“Before Marie Kondo sparked joy on Netflix, I was already minimizing my stuff, selling them off, giving to charity, or just ridding myself of my belongings. I had this idea in my head that the less stuff I had the easier it would be for me to go anywhere. And I’ve wanted to live overseas since I was about 17. I didn’t want to stay in Glasgow, Scotland, all my life. But I just didn’t do anything about it. I probably could have, but was generally too lazy to physically do anything. So I was really gutted and even cried when I found out in my early 30s that I could have gotten a working holiday visa, since I’m from the U.K. I was upset because the chance to live abroad was handed to me and I just didn’t take it because I didn’t put the effort into researching it. I had no idea it existed and they don’t teach you these things at uni.”
“Although I regret not leaving my comfort zone sooner, I’m kind of glad I moved to Japan a bit later. There’s a difference between coming to Japan in your early 20s and mid 30s. I feel like living overseas at a younger age has really affected their sense of belonging and level of jadedness, especially from the people I meet here. Not being Japanese means something else here. A lot of us understand and accept that. Add that to the fact that you’re not around people from your home country and your family. It does something to your brain. Of course it depends on the person and whether he or she gets along with others or not. But when you leave home at a younger age, it does make you stronger and make you learn about yourself quicker, but also forces you to kind of grow up and life gets on top of you a bit quicker. There’s a sort of heaviness that comes with it as well. From my experience, if you come here in your mid 30s, you’ve kind of figured your stuff out. You’ve kind of settled in those relationships and you’ve got a lot of good friends that are moving on and doing their own thing. It gives you the strength to move on. I’ve got a lot of friends who got married and had kids and moved out to the suburbs. I didn’t have any of those things so what’s the next step for me? The next step for me was actually to go overseas and find my own path rather than being at home.
“Right now I’m working on my own side-business. After leaving my previous job, I had this period of 3-4 months where I was at a complete loss on what to do next. I had a moment where I was like, ‘How do people get to work and do things that they like to do?’ ‘How do people work in the things they love? How do people do it?’ So I started thinking about what I could do to help myself, not necessarily as a business but as a creative output. I don’t think myself as creative but I love art and love being around artists. I also love going to art events and galleries. So I created, with the help of my friends family, a business selling Japanese stationery in a subscription box oversees and I work with Japanese based artists and designers to create one-off stationery pieces and then I theme a box around them and I ship that abroad. I started off with a handful of subscribers, I have nearly 100 now. I sell the box like every 3 months. It’s probably why it’s a side-business for now, because it’s not enough for me to quit my main job.”