Today is the six-year anniversary of the A Lady in London blog! It’s hard to believe that 2,190 days have gone by since I quit my hedge fund job, got a visa, and moved to London. But 6 years, 91 countries, and a lot of memorable experiences later, it’s time to celebrate.
I get emails all the time from readers asking how I went from working in finance in San Francisco to running a travel blog in London. Given the interest, I thought I would use this post as an opportunity to answer that question and tell a bit more of my story than most people know.
Originally from Silicon Valley, I graduated from Brown with a degree in International Relations. I had done summer internships at the U.S. Embassy in Paris and the U.S. Mission to the EU in Brussels thinking that I wanted to be a diplomat. But the government bureaucracy wasn’t my cup of tea, so I headed home to California to work in the private sector.
Specifically, Goldman Sachs (yes, I know, the evil empire). I spent two years working in asset management for them, then jumped over to a hedge fund to be a macroeconomic analyst. It all sounded very exciting on paper, but I wasn’t passionate about the work. A year after I took the hedge fund job, I was burned out from the long hours—I had to be at my desk at 5:30am and usually didn’t leave before 5pm—and wanted to do something else.
I was also getting restless in San Francisco. I loved the city and enjoyed living there, but I knew that if I didn’t leave I would spend the rest of my life there without seeing more of the world. Having spent the two summers in Paris and Brussels as well as two college semesters abroad in Nice and Prague, I was itching to get back to Europe.
At the time, it was easy for Americans to get visas to live and work in the UK (sadly that’s no longer the case!). I quit my job, applied for a visa, and headed to London. I had no job, no plan, and no problem with that.
I had developed a passion for writing at a young age, so when I found myself waiting for my visa to be approved, I decided to start a blog. I saw it as a refreshing creative outlet after years of sitting in front of spreadsheets, and a way to keep in touch with people back home once I moved overseas. I never imagined it would be anything more.
Two years later, the blog had attracted a following. I was working at a startup in London, but wasn’t particularly happy with it as a long-term career option. I had always wanted to run my own business, and around that time blogging was coming into its own as a profitable enterprise.
Once again, I found myself quitting a job to take a risk. This time it was to run the A Lady in London blog full-time. I was excited, but nervous. For the next few months, I woke up every morning in a state of panic. What if things didn’t work out? What if my business failed? What in the world was I doing?
But things did work out. The business didn’t fail. And soon I found that I was doing a lot of different things. I expanded the blog to include travel planning services for clients, I added social media and blogger outreach consulting for businesses, and in the past year I have begun teaching, lecturing, and offering webinars about blogging and social media.
At the same time, I started getting commissioned to write for publications like Lonely Planet and photograph restaurants for big blogs like Eater. A Lady in London got featured in leading media, and I was thrilled to see my hard work and passion paying off. I couldn’t wait to discover what was next.
And that’s the most exciting thing about my job. What started out as a hobby has turned into a career, and it is a dream come true to be doing what I love and making a living from it. I wake up every day excited to work, travel, and grow my business. Better still, my career keeps taking me in new and exciting directions.
When I celebrate the seventh anniversary of A Lady in London next year, I’m sure I will have even more new things to report. In the meantime, I hope to keep providing you with entertaining, useful, and exciting blog posts. Your support over the last six years means so much to me, and I am incredibly grateful for all of the fans, followers, and friends that I have connected with through the blog. Here’s to another six years and more!