By Sophie Leigh-Jones, Luxury Simplified Renovations
My name is Sophie. Life for me has been a series of recent events. I recently left University, recently started my own company, recently moved from the UK to South Carolina USA and recently bought my first vacation rental investment property in the French Quarter of Charleston SC. While this lifestyle template of "starting a new business while new to a country" may not fit everyone, it's given me a new confidence and a firm foundation.
Change has been something that I have grown up with. My father sought change and never sat still. I have traveled all over the world but the south coast of England has always been my home. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the local pub on a Friday night and a great group of friends, I had always considered myself to be quite the home girl. Home in England was home and, always reliably there.
I started to panic on leaving University about the "next step." Since I was two years old there had always been, ‘the next step’. Nursery school, primary school, secondary school, sixth form, university, and then ultimately the dreaded graduate job. I had seen my friends stress-out daily filling out application forms, knowing that the chance of success was around 1/200 with a lowly corporate position awarded at the end of it. It wanted to choose my own destiny and a graduate job was not the way for me.
Moving from house-to-house had always been part of life. Growing up, every new move came with a new load of work. A derelict barn was the worst of these; doves everywhere, rats everywhere, the smell was atrocious. As a six year old girl I struggled to understand why my parents would want to move to live like this. The idea of ‘renovating it’ must have slipped their mind. Nevertheless, one year later, the house was ready to move into, a stunning barn conversion that far outshined our previous home.
So when my father started Luxury Simplified in the US, and offered me a chance to work with him in real estate and construction, I thought, "Why not?" The only glitch I suppose, was that Charleston, SC is 5000 miles away from home. I had visited Charleston numerous times and loved it, but moving my whole life there "over the pond" was a little daunting. A different home, different climate and a different culture were just a few of the things I would have to grapple with; but change was after all, what I was used to, so I said "Yes."
After a lot of work, a successful immigration interview and an entire year later, I finally arrived. It’s been ten weeks so far and I am starting to find my feet, less reliance on the GPS and the first friendships being made, the daunting feel is starting to dilute. Real estate exams have been passed at CTAR, and first rental property under my belt - next steps now are to start learning about construction. For now it looks like Charleston has happily become my home.
Thought - I will never lose my English roots, but for now, it looks like this home girl is finding a new home stateside …