10 Things British Expats Should Leave in the U.K.

None of these will work in the States. (Photo via Keetsa)

None of these will work in the States. (Photo via Keetsa)

You don’t have to pack everything you own when you move to the U.S. Nor should you import your more negative attitudes. Consider ditching or storing the following before you set off.

Books you will never read
Only pay to import the tomes you’re sure you’ll open one day, or anything that has sentimental value. It’s time to find a new home for your Tolstoy collection and that 20-volume set of 1960s Encyclopedia Britannicas you display to look clever. Shipping heavy books is a huge no-no unless you have relocation funds to burn.

Spare sets of all your important documents and keys
Annoyingly, you may find yourself catching up with admin on return trips to the U.K. Or, you’ll have nominated someone U.K.-based to deal with this stuff on your behalf. Either way, stash a set of the relevant papers with someone responsible. The same goes for a spare set of keys to any property you keep in the U.K.

People phobias
Unhelpful states of mind for expats include anything, like social anxiety, which prevents you from making new friends and coming across as affable and open. If you know you have issues around socializing, try to get help before you leave the U.K., and ask yourself honestly whether you can cope with the move.

Hairdryers
Your British model won’t work properly here because of the low voltage. So unless you like the idea of trying to evaporate water with something that pumps less hot air than a wheezy squirrel, buy yourself a new one when you land.

Your anti-American prejudice
Drop this while you’re still in the U.K. because, carried over, it’ll stop you making friends and having a nice time. Even if some of the stereotypes do turn out to be true, they won’t be true for everyone.

Cheap, heavy furniture
Think very carefully about what large items you want to pay to ship. How much do you really love that hulking Ikea chest of drawers and the dusty sofa you inherited from your dead great aunt? Storing them before you have a place to live could turn out to be a nightmare. Plus, you’ll have fun buying new stuff once you’re settled.

Your love of lamb and British-style bacon
These meat products probably won’t taste right in the U.S. even if you do find a vendor who sells them, so mourn them and move on. The few times I’ve managed to find supermarket lamb, or ordered it to takeaway, it’s been indelibly tough and gamey.

A forwarding address with your friends and family
Let everyone from your old life know where you’re setting up home so they can send you cards and parcels of British chocolate. These are much more comforting than an email someone’s bashed off in two minute.

Digital radios
America is dragging its heels in the audio-tech department. DAB radios don’t exist here so your British one won’t work. Sell it and buy an Internet radio.

Unhealthy relationships
Emigrating is a great excuse to slough off those friend you never liked that much anyway. Or ditch the significant other whose significance is waning.

What do you WISH you left in the U.K., expats?

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.

See more posts by Ruth Margolis