Now that it's December I've started looking a little more seriously for a place to live in London. We won't sign a contract until we get there (doing that sight unseen is not a good idea), but I've been searching Rightmove.co.uk to find areas that are in our price range. My university classmate, Guy Dennis, has been wonderfully helpful, answering my questions about phone and internet services and suchlike, and he finds my property search very entertaining as he's lived in London most of his life and I've spent a couple months there with friends, once, and am doing this search from 6,000 miles away.
In order to afford London, we aren't going to live like we've lived here. No more four bedroom house with .2 acres of yard. No more having 2 cars. In fact, we won't have any. I've never bothered to try driving in Britain - except for the occasional tractor while I was in boarding school - and don't see any reason to start now. Mass transit will be more economical and safer, especially for other Britons who cross our path.
The nice thing about doing this in 2009 is that Rightmove can email me every day with new listings that match our criteria. Right now I've set a very broad filter just to get an idea of what neighborhoods have listings in our price range. I can also go to the London Transport website and type in the nearest tube, rail, tram, or bus stop to the property and figure out how long it would take Trevor to get from there to South Kensington.
My hope is that rents will drop as winter sets in, and so far that seems to be the case. In fact, as the listings keep appearing in my inbox, I am more and more hopeful that when we arrive we'll have several viewings set up and be able to sign a contract shortly. We won't be bringing over any furniture or housewares. It's cheaper to just rent a furnished place and buy the items we'll be using over the next three years. Our American home, meanwhile, is packed away in storage with the checking account set up to auto-pay the fees.
Three years is the longest I'll ever have been away from New Mexico in my life. Even when I went to school in the UK or LA or worked summers in DC, I went back once a year or so. For that matter, I only spent part of the first year after I was born living outside of New Mexico; my parents moved there before my first birthday. This'll be strange, which I prefer to dull anyday.