Amsterdam through British eyes

Why I decided to move back to Amsterdam


It’s been a little while since I last posted, and that’s because I made the decision to move halfway across the world to Sydney as part of my ‘F**k it, I’m 30’ campaign. Leaving Amsterdam wasn’t an easy choice to make, but the universe conspired to create a set of circumstances that led to me applying for a visa and booking a flight, because I had everything to gain, and nothing to lose.

Almost 2 years later after many highs and lows, I am selling my stuff, clearing out my beautiful apartment and getting ready to make the move back to Amsterdam to face the dreaded kijkavonds again (Lord help me), and jump into the unknown again.

Some days I have mini panic attacks that I am making the wrong decision – I don’t think I would be normal if I wasn’t having mild palpitations every time I say ‘I’m moving back to Amsterdam’ out loud, but sometimes we just have to take the risk and do it. What’s that saying – feel the fear and do it anyway? I’ll probably need increasingly larger glasses of wine to calm my nerves as the date approaches.

The biggest reason I decided to move was that I am not happy here. I missed my friends and family. On a recent trip to Amsterdam in May, I realised just how full my life is in Amsterdam. Full of people, full of love, full of happiness, and full of energy. I found it incredibly hard to make friends in Sydney, despite following my own tips for making friends. The first time I thought about it, I was on the phone to one of my drunk friends, who uttered the words ‘I might be drunk, but are you sure you’re happy there?’ I changed the subject and buried the welling tears into a huge smile (thank you for that video calls. It’s a lot easier to hide your emotions when your whole face isn’t on a screen) . It probably doesn’t help that my friends in Amsterdam are hands down some of my favourite people in the whole world, and when I was reunited with them in May I felt like I was really home. I had been so lonely and hadn’t been willing to admit it, because for the first time in my life, I felt like I had everything else together.

And Yes, Sydney has a lot of awesome stuff, but windmills, canal houses, tulips, cycling for so long your legs feel like jelly, messing about on boats, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt it ain’t. At least not to me. I miss getting up on crisp Autumn mornings, hopping on my bike and being able to make it to the other end of the city in 30 minutes (less if you cycle really fast), or sitting on a roof terrace on a sunny day and drinking a glass of wine, or drinking a mint tea in the middle of winter looking out onto a canal. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic, and I don’t care.

I think for me the biggest thing is to not focus on it as a personal failiure, but to reframe it into something positive (still working on it). Mum pointed out to me that I am way too self critical – I don’t think that will ever change. There were lots and lots of tears when I finally made the decision at 4am on a Saturday night after spending another weekend on my own, desperately trying to deny that I wasn’t feeling at home. At the end of the day, sometimes things just aren’t meant to be. See you in August Amsterdam



1 Comment


    Great reading Ashley! Looking forward to following your blog with interest and soooo hope you never feel this depth of loneliness again! “If you’re not happy, change something. If you’re still not happy, change it again!” Xx Karen x

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