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Why I can’t say goodbye to London

This post originally appeared on Laugh Lots, Travel Often.

I came for a year and stayed for…well, I’m still here actually. It’s been four good years and London and I are still going strong. There’s so much I love about the city, but mainly, I love my life here. Sure, I miss my family and friends back home. And the weather. And the seafood. And the seasonal fruit.

But in the end, every year when I think about whether it’s time to head home, I think about all the reasons for not going home just yet. So why do I stay?

1. I can pretend I’m still a kid

No car, no mortgage, no furniture, no obligations. Plus I still get ID checked when I’m at the supermarket buying booze. Sure, it worries the heck out of my mother who can practically hear my baby making abilities evaporating, but only having to look after myself and the boyfriend without a care in the world for adult type decisions? It’s a pretty sweet deal.

2. I can eat a five star meal for 50% off any night of the week

TopTable. Need I say more? Meal deals galore at top notch dining establishments. And for three minutes work, you can even earn points towards a free meal just for booking and reviewing. Sorted.

3. I get to complain if I have to wait more than three minutes for the tube

Sometimes, I have to wait a minute if I miss the tube before the next one comes along. One whole minute! For all that we Londoners complain about the state and cost of public transport, it still kicks some major butt.

4. I constantly get to make new friends

When you come and live in a place that you didn’t grow up in and you don’t have many friends to fall back on, you notice a strange thing happening to you. You start to talk to strangers, at almost any given opportunity. And you remember what it was like, when you relied on the acceptance of strangers when you arrived, and you continue to extend that welcome to others long after you have been living in London. Every year people come and go, but you get to make great friendships all along the way.

5. Travel is cheap and quick

There really is no excuse not to see Europe and beyond from London. Flights that are cheap as chips and constantly going on sale, journey times to different countries of only an hour or so…what further encouragement do you need?

6. And finally, people take fancy dress seriously

If I don’t see a Papa Smurf, Batman and fluorescent loving 80s style aerobics instructors walking down my high street on a weekend, I start to worry that a riot warning has been issued and I’m supposed to be indoors. How can you not love a city where make believe is actively encouraged?