As we prepare to leave the UK we’ve begun the tedious, time-consuming process of unplugging from our current lives – and let me tell you, it isn’t easy. You forget just how many bills and direct debits you have bleeding your bank account dry each month; how much useless clutter you have to get rid of and just how frustrating being put on hold can be.
How We’re Preparing for Leaving the UK
I had no idea how anchored into our current lives we’d become until we started the process of leaving. Giving up our flat and our jobs, along with most of our possessions has been a long, emotional and arduous journey. On top of that, it almost feels like everything’s conspiring to keep us here as each seemingly simple task spirals into some monumental battle.
Here’s what we’ve found out: there are cancellation clauses in everything. In short, if we want to break free from this life and head out onto the road, we’re going to have to pay a hefty cancellation fee and we’re talking payment in time, hassle and hard cash. Here’s what we’ve had to pay so far in cancellation fees:
- Cancelling our car insurance cost £52.50
- Cancelling our BT landline and internet cost £30
- Cancelling Andrew’s mobile contract cost £13
- Cancelling my mobile contract cost £115
It’s not just the cost that’s bothering me, it’s the hassle – nothing seems to go smoothly. Handing in notice on our flat, for instance, should have been an easy task. However, we found out that instead of putting our security deposit into a protection scheme, as required by law, our landlord had pocketed it instead. He then proceeded to tell us that the rental agency never gave him the cash – oh, and guess what? The agency has since gone bust and been taken over by another company. It was only after several days of stress, searching through contracts, checking our legal rights and making phone calls that our landlord finally admitted he was in the wrong and let us take the deposit off of our last few months rent. Crisis averted.
Next, we called Orange to try and cancel our phone contracts. If you don’t know how to cancel a phone contract – here’s the answer: don’t. Or at least don’t cancel it before the contract-end date unless you absolutely have to or you’ll end up having to pay the total sum of your remaining monthly payments in one go. Our situation was made worse by the fact that we received such poor customer service; in the space of one evening we were hung up on three times, given misinformation and put on hold for more than an hour. The company even breached my data protection by giving information about my account to Andrew, who for all they knew could have been a complete stranger. We lodged a complaint and were offered a paltry £35 each in compensation. Oh, and it actually works out cheaper for me to keep my phone contract running than it does to cancel – crazy, huh?
Suffice to say, I cannot wait to free myself from this web of modern ties; to be rid of all the contracts and monthly bills that keep us tethered in one place. What a relief it will be to reduce our lives down to the bare minimum, to strip back our possessions and just be us, on the road and in the moment.
I’m thankful, however, that we don’t have a mortgage, pets or dependants which would make leaving the UK even more difficult. This whole process has made me realise just why so many people stay locked into the cycle of working non-stop year after year and living in the same place – it’s physically (not to mention mentally) easier to stay than it is to go. It’s easier to keep on riding the wheel of normalcy than it is to bring everything screeching to a halt and clamber off into the unknown.
To me, what others view as security, a steady job and a mortgage for example, have come to signify one big ball and chain – a giant set of shackles that I’m unwilling to ever put on. For now, freedom beckons and in a matter of weeks we’ll be there to meet it with open arms.