” A journey of a thousand Li begins with a single step.” — Confucius
Traveling to London is a dream come true for me. I never expected that such opportunity will present itself when I least expected it. It is known that London is a historical place, nonetheless, it holds an ambiance that is foreign yet, at some point, familiar. Arranging the travel to London is not that easy for someone who just barely arrived in Great Britain. I had my own worries as well. What if I will not make it on time to the train station? What if I will not be able to connect to mobile data and will not be able to use my mobile ticket? What if I will not be able to control my spending and will lack the financial capacity to survive for 6 Days 5 Nights? What if I will get lost on my way there?
These questions bugged me days before my travel but, that never stopped me to plan for my much needed break. Mental health is one of the reasons why I opted to travel to heal, and this is first step in mitigating self destructive thoughts. Living in a foreign country is, and never will be easy. It takes more than grit and grace to survive on a daily basis. Think about living out of you comfort zone and battling it out without having to lose your identity as a person. This is not even existential crisis, but a true battle of survival of the fittest. Anyway, travel to heal has been my way of breaking from the vicious cycle of work, work, work and no “Me Time” at all. I realized that as I get older, it is never worth to grind more than you need and losing your very self in the process just because, you felt the need to be grateful to the hand that feed you. Dude, you should never, I repeat, never feel guilty for living the life that you wanted.
So, as I prepared my things for this particular journey, I made a mental list of places to visit in London:
> Tower Bridge and the Crown Jewels
> London Eye
> River Thames
> Westminster Abbey
> Buckingham Palace
> Windsor Castle
> National Art Gallery
When I arrived at King’s Cross St. Pancras from Cambridge, it downed to me that I wasn’t prepared for the visual sights and sounds I will experience. It was such a blast to the senses that I was mesmerized even with the architectural design of the train station. It was like being whisked back in time. King’s Cross is also a significant place for Harry Potter fans as this where the famous platform can be found. 🙂
As agreed, Ate Gina, the bestfriend of my first cousin, Ate Rhosyl, met me in the train stration. After that, she treated me to a cup of good coffee from COSTA before going home. I was in awe of the street’s sights and sounds, the chaos of people around, as well as the amount of cars and buses on the awesome buildings we passed by. St. Pancras Internatonal was just by the road. It was so beautiful I can’t help but take some photo by it.
I settled at Ate Gina’s flat, in Holloway. It is actually a good place to spend since it is near the city. It is situated near churches, pubs, and other places of interest. Also, other areas are just within reach from her home. The flat is well appointed and had a lot of books, something that I am very happy with. The flat was on the second floor, and on the ground, a convenience store is open till the late hours of the evening. It was a quiet neighborhood, and I actually realized that the living conditions in London are quiet cramped and the houses/flats are so expensive, around 3x more expensive that in Bury St. Edmunds where I live. Yes, the salaries you get when working in London is quiet high, but the cost of living is high as well. However, London itself is a bustling capital, where you find people from all races and all walks of life. It is a place where dreams are being turned into reality, and a haven for tourists.
As someone who is new to London, it gave me that renewed feeling of being adventurous as I tread its paths, gardens, alleys, underground train stations, ramps and even streets. It was a feast for the senses. London also made me experience how to race against time, and to be patient on catching the next tube. IF you are a traveler that is not used to having to fight with space for the underground train, then London is not he place for you. Patience is a virtue you need to have in London as it will really test you.
Here are the list of places I visited when I was in London. It was a short sojourn, but full of experiences. I had seen London with fresh eyes, without prejudice. So much history is in its core. London maybe a bit chaotic specially during the Yuletide Season, but it was something that added to its charm. My list is not exhaustive, as I was only able to visit the areas that are near Ate Gina’s home. I vow to take another trip to London and finish what I have started. 🙂
Victoria and Albert Museum
As an afterthought, London will either make or break you. It depends on how you will rise up to the challenges for you to be able to see its beauty behind the chaos and air of unfamiliar ground. Going to London gave me a glimpse of living in Europe and what it can offer, if I will just seek for it.