“Winter leaves still make me believe; no vendettas, just a cherry blossom tree” – Nicky Wire.
I first visited Poland in March 2005 as a shy and daunted 24 year old watching my country, Northern Ireland play against Poland in a World Cup qualifier. At the time I had been living in England for around 2 years, having found it relatively easy to relocate there from Northern Ireland. Poland was an eye-opener to a bigger world for me. In 2007, it was China that changed my mindset even further. 2009, I again relocated, this time to Australia. Life was one endless journey, a big story. I cracked every continent as a backpacker by the age of 30 and fell in love with a Hong Kongese girl. Australia went stale so I tried to find a way to move to Hong Kong or China. By fluke, I got a job in the Irish Pub in Hong Kong just 2 days into my visit to the country! Relocating was made easier by a working holiday visa.
But now, as you know I live in Poland here. I am a tourist, a foreigner, an alien and an immigrant here. However, I am not an ex-pat, expatriate or ex-patriot and I loathe such terms. Yes, I joined groups and did interviews for those sites but realistically I am just an immigrant needing to legalise my stay in pretty Poland. And I will do it. However it hasn’t been an easy transition for me. Paperwork and legalities needed a steady income and a shift in lifestyle too – no more travelling, paying tax and becoming legal and all that comes with becoming a resident in a new country, again. Even though, I feel like a tourist everyday, realistically, I’m a liver or a resident here now rather than a tourist.
You see, before I moved to Poland, I worked for myself for at least 3 years without a single company contracting me, I was a successful professional travel blogger and I know it. I was getting sponsored posts, copywriting jobs, editing jobs, free apps, free samples, sponsored tours, meals, everything. A lot of this I wrote about recently on the Don’t Stop Living website. But I had struggles on the road as a long term backpacker and nomad, the time when I had to sell my laptop, and almost quit being a travel blogger. I sold my laptop with Cash in Your Gadgets and tried to move on, starting afresh. It was depression that had kicked in, as well as some technology failures. The last few weeks have involved plenty of Brexit issues and the media in Poland and the United Queendom have focused on it. Here on the ground, I must now focus on making legal and permanent my stay in Poland as it seems, finally, I belong here.
I will surely update about this situation soon as it is a stressful time for many Polish people in Northern Ireland (or UK) and indeed Northern Irish (or UK) people living in Poland.
“and until you’ve repaid the dreams you bought with your lies, you’ll be cast away, alone under stormy skies” – Noel Gallagher.