Gen Z couple left the U.S. and relocated to a houseboat in London: 'We feel like we're living in a children's picture book' (2024)

Maisy Dewey was raised in the New Jersey suburbs but traveled back and forth to the United Kingdom her whole life. Her dad was born and raised in London, and the 25-year-old benefits from being a dual citizen of the U.S. and the UK.

Dewey and her fiancé, Harrison Kent,25, met in college and lived abroad together. While attending the Savannah College of Art and Design, the two lived in Hong Kong, and Dewey went on to study in France on her own.

After graduation, the couple moved to Philadelphia to be closer to family. Dewey was offered her "dream job" as a junior graphic designer at Anthropologie's headquarters while Kent got a job working in a furniture showroom.

Dewey and Kent lived in a townhouse with a third roommate and paid $966 each in rent. Other monthly expenses included $80 a month for Wi-Fi.

Before relocating to London, the couple lived in a townhouse in Philadelphia that they shared with a roommate.

Maisy Dewey

In 2022, after two years in Philadelphia, the couple started to think about a life in the UK.

"It was one of those things that we knew if we don't do it now, we were never going to do it," Dewey tells CNBC Make It. "It's such a privilege to have multiple passports and I didn't want my 20s to be over and never have actually lived in the UK full time."

Kent began researching schools to get his Master's in furniture design and in November 2022, he was accepted to the Kingston University Masters of Product & Furniture Design in London. Preparations for the couple's transatlantic move began soon after.

Over the course of a year, Dewey and Kent held several yard sales to get rid of some of their belongings. After that, the couple and their dog, a 2-year-old Dalmatian named Kipper, were ready to go. The only thing was, they didn't have a place to live in London just yet.

Dewey and Kent moved in August 2023 with three checked bags, two carry-ons, two personal items, and Kipper. They leased a short-term rental because it was difficult for them to find a more permanent living arrangement in London while still in America.

"I feel like I had this idea that we would feel settled after the first month and that just did not happen," Dewey says. "When you uproot everything you have and show up in a new place, you don't really think about the fact that you won't have basic things. It felt weird to try and settle in while not having a lot of stuff."

Soon after their arrival in London, Dewey landed a job in design, and Kent started a job in a furniture showroom and got to work on his Master's degree.

After several months of searching for a place to live, the couple thought they'd found their perfect home, but when they reached out the listing had already been taken. The broker offered to take them to see a much different property — a moored houseboat.

Dewey says living on the houseboat has made her even more of a homebody.

Maisy Dewey

The 65-ft widebeam boat has a living room, two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a kitchen. According to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It, the couple signed a two-year lease in November 2023 at a rate of roughly $2,236 per month. Their upfront costs included a security deposit of just over $2,500.

"We feel like we're living in a children's picture book," Dewey says. "It adds such a fun element to life. I'm already such a huge homebody, and I feel like living on the boat has really done me in."

Dewey admits that it took the couple about four months to adjust to living abroad and they do miss some aspects of life in America. For Kent, it's certain junk foods and being able to go to a grocery store at all hours of the day. Dewey says she misses her friends and family the most.

Maisy Dewey, Harrison Kent and Kipper on their houseboat in London.

Maisy Dewey

Dewey and Kent say they spend more living in London. For example, they rely solely on public transit now, which means spending upwards of £200 or US $253 a month combined.

"Living in a much bigger and generally more expensive city, we have become more conscious about our spending habits, so we do save more when we can," Dewey says. "It is 100% worth it for us! London is an incredible place to live. Me, Harry and Kipper are so happy being able to explore the city together."

Dewey and Kent are not planning to return to the U.S. anytime soon but plan to visit their families this year. "We're mainly going back to see the people that are there, not because we feel like we want to go home," Dewey says.

"If everyone could come over here, we might never go back."

Dewey says she loves to explore London Kent and their dog, Kipper.

Maisy Dewey

Dewey has been sharing her life on TikTok for years and has been doing so more and more as she documents the couple's life abroad.

"I hope that people who watch my videos, get a realistic view about what it's like to move abroad, and specifically live in London," Dewey says. "It's great to be able to share the reality and tips with people who are either currently going through a big international move or hope to make one in the future."

"It's very natural to me at this point to share what I have going on and I have been surprised how many people find it both entertaining and helpful for their own life," she adds.

Conversions from the Great British pound to USD were done using the OANDA conversion rate of 1 British pound to 1.27 USD on July 3, 2024. All amounts are rounded to the nearest dollar.

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Gen Z couple left the U.S. and relocated to a houseboat in London: 'We feel like we're living in a children's picture book' (2024)
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