Cost-of-Living Adaptation: Lauren Johnson, writer

The financial strain of the UK’s cost-of-living crisis encouraged Lauren to go in search of a new life 3,000 miles away from her home 

Cost-of-Living Adaptation: Lauren Johnson, writer

I always knew I wanted to be a journalist working in the heart of a big city. After graduating from the University of Florida in 2021, I moved in with my parents in a small village called Diss while I made preparations to move to London to turn my dream into a reality. 


This dream quickly became just that: a dream. Due to the combination of a competitive industry for entry level applicants, my niche skill set and the cost-of-living crisis, I was forced to reconsider my priorities. I could get a job in London and live on the outskirts of the city as many people do, or I could live more centrally and move in with multiple roommates. Alternatively, I could move to a smaller city, but that just didn’t provide the option for substantial career progression, which is something that has always been important to me. 

As I considered my options I decided, like many people in my generation, that I didn’t want to make any sacrifices: I wanted to have it all. And I realised I could actually live the life of my dreams – I just couldn’t do that in the UK.

In July, I packed up my life and moved to  the heart of downtown Toronto. I started looking for a job in Canada in January but had little luck finding anything. In February, I settled into a new remote job in England, and I worked there until June. I tried to make life in the UK work, but something seemed like it was missing. The cost-of-living crisis added so much financial stress and strain that I couldn’t truly enjoy my life or my job in the way I wanted to. So, I decided to take a risk and moved to Toronto with no job, just the money I had saved up and hoped that I would end up where I was meant to be. After a month of job searching, I was lucky enough to find a position as a journalist for an international B2B media organisation. 


The cost of living in Toronto is certainly expensive in a lot of areas. However, the cost of living downtown in comparison to a Canadian base salary set me back a lot less than it would have done in London. Additionally, the cost of energy is less than extortionate, which meant I could afford to continually heat my apartment, which is a sacrifice we so often had to make when I was living with my family in England.

The cost-of-living crisis in the UK propelled me into a completely different life and with this came not only cultural adjustments, but changes to my creative practices as well. Suddenly, I was writing for a completely different audience with a different tone and a different writing style – even different grammar. I was writing for an industry I wasn’t particularly familiar with, as I could never find the opportunity to delve into it in the UK.While I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to escape the cost-of-living crisis, I was somewhat stunted creatively at first as I tried to settle into my new life. 


I was faced with challenges in both my personal and professional life that left me feeling held back, but ultimately I knew that I had to persevere, as I wouldn’t be able to move back to the UK and live the same quality of life that I am currently enjoying. I found inspiration in the beauty that is creating a brand new life from scratch, and I worked this into a side hobby of documenting my move via TikToks – something I had never had the courage to do before.

As a result of the cost-of living-crisis, I had to take a long, hard look at my priorities and how I wanted my life to look like. Did I really want to be struggling to make ends meet paying extortionate prices for my basic needs? No. But it was this reality check that gave me the courage to uproot my life and go in search of the life and the career I always dreamed of. I had to change my lifestyle, my writing and even added an additional social media platform to my skill set, as I took a new approach to dealing with the cost-of-living crisis: avoiding it entirely. 


Lauren Johnson

Lauren Johnson Kickstart

Lauren is a Trainee Journalist at Voice Magazine and recent University of Florida graduate where she studied journalism and French. She is passionate about immigration issues, mental health and politics, and prior to working at Voice, covered these beats at Fresh Take Florida and WUFT News. Lauren is an avid reader who loves to travel and learn more about the world.

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