After visiting London as an eight year old, Brittany Rogers took memories of the fast paced city home with her to the Gold Coast, and promised herself that she would be back there.
She left school at the age of seventeen, and studied fashion at the Australian Institute of Creative Design. She completed work experience at fashion magazine Shop Til You Drop, and was offered an internship, which she didn’t take as she didn’t have the confidence to move to Sydney by herself.
Now studying Journalism at the University Of Wollongong, Brittany said she wishes she took the internship but admitted, “I probably wouldn’t have done very well back then because I wasn’t ready.”
After leaving the Australian Institute of Creative Design, Brittany began studying teaching. However her life long desire to return to London was consuming, so she made enquiries about living and working abroad.
During this time, the health of her Grandfather began to deteriorate, and Brittany left her mother and moved to Wollongong to help her Grandmother with his care.
Brittany’s family knew of her plans to travel and live in London. When her Grandfather was moved to a nursing home, they encouraged her to follow through with the dream she had since she was eight.
In March 2012, Brittany left for London.
“I had no idea how long I was going to be there. I might have been there for six months or two years. Mum hoped it would be six months, but she knew how much I wanted to do it, so she just said, do what you have to do.”
With the help of Britbound, a support service for those on working holidays, Brittany found work in a bar and quickly settled into the lifestyle.
Though the pay was minimal and the living expenses high, Brittany lived on canned soup, cheap vodka and the thrill of living on her own. “Over there I was independent, which I’d wanted for so long,” she said.
However, the carefree and independent attitude that Brittany had developed was shattered when she received some devastating news from home. Her Grandfather had died.
Brittany was distraught and for the first time, felt the devastating separation from her family. “Straight away, I wanted to come home. I wanted to go to the funeral,” she said.
She began to prepare to go home, yet a phone call from her Grandmother made her re-evaluate her plans. “Nanna said, I will yell at you, you are not coming home,” said Brittany.
“So I just decided to go travelling for a while because I wasn’t in a very good headspace. I was really close to him and so it was hard. He was more like a Dad to me.”
Brittany travelled around Europe for three months and returned to London refreshed and emotionally settled. She considered her journey across Europe as a way to say farewell her Grandfather. “He would have wanted me to stay and travel,” she said.
After living and working in London for eighteen months, Brittany returned home with a new found confidence. She said that she misses the lifestyle and atmosphere of London but added, “I had to go back to reality.”