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.

London Journal

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.

Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco

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 hoursβ€”I had to be at my desk at 5:30am and usually didn’t leave before 5pmβ€”and wanted to do something else.

London Bus Toy

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.

Chocolates

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.

Natural History Museum in London

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 and lecturing about blogging and social media.

Afternoon Tea in London

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.

Sacre Coeur in Paris

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!

48 comments on “Lady Turns Six”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story – a great inspiration for those starting out on the blogging journey and testament to what can be achieved with trust and determination.

  2. Happy Anniversary πŸ™‚ I am so glad it worked out for u and that you took the plunge! It’s so true, if you are not passionate about your job. It will be difficult to be passionate about life! Since so many hours are taken up in the workplace. I wish you only more success and travels. Well done. I think a spot of tea and cake is deserved.

  3. Happy anniversary! I love and relate somehow very much with some parts of your story – including the morning panic. I keep saying that when things are going smoothly too fast there are maybe not too much worth the effort πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read your posts for many years to come. Happy writing party!

  4. Happy six years! I’ve only found you this year so still have a lot to catch up on. It’s great that you get to do what you love every day. I started my blog for similar reasons, so my family and friends can see what I’m up to, who knows where I will be in six years as well, you give me hope! πŸ™‚

  5. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story, it certainly is an inspiration for people like myself fairly new in the blogging business looking to make the move from a hobby to a profitable business. Happy Anniversary!

  6. Congratulations! I loved reading your background story and you are an inspiration about how to make things happen by following your passion and taking a risk! Love following you on Twitter too!

  7. So glad to read stories like this that show just how much is possible when you put your mind and your full effort into it. Been loving your adventures, and here’s to many more!

  8. First of all, congratulations on six years! Your story is very interesting, and it’s so good to see your hard work paid off. Your blog is definitely one of my favorites – I hope you keep on doing this for many years!

  9. Congratulations! This was very inspiring to read and I hope one day to turn my passion of travel into a career as well. If only Uk visas were easier to obtain now… London is my favorite city in the entire world! Your blog is such a pleasure to read every week and you deserve every bit of success coming your way.

    Happy travels πŸ™‚

  10. Wow, sounds like you’ve had an amazing few years πŸ™‚ can’t wait to keep following your blog to hear more about your adventures! Lots of love! Keep in touch πŸ™‚
    Andrea xxx

  11. Congrats on your 6th Blog Anniversary! Its really inspiring to read how you took such a risk and have it pay off. It really is a most wonderful thing to be able to wake up in the morning and do the thing you are most passionate about – and you do it so well! Looking forward to the next 6 years!

  12. I managed to wrangle a UK work visa for 2 years, and I took the plunge to come over from Canada. Reading about the courage you had to start fresh in a different country makes me smile, because it is familiar to me. I can only hope that my tiny blog will one day have a fraction of your success!

    Congratulations, you deserve the success you have worked so hard to create for yourself.

  13. Wow, this is SO inspiring. I, too, left a career in finance to pursue something I love – events. I write a travel blog, but can’t seem to make it a business – it still remains as a wonderful (really fulfilling) hobby.
    Congratulations on that fantastic move and cheers to more successful years to come!

  14. Happy Six Year Anniversary! Loved reading about your adventures in becoming a monetarily successful blogger. Fascinating. Looking forward reading about your future travels.

  15. Your story is really inspiring. I’ve been trying to find work in London and would love to live between two cities. I love the pics you are posting and I hope I’ll move to London one day!

  16. Such an inspiring story! So nice to read an honest story of hard work paying off. I totally relate to writing being a creative outlet after years of sitting in front of spreadsheets!

  17. Going through a similar thing right now as you did when you came to London… Sometimes you just need to go for it. Either it works or it doesn’t but if don’t try you will never know and you will surely regret later in life that you did not chase after your dreams. I am happy for you and wish you all the best for the future β™₯

  18. your story is so inspiring; thanks for sharing! i’ll be graduating pharmacy school and starting a residency program this summer, and i have no plans to quit (yet), but have been flirting with the thought of starting a blog to document my adventures/keep myself looking forward to new ones– who knows, maybe someday it’ll become something πŸ™‚

    i am curious about how you were practically able to quit your job and move to london. i know london is not cheap! you probably had a good amount saved up (and being in finance i’m sure you knew how to manage your own well πŸ˜‰ ) but did you also look for small side jobs when you first got there? sorry, i don’t mean to ask anything too personal, but i have so many things i want to do and find myself limited by–surprise surprise–time and money. how did you go about living frugally in london before your blog had really picked up?

  19. Absolutely love your story! And it sounds a lot like me (but you’re correct when you say getting a visa is no longer that easy)! The beginning of your journey (International Relations degree + analyst work) is exactly where I’m at right now. I’ve also lived/worked in Brussels as well as London and a few other countries (and ALSO itching to get back).

    So motivational to read.

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