in person…and it honestly ended up working out even better than we expected. We were able to go directly from London Heathrow to our flat (with keys waiting for us) and get settled in right away, and we couldn’t be happier with the unit.
Where do you live in London?
We live on the border of Battersea and Nine Elms, which is just across the Thames from Chelsea and right down the road from the U.S. Embassy, and we absolutely love it so far. Battersea Park is two blocks away from us, which is extremely convenient for Lily, and a brand-new, Zone 1 Tube station just opened down the street.
How did you move your stuff?
Our flat came furnished (with brand-new furniture!), so we only really needed to bring our clothes and personal belongings. We flew with eight bags and had planned to use an international mover for everything else. After doing a lot of research and getting nothing but outrageously expensive quotes from traditional moving companies, I ended up coming across a company called My Baggage that allowed us to self-pack our boxes and ship them via DHL for an extremely reasonable price. In addition to saving several thousand dollars, it only took a few days for our boxes to get door-to-door from Atlanta, which was SO much faster than we would have been able to get anything delivered with a traditional moving company.
What’s been the biggest change so far?
Honestly, it has been an extremely easy transition so far and we have enjoyed London perhaps even more than we expected. The most noticeable change for us has really just been how many words/phrases are different in British English, which is mainly only an issue at the grocery store (because it feels like about half of food/household products are called something slightly different in the UK).