One of the upsides to being a freelancer is that you are not tied down to a particular location: in theory, I can work from anywhere with an Internet connection and a time zone that's compatible with Germany. And so this summer, after nearly six years in Southampton, where I have been living for the whole of my freelancing career so far, I decided it was time for a change of scene. I opted for the glitz and glamour of a capital city – namely Cardiff.
OK, so perhaps not as glitzy and glamorous as Berlin or London, and actually only slightly bigger than Southampton, but I have always liked the Welsh capital, which I visited frequently when my sister was a student here. As a regional centre and the seat of the Welsh Assembly, it punches well above its weight for a city of its size in terms of things going on (especially, it would seem, if you like rugby) and has always struck me as both a pleasant and a fun city to live in. And as an added bonus, I'm a huge fan of both Doctor Who and the Manic Street Preachers.
Of course, as a freelancer who works from home, the move makes very little direct difference to my professional life. Whether in Southampton or Cardiff, I still work from my home office, and receive and deliver my work over the Internet. The only potential hiccup was getting my Internet connection transferred – which could have posed a serious problem, since I am entirely reliant on it for my work (not to mention for my social life and leisure activities!). So I have to say I was very relieved at how easy it proved to be: my provider (TalkTalk) allowed me to book an activation date in advance; I booked 2 September (the first working day after my move), and the Internet in fact went live a day early. There was no need for my emergency Dongle, and no interruption in my availability for my clients (or, for that matter, in my access to Netflix).
The main difference the move does make professionally is my proximity to professional networks. In Southampton, I was involved in ITI Wessex, a friendly local translation association (affiliated to the national Institute of Translation & Interpreting) which ran networking and CPD events, and one of many things I shall miss from Southampton. But fortunately, there is a similar group for Wales, ITI Cymru Wales, which runs a busy schedule of events – and, as an added bonus, mostly within walking distance in the heart of Cardiff. I've already met some friendly faces at one of their social events, and am impressed by some of the professional events on offer too, such as regular co-working sessions (though since I don't have a laptop, it probably wouldn't be practical to drag my desktop PC along to one of those! Perhaps that will have to be a future investment.). Furthermore, to judge from the Cardiff Translators Facebook group with nearly 100 members, it looks like Cardiff has a large and thriving translator community. I look forward to getting more involved in it in the coming months and years!