I’ve been home for two weeks, and, along with unpacking, finding a way to wrap up my time in London has been looming over my head. There are enough stories to fill a novel, so here are just a few of the things I’m taking with me.
Take risks and be Adventurous.
It’s not hard when you’re living in a huge city like London. I realized that if something scares you, it’s probably worth doing. Even if something goes awry, you’ll probably still have a great story to tell. There was something thrilling about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and if I wasn’t up for trying new things, why did I go abroad in the first place? I’ve never been an impulsive person, but it was really fun to just throw caution and expectation to the wind and let things happen. Ciera kept quoting “when’s the last time you did something for the first time?” and we could basically say everyday while we were there. Go. Do. Explore.
Talk to new people everywhere you go.
How else are you going to find out anything about wherever you are? You can read all the guidebooks in the world, but that’s not a way to really experience a new place. Whether it was listening to the “cerebral Australian” with dreadlocks talk about his opinions on the “establishment,” getting introduced to the pub as the “Missouri girls” by a band in Dublin or making new friends while watching the Super Bowl because you know that Coors Light is an American beer, people, both those you’re there with and new ones you meet, help make experiences.
Find things you like doing and do them.
If you like live music, go to open mic night at the pub around the corner with your best friend on a Wednesday. If you like food and shopping, go hang out at any of the fantastic markets in London. Seeing and taking pictures of all the tourist highlights is fun and shouldn’t be missed, but finding and doing things you’d be interested in no matter where you were is the way to make the most of any travel experience.
Being and doing things alone can be really rewarding.
I’ve always thought I wanted to live and work in a big city, but I’d never actually done it. Now, I’m not only certain that I can and want to live in major city, but I also know I’ll enjoy it. I never felt lonely spending time alone in London, and that’s because it wasn’t hard to find something new and fun to do. From visiting a Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit and going to concerts to wandering through Camden Lock or down Oxford Street, I loved being able to hop on the Tube and know I’d find something exciting to explore and see.
But so can exploring with some of your best friends.
I’m so lucky to have gone on this trip with such a great group. I became closer with the friends I knew before we left and made new ones that I can’t wait to see when we’re all back in Columbia. We shared international trips, karaoke stages and more visits to media companies than I can count, and we’re bound by those experiences. Who else am I going to talk to about using Valirie’s One Direction knowledge to distract us from getting seasick on our ferry from Calais or reminisce with about how long we walked to get dinner on our first night in Paris?
Learn to like being in transition.
Essentially nothing in my life right now is fully figured out or permanent, and I realized that’s okay. I’m constantly packing and unpacking, and I’m learning to like change and being in the “in between.” Everything is an opportunity for a new adventure if you keep a positive attitude. I’d like to have a solid plan to follow, but where’s the fun (and the reality) in that? I’m not supposed to have all the answers right now, but I’m trying to figure them out. And that’s pretty much all I could ask for.
Thanks for all of your lessons, fun and adventure, London. You were everything. xx