Tuesday, November 15, 2022

London | Part I


 October 12-19, 2022

London was the #1 place on my travel list for years. As an Anglophile from a young age, I was obsessed with all things British, which carried over into a desire to see the birthplace of all my favorites in person. I even studied abroad in Europe in college for a semester, but the closest I ever got to London was flying through Heathrow. A few years ago, a friend and I chatted about making the trip together, as neither of us had ever been, but the pandemic shut down those conversations. And so it remained on my travel list, always a "one day."

Then this past April, that same friend texted me about a flight deal from New York to London and said, "Should we just book it?!" And suddenly, dreams became reality. We quickly nailed down flights, a few weeks later put down a deposit on a flat in Chelsea, then began mapping out sightseeing ideas and reservation details on a shared google sheet. During the months leading up to the trip I was both ecstatic and a little worried -- what if I'd built up this idea of London in my head that didn't match reality? What if I had hyped it up so much that I was left disappointed?

I needn't have worried.

Over the course of the week we spent there, I fell more and more in love with London. I have never felt so instantly at home and comfortable in a new place before, and I could easily see myself moving there in the future. And though I would have loved to visit earlier in life, in many ways I'm glad I didn't make it until now. If I'd visited earlier it would have either been (1) part of a family trip, (2) a quick, chaotic weekend while studying abroad, or (3) a thrifty trip in my early 20s. None of those would have been bad, but there was something really special about being able to go as an adult with things planned out way ahead of time. We knew what we wanted to do/see/eat and had time to save up a good chunk of money, and the week was spent doing all the things we were excited about without having to worry about lines or tickets or overspending.

Part 2 here

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