So here we are… another airport lounge post. I arrived a somewhat exaggerated 3 hours before I was required… basically because I was so nervous that something would go wrong. I was convinced I would forget my passport, take the wrong train, miss the station or go to the wrong airport… All the usual, rational fears of a girl who has relied on her sister and dad for all previous travel arrangements in the past. That being said, I made it, checked luggage, boarding pass, passport and all, and after recovering from my disappointment at Costa’s not serving my staple order of a white hot chocolate at their Gatwick airport location, I now have a generous 3 hours on my hands to bring you up to date… not a bad result!
For those of you not up to date, tonight I am off to Berlin, Germany for 6 nights followed by a 4 night visit to Krakow, Poland. To say I am excited is an understatement! I am meeting one of my oldest, dearest friends in Germany and am so looking forward to an familiar face, and a close friend who I can retell my past 2 months worth of stories to in the brutal honesty and openness that can only be shared by your nearest and dearest. Packing my bag last night I recognised the feeling of butterflies in my tummy, and acknowledged the fact that this is because it’s probably the first little mini adventure during my big adventure that I have planned and booked all by myself – I’m picturing rocking up to a fully packed hostel with them having no record of my booking, or getting to the airport on my last day and realising I didn’t in fact book a flight back to London but instead left it sitting inside my shopping basket… stay tuned to hear if this is the case.
But having said that, it has come to my attention over the past 8 days, that I do, indeed, have itchy feet. I hear the gasps of shock! I can appreciate that one must have some kind of sense of itchy feet to pack up one’s life and move to settle down, live and work on the other side of the world to begin with, but this is a new feeling of itchy feet. This is the feeling that I want more. I want to see, touch and smell more. So much more. London has been incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I have seen more in 2 months than many who have been here for months long than I, claim to have experienced at all. I cannot get enough. I’ve tried to make the most of each day to the point where I physically had to make a decision not to leave my house this week unless it was to go to work (oh and my first football match, more on that later!). This is because I go on these little daily walks and escapades and then cannot help but be drawn to these incredible sights and attractions that London offers around every corner. A quick stroll to the market on a ‘cheap day out’ led to me ‘stopping in’ to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; and yes it was magical, but the tour was 19 quid! No problem at all, and a memorable day to say the least, however, it all adds up… And seeing as the teaching has stopped (good riddance!) the money ain’t quite ‘flowing in’…. So, with all this extra time on my hands in between my café and bar work (where I have to literally work one whole hour just to cover my bus fare to get there and back), my feet started to get really, really itchy…
Talking to dad on the phone the other night, and he told me that quite a few people were asking him if I was okay, that they thought I was having a horrible time away and not enjoying myself… This absolutely broke my heart! And I hope that none of my posts on any social media, or indeed this blog, are portraying that idea. The facts are simple. I am in love with this city. I wanted to move here and work as a teacher, travelling a bit here and there with some decent money coming in so that while I was experiencing this incredible adventure, I was in fact not going backwards financially in life. The reality was (and is) that teaching is not what I was hoping it would be here. And that’s okay! But unfortunately, work is such a big part of our lives, that if you are even remotely unhappy in this respect, it tends to affect other avenues of your life. And before I let myself get overly run down, and before I let myself think of buying a ticket home too many times, I decided to do something about it. So I went out, and found another job – and it has turned my whole attitude around. So now, instead of living and working with travelling in between, I have a new plan…
Some of you may know I have a three-month stint of travel booked to commence in June; Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Albania and Italy. The thought of paying my lavishly inflated London monthly rent for this period while not actually living in my room makes me feel ill. But I adore my flat so much, and my housemate has become somewhat of an old friend; a platonic father figure who looks out for me and sends me a text if he hasn’t seen me for a couple of days just to “check in” and see if I’m “Ok”; bless. So it’s a bit of tough decision; do I risk losing a great place or just bugger it and take a risk. But the more I think of it, the more I speak to family and friends, the more my feet keep itching while I’m laying in bed at night and clicking on BuzzFeed’s list of 25 unique places to see in the world, the more I think that come June, it’s going to be pack up time. My feet are even itching as I sit in this departure lounge looking at the list of departing flights; Rome, Madrid, Prague, Cologne. Come June, I think it’ll be time to shove my life back in the backpack, take off and explore the world one beautiful city at a time; until the money runs out. It’s all fun and games until the money runs out. But when that time comes, I can decide if it’s back to London, or back home. And at first, I was so disgusted in myself for even thinking of this! Because I came here to settle down and work and live; with a bit of travel thrown in on the side for excitement and good measure. But then I realised; hey, it’s my adventure… I DO WHAT I WANT! It’s all positive. I gave the work a try, it didn’t work out. I’m still proud of myself for sticking it out for 5 weeks even though I wanted to take a direct flight home after my first week… I’ve seen so much of London already, and have until June (in between all my other little trips!) to soak in as much more of it as I can. I still have a lot left in the UK that I want to do; Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham are high on my list. Even though most Londoners suggest they are somewhat lack-lustre, I’m so close it would be silly not go! I would like to see both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the Lake District and Wales, and some more touristy stuff right in the heart of London. But judging by what I have accomplished in my first 2 months, I can make this happen before June. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! And if I work hard at the bar for the next few months I should definitely be able to afford a ticket to Harry Potter World too!
I am missing my family so much! Not in a way that I am desperate to go home to be with them; but in a way that I see so many things I would love to show them and share with them, and in that sense, wish they were here. I miss the dumb simple things, like helping mum change the sheets, having dad drop in for a coffee without calling, seeing Andre stumble down the stairs at 2pm after a big night out and b-line straight for the fridge. I miss chatting to Stef while he’s tinkering away on his bike or car or jetski or whatever his toy happens to be that week. I miss walking in on Em in the toilet and laying on the bed with her talking smack. And my sister? Well, there’s nothing I don’t miss about her. She is with me every day in everything I do and everywhere I go. Always. Everything I see reminds me of her. It’s a killer.
The other night I was lucky enough to get taken to the football by Andy. It was such an incredible night!
The atmosphere was as electric as an AFL game and I enjoyed every minute of it from the pre game cider to the Bevril and chips half time snack (I’d heard so much about this Bevril gravy drink I had to try it for myself! Just a hyped up version of beef cuppa-soup! Not all bad to be honest!).
Photos don’t capture the sounds; the smells the atmosphere. And these are the times it’s hard to travel by yourself; because you can’t share and express often the most incredible experiences. Having said that, I enjoy my own company and have really loved drifting around solo. There’s some real magic in some of the thoughts that go through your head when you’re by yourself at some historical and iconic attractions; sometimes I think something profound and inspiring, and then mentally pat myself on the back for having the capacity to think in such a way. But other times my self-talk mostly consists of ‘I’m hungry, yeh lets eat!’. There are many more places to come that I will surely be by myself, however – so it’s lucky I like my own company. After I arrive home from Poland, I have 4 days to make some more poo change from the bar before I’m off to Iceland! That will be so incredible! Then on returning from Iceland, it’s 5 days of work until I set off for St Patrick’s day in Dublin, Ireland, the Titanic Tour in Belfast, and a week of amazing sights in Scotland including Glasgow, the Highlands and Loch Ness, and Edinburgh! But the most amazing part of all? When that’s all said and done, it will be time for my precious mum and dad’s visit to me in London… I literally don’t even know where to begin, but I will try and show them as much of this beautiful city as I can in our short few days together. I am certain I will act like a pre-schooler with separation anxiety, but I cannot wait to be in their presence. Cannot wait….
Well, even though I now have 2 hours to kill, I wont bore you with too much self-indulgent talk. I miss so many people so terribly! I even miss work!?! WEIRD!?! But there’s SO MUCH to look forward to, so many places to go, so many people to meet, so many things to experience; I have to scratch my itch! And I’m so excited to give it a good crack!