GUEST POST: Relocating With No Back Up Plan

Hi I’m Siobhan from Siobhan Claude Van Damme. In December 2013 me and Mr Mac (my husband) relocated from London to Edinburgh. Most people assumed It was because one of us had a job up here but that was not the case, we just really wanted to live here so decided to make it work.

Siobhan Claude Van Damme: Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh

Relocating with no jobs to go to is not a fun prospect but we were prepared for things not working out immediately. If you want to do the same here are the things we learned:

Have savings

We had enough savings for a deposit up here when we moved but spent a lot of that on the costs of the move. Part of this was the physical costs of moving a two bed house worth of furniture from London to Edinburgh, part of it was having to pay six months rent up front to secure our flat. Having a financial cushion made things like that a lot easier to deal with.

Be flexible

I was willing at first to work anywhere commutable to Edinburgh as I had got used to commuting so travelled up for a lot of interviews. However after three months of solid job seeking I could not find a good match. That is when my employer offered me the chance to work for them for an extra three and a half months to complete a major project. It was excellent timing and I leapt at the chance to see the project through. Commuting from Edinburgh to London was challenging but the extra money went a long way to helping us feel more financially secure in our new home.

Be patient

Mr Mac took five months to find a permanent job here that matched his skill set. He temped for the first five months to keep him earning. I have been in a fixed term contract role that has now concluded and am about to start temping. Things will get better and more settled but we both know we need to ride the waves before that happens.

Siobhan Claude Van Damme: Packed Boxes for Move to Edinburgh

Get out there

Getting out and meeting people has been a vital part of feeling at home here. I already knew some fabulous Edinburgh ladies through Twitter but we also met people through friends of friends and so on. Basically for the first six months or so we said yes to every invitation and in doing so we slowly grew a group of friends who we have come to love and wish we’d known longer. I know we got lucky in some ways but we also worked at it and are continuing to do so. We are also working at visiting friends from before and keeping those bonds in place. It is hard work but it is so very worth it.


For us a large part of the move was to get away from a frenetic pace. It took a while to chill out and deprogramme but we have both finally started to do it and it feels great. Things are not perfect but they are a damn sight better than they were and that is enough for us right now.

Do the things you said you would

We said we’d go out more when we moved, that I would start exercising more, that I’d join pilates classes, that Mr Mac would play guitar more. We have made those things happen. We had to. If the move was meant to make our quality of life better and we did none of the things we knew would do that then it would be a bust.

Siobhan Claude Van Damme: Starting to Unpack Boxes in Edinburgh

You take yourself wherever you go

Don’t expect a new city to make all your problems go away. You take yourself with you wherever you go. In my case it meant I found the experience very stressful which had a bit of an impact on my health. That was always going to happen, because of who I am. I think being okay with being you helps the whole thing work better and I am a tonne happier with a lot of elements of my life now than I was.

Have you ever done a major relocation? Do you have any tips to add?

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