I used to think of London as my solitude. The one place in the world that was mine, that I made my own and I learnt how to be an adult in. However, as soon as I stepped off that plane from Turkey I felt uneasy. I was nauseas, out of my depth and I certainly wasn’t wearing ruby slippers that I could click 3 times, but if I was it wouldn’t have sent me here.
I can still maneuver the streets quickly and keep up with the rushed pace of life, but I no longer wish to live my life this way. I’d prefer to take my time and enjoy each minute. London was always where I hoped I’d have my fairytale ending, but it became a soul crushing experience more than anything else, so I left.
The general atmosphere encourages a disassociation with humanity. It replaces normal functioning people with newfound flakey tendencies, anxious thoughts and pushy behaviour. In summary people in London are often miserable and it almost seems as if they work in unison to make everyone else feel as terrible as they do. This isn’t what home should feel like. That’s why for me it never will be again, but it will be a place I will return to and most likely repeatedly, because for all of its madness, the special pieces of this city still hold a light inside my heart.
(Being princesses at the Disney store in London)
The Christmas lights are all shining brightly and Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ is playing on repeat. It’s times such as the holidays that London is absolutely magical. I may have inhaled more dirt and fumes on the underground in 5 days than I had in the past 4 months, but to emerge to street level and stare at the beautiful architecture of each building, creating silhouettes in the sunset are sights I’ll always cherish. I love that there are so many different tastes of international cuisine on every street and the city never sleeps that your days will always be endlessly full of things to do.
Of course there are still many inconsiderate people living in London, but you have to take it in your stride and chose to ignore them. My first few hours back in town I had a woman in Paddington scream at me for being so rude as to get in her way with all my luggage when heading to place it in storage. Never-mind she was the one not watching where she was walking (backwards I might add) whilst talking with friends, abruptly spun around and collided with me, toppling my suitcase over and giving me the stink eye along with her dressing down of my apparent incompetence to not avoid getting in her way.
(Cute breakfast at Sketch London)
A lot of people consider London the be all and end all. One of the few places to ‘make’ it in the world. It is no longer that for me, but I can say I had 3 years of learning curves to teach me exactly what I did and didn’t want from life and for that I’ll always be grateful. Walking the familiar streets hasn’t been as comforting as I hoped, but it has been liberating to know I am free of the daily grind and able to enjoy all the little pleasantries that London does hold, without dealing with all the other pressures it can present.
(Checking out Winter Wonderland with two of my best friends – Sami and Holly)
Being able to catch up with the few lovely friends I have here and hold near and dear, taking a trip to Winter Wonderland, working out in an actual gym and eating a roast dinner has been the refresh I needed, as the time spent on the road had slowed me down. So right now, I have no official home. I don’t know where my next home base will be, most likely Australia, but who knows where on that vast land. For now I take pleasure in the fleeting moments of comfort that each international city can provide me, and I am happy to have London as an old stomping ground. I choose to acknowledge the fond memories, not just focus on the terrible times.
For a lot of Aussies, London will be the first place you’ll land when making that big trip across the world to explore Europe. For some it will become a home base, others a week long whirlwind adventure or a place to spend a couple years on a visa, but it doesn’t have to be the last place you end up in the world, unless you want it to be. Give it a chance, maybe it’ll shine for you. Even if just for a little while, for all its worth, London will always teach you something about yourself.
♥ Love from Leah