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Navigating Loneliness and Unfamiliarity in the Buzz of London and Overcoming It

“Closing yourself doesn’t help in such situations. It took a lot of effort to get out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad I did it. I consider myself an introvert, but you do find like-minded people in group events. You just have to push yourself, get out of your room, and be part of these meetings.”

Hello! Who are you?

Hello there, my name is Tim Lee. I would describe myself as a fun-loving person who loves to travel and all things coffee. Although I am from Dover, DE, I am trying to I am trying to live a nomadic life. One of the reasons I wanted to run my business remotely was to be able to travel without being tied to a physical location.

My love for coffee made me leave my 9-to-5 job to have a small coffee-related business. Because I am trying to live a nomadic life, I have yet to tie myself into a relationship.

I also don’t have any pets for the very same reason. Considering how things are going in my life right now, I would describe myself as a happy person.

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

I don’t know exactly have a name for this struggle, but I assume some form of situational depression. It all started when I moved to London, hoping for a change of scenery in a post-pandemic world. I wanted to improve my business skills by taking a short business course while also scratching my itch to travel.

I have traveled for a month or two before, so moving to London for 6 months didn’t seem like a big deal. But there’s a difference between traveling somewhere for 1-2 months and living in an unknown place for longer.

A lot of factors contributed to this depression. I saved up some money for this trip, but it didn’t seem enough to cover everything. It’s no secret that London is expensive, but the Russia-Ukraine war made things even worse. There is a housing crisis going on, so renting a room is also tough. 

My classes also had a weird schedule. When I was done with classes, it was already 5 pm, which meant it was already too dark outside to enjoy nature. My friends back in the US also got busy with their office. I didn’t know anyone in London, so it felt like my world was getting smaller.

Even though I was surrounded by people, I barely had one meaningful conversation for days. Whenever I wasn’t busy doing stuff, this thought of me being lonely would start creeping in. 

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

Sometimes, I wondered if all my life was just summed up to a big zero with no friends or achievements. I had friends, but they weren’t there to give me the support I needed. On weekends, we tried to catch up, but that felt forced. 

I am pretty transparent as a person, and all my classmates knew me as a cheerful person. So when I wasn’t really smiling as much as I used to, people did start asking me questions. But I didn’t really connect to anyone by then, so I just assured them it’s nothing.  

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

I was forced to join a board game session at my university by my classmates. Although they had to drag me there, I was surprised to see how I ended up having a fun time meeting new people.

That’s when I wondered if I was being my own worst enemy by keeping myself locked in my room. I wasn’t really enjoying London life even though I was there physically. The rainy, cold, and wet weather was also not helping.

From then, I took things into my own hands and started looking for similar group activities. After my classes were over for the day, I used to go through apps like Meetup and Couchsurfing.

Any group activity that seemed like my cup of tea, I forced myself to be there. I made an effort to try and talk to people, to have meaningful conversations. I would say 100% of this was a result of my actions.

After a month, I made friends in my class and from those group events. We made our own group and would meet outside our usual events. At one point, I had too many things to do and very little time to be everywhere. This is probably the moment when things turned around. 

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

Closing yourself doesn’t help in such situations. It took a lot of effort to get out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad I did it. I consider myself an introvert, but you do find like-minded people in group events. You just have to push yourself, get out of your room, and be part of these meetings.   

What really helped me was acknowledging my issue. Initially, I thought it was just because I moved to a new place. Then I wondered if it was vitamin D deficiency, which also wasn’t the case. I started to go for a walk and explore all the new roads and places near me, which somewhat helped. 

I was pushed into doing a group activity, which also helped. This is when I started realizing how I was not really having proper interaction with people near me. Everyone is wired in different ways so try to do what you feel like doing. The key here is to not give up and stay locked up in your room.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

I have shared it with just one person, a friend of mine I made in London. I didn’t feel like worrying my friends and family about these struggles. Initially, I didn’t think they would be able to help me. Later, I thought things were already improving, so there is no point in sharing it now.

One of the reasons I didn’t feel like sharing my struggles was because I wanted to keep things light. The moment you share it with people around you, you start wondering why they are doing what they are doing. Nothing they do or say after that sounds genuine. At least, that’s how I think.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

Find at least one person you can open up to. Sometimes, we think we know everything, but we don’t. We try to be our own therapists or counselors, but that is a recipe for disaster.

By sharing it with someone else, you get to hear a somewhat unbiased view. You might end up finding more ways to solve your problems than you think.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

You can learn more about me on my website. You’ll get a glimpse into how I turned my love for coffee into a business there.

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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