I’ve always wanted to travel somewhere by myself. It would be a grand adventure!
So, during the spring I would dream in between practice question sets and had google flights on speed dial – or actually automatic alerts. Flights to Paris, London, Barcelona, I was tracking them all. It didn’t really matter where I went, the only requirement was that it was a place I had never been before.
Ultimately, I found an affordable plane ticket to London.
– confirm payment –
I had a vacation to look forward to.
Naturally, my solo travel would start with an empty row of seats on the trans-Atlantic flight.
To be completely honest, I romanticized the whole thing, from start to finish. I dreamed a vacation in my mind that was straight out of the movies. Sort of like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love where she goes to Italy, India, and Bali to find herself. She learns Italian and eats pizza with her new-found friends. I thought I would meet people in my hostel, or at the park, or while visiting the museum. Yet, I found myself being seated at the one person table in the corner of a restaurant, a look of pity on the waiters face.
I didn’t come here for your pity, sir.
So, I woke up each morning and armed myself with my book, the map, and my water bottle and would head out for the day. Going to the places I had only seen from the computer screen. I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (twice), the British Museum, Hyde Park, St. James Park, Regents Park, Oxford University, Westminster Abbey, the Shakespeare Globe, Notting Hill, East London, Buckingham Palace. I ate fish and chips in a pub, I ate Thai food in a pub, I drank a very large glass of wine in a pub.
Welcome home, honey
This made me happy
On the last day of my trip I met these three fantastic people – also solo traveling
A cool piece of art in the Victoria and Albert
Lavendar Latte. Need I say more?
Shadow play at the Victoria and Albert
But really, have you seen this ghost?
Sunday music in the park
Egg Break – first breakfast, first tiny bathroom
This is the view from the golden gallery of St. Pauls Cathedral
Hamlet from the yard
The view of Oxford, from University Church
I wouldn’t change anything about my time in London because I learned a valuable thing in that big city. I think it’s something I’ve known all along because if I look back on old blog posts and journal entries, the thing I keep coming back to is the relationships I have with the people who wind up in my life.
It made me sad to think that I would return to the United States and there would be no one to remember the trip with me.
Somehow there’s still grace and beauty in this. Maybe the next time I am lucky enough to travel to London, I’ll tell a story, over the high tea that I never tried, about the time that I stood in the yard during a Shakespeare play, or rode on the upper deck of the iconic red London bus, or sat in a rented lawn chair to read my book on a Sunday afternoon.
I didn’t come here for your pity, sir. But go ahead, pour that glass of wine.
After some lengthy deliberation, I decided this wasn’t going to be a travel blog.
A play-by-play of my trip to London.
I think travel blogs are fantastic ways to share tips and tricks for navigating new cities (I’ve used plenty of them myself), but I think I have more to offer than the research that I did before jumping the ocean.
However, I did think it would be helpful to share some of the things I really enjoyed about my time in London… in case there is someone out there that’s looking for a tasty latte, free bus tour, or restaurant with a rooftop pickle statue.
Astor Hostels – I booked through Hostelworld, their Hyde Park location is large and in an excellent location.
EggBreak – I recommend the Levantine Eggs and Matcha Latte.
Farm Girl – If you love avocado toast then this is the place for you.
Churchill Arms – Iconic pub paired with “the best” Thai food in England.
Piculpeper – For rooftop pickle statues.
Victoria and Albert Museum – Created to celebrate beautiful industrial design.
The British Museum – Read: The Rosetta Stone is here.
Go see as many Royal Parks as possible – Regents Park is my favorite.
Try out this free London bus tour – Buy yourself an oyster card and hop on and off.
St. Pauls Cathedral – Expensive, but well worth it
Get tickets to see something at the Globe
A great glass of wine
Raphaels Cartoons at the Victoria and Albert
Iron work in the Victoria and Albert
Be one with the street art
The Rosetta Stone.
A massive succulent
Climbing the stairs to the Golden Gallery at St. Pauls Cathedral
Street art in East London
If anyone finds this in the US…
Playing tetris with the buildings
The London Eye and the Thames
Oxford University Natural History Museum
Princess Diana’s Garden
Because, lawn chairs
Mailboxes for the postcards I never sent because all the postcards were lame
View from the upper deck
Pretty flower boxes outside the hostel
Victoria and Albert
Just a cool house in Oxford
The Great Bed of Ware
Fish and chips
St. James Palace