Early Rejser: A diverging road from Brexit – The Post

Early Rejser: A diverging road from Brexit

In it to bin it (photo: Michael Coghlan)
March 31st, 2019 6:01 am| by Adam Wells

After three years of calling Copenhagen ‘home’, I now have a tiny piece of it to call my own – or perhaps not exclusively my own, but shared with a brave partner and a braver bank.

Rats up a drainpipe
You can debate whether my partner is brave or simply foolish, but the bank is inarguably brave, entering as it is into a deal with Brits, a primitive island people known for their masochistic passion for economic self-harm.

With a little manoeuvring I might have delayed the reference for another line or two, but you can only postpone Brexit for so long. Much like the gloriously warm weather we enjoyed this winter, it’s impossible for me to talk about buying an apartment in Denmark without addressing the sinister forces behind it.

We left the UK just before the ‘titanic success’ that is Brexit set sail, so we weren’t exactly rats fleeing a sinking ship. We were rats that saw through the ‘unsinkable’ hype and disembarked at Queenstown, Ireland, the last stop before disaster.

All that’s passed since then has made the move look like a masterstroke, making the decision to commit to this city one even a fool would make (as indeed one of us may be).

In stark contrast
We recently found refuge in Ireland in a less metaphorical way when my partner received her Irish passport. Our perilous EU status, combined with more restrictive loan options introduced in 2018 and the fact we didn’t have a clue what we were doing, had been a source of concern, so this was a welcome relief.

In the end, we overcame the obstacles – those placed in our way by others and those we placed there ourselves – and arrived at a deal everyone was happy with.

This outcome stands in stark contrast to Brexit, which at the time of writing is still without one. This seems especially incredible when I think that even I, the least productive person I know, have achieved things since the referendum.

To name but most of them, I’ve moved country, found a job I love, learned a musical instrument, bought my first home, completed several ultra-marathons and built some great friendships.

Neverending marathon
In fairness, Brexit is the ultimate marathon, but they haven’t completed it and they certainly haven’t made any friends along the way. When I try to understand why getting Britain out of Europe has been such a shipwreck, when my voyage the other way has been such a success, a few possibilities occur to me.

Firstly, I must concede there was less resistance to my decision to leave Britain than to Britain’s decision to leave the EU: fewer communities divided, fewer petition signatories, and less debate at a parliamentary and social media level.

Secondly, the vagueness of my goal (‘start a new chapter in life’) makes it hard to identify failure. It’s easier to identify failure when a series of specific and incompatible goals are promised and pursued (e.g an end to free movement, a continuation of the economic benefits of EU membership, a withdrawal from the customs union and an avoidance of a hard Irish border).

The third, and likeliest, cause of our divergent fortunes is my superior negotiating skill, forged in the fires of DBA and buy/sell/swap Facebook groups.

Whatever the truth, it’s clear those primitive islanders could learn a lot from me – and especially my recent property purchase, which was not as a demonstration of said negotiating skill, but one of prioritisation. By tying myself to a more powerful partner I chose prosperity and togetherness over sovereignty. And that’s always the right call, fool or not.

Adam Wells


Adam is a nanny, a multi-sports fanatic and a budding ultra runner. He was faster off the mark than his fellow Brits, quitting England for Denmark moments before they voted to stay out of Europe. When he isn’t caring for kids, screaming at a screen or tearing up his feet, he writes unsettling poetry and prose.