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If there’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate about moving abroad and making crazy choices, it’s that the people around you make all the difference.
If you have a good support network, even just one or two people who you can vent with, drink wine together and be completely honest with about the ridiculous mess that your life is in, it makes all the difference in the world. Because starting a new life from scratch is bloody scary, and doing it alone only makes it harder.
How not to approach life abroad – alone!
When I first came to Vienna (5 score years ago, in 2012) I had nothing.
No friends awaiting my arrival, no German, no job and no idea of what the f*ck I was going to do with myself in this strange land of Austria. I was so, so nervous the first time I attended an expat girls meet-up. I can still remember my sweaty palms and the nervous hour I spent getting just the right outfit ‘thrown on’ to look casually ‘cool’.
I thought everyone would be more successful, better at German, more interesting, more organised, more ‘together’ than I was.
Of course, I was very wrong.
They were better at German, but that didn’t matter. Those women were so friendly, chatty and open – we laughed over our struggles to survive in this gorgeous but confusing country.
That night, I practically skipped home from that Cafe, elated that I had met people going through the same messy, stressful, wonderful heartbreaking shit I was. Having a group of people I could connect with and knowing I wasn’t alone made all the difference.
Writing, blogging and making art can get messy and lonely too, and to stay motivated to persevere with living a creative life, having a support network matters. Particularly if you are forging a creative path in a foreign country.
In recent months I’ve been getting my creative inspiration from Wunder-mums like Erin, Holly and Tawni, who make raising kids seem do-able while keeping their creativity alive on their websites. Stunning photographers like Michelle and Lucila inspire me daily on Instagram to get out and explore Vienna, not to mention the local bloggers and writers I flat-out adore like Sandy, Becki, Betsy, Kathi & Romeo, Sabina, Aneta…I could go on for days!
Though it may seem like it’s all selfies and sunny beach pics over here, blogging, creating, writing and making videos is a fun-but-nerdy game. There’s only a certain kind of person that can put up with you explaining the intricacies of Instagram vs Snapchat filters endlessly (hint: that person is not your husband. Or your mum.)
You gotta know the right filter for the right shot like this!
For those conversations, for that creative connection and support, you need a group of people who get it. Who know exactly what it’s like to love, then hate, then be embarrassed by, then come back around to loving something you’ve created yourself. People who know that vulnerability and excitement that comes from putting something you made out in the world. People who have spent hours screaming at their laptop just trying to get the damn HTML to WORK GODDAMMIT!
But sometimes it’s hard to find those people. We’re all out there, being creative somewhere in the city, but maybe we’re hidden in cafe corners writing, or blogging in our adorable apartments or taking photos all over the city – solo.
I wanted a place to find and meet up with those amazing kind of people. To make friends without being a super-stalker creep. So we’ve created a place for Vienna’s creatives to connect.
Introducing the Vienna Collective.
Bringing together the creative folk of Vienna, the community is designed for you to connect, collaborate and support each other. It’s filled with the messy, busy, inspiring, wonderful kind of people who know the struggle to live creatively is real – but do it anyway.
We’re hanging out on Facebook together – sharing our art, our struggles and the fun side of life in Vienna. If you’re a writer, blogger, photographer or creator You’re welcome to join us here. There’ll be regular meet-ups, collaboration opportunities and who knows what else? It’ll be as awesome as we want to make it, together.
All I know is, having these kind of groups to connect with your kind of people matters. The people you surround yourself with always matter. And if you find your people – the ones who snort laugh over wine with you on Thursday nights in the depths of winter – then the rest of the mess of creative life and moving abroad becomes just that bit more manageable.
Are you a creative writer, photographer or blogger in Vienna? Join The Vienna Collective here!