Going in chronological order of my past trips, London is next up for a TBT post. I hesitated on skipping a week, out of respect for the horrific attack that’s just occurred. Then I remembered, during tragic times like this–times of fear and uncertainty–it becomes even more important to live life fully. To not be afraid to travel. To not let fear win. To not press pause on all the good things in life. Because the ideals that are trying to be struck down need to be lived out more strongly. More art. More writing. More travel. More conversations. More acceptance. More everything else that is positive in the world. So I’ll carry on now about my grand time in London last summer.
While I only had a brief 24 hours in London, as it was the starting point to my month-long TopDeck tour, to depart the next day, it was a lovely, sunny day and I packed a lot into it. Arriving in the morning, not too jet-lagged from my overnight flight, I stashed my stuff at the hostel, put on loads of sunscreen, and headed out to explore.
Right away, I remembered I was in a left-side-driving country for the first time. Which meant that I had been instinctually walking on the wrong side in the airport, and while boarding the tube. And when sleepiness hit me in late morning, I had to be extra cautious crossing the road. (Thankfully there were painted words all over the sidewalk that reminded me which direction to look.) I definitely looked in the wrong direction while waiting for the bus, though. Oops.
Sometimes, my favorite way to spend a free day in a new city is have a couple ideas of what I want to do, but mostly just wander aimlessly and see where that takes me. First, I headed to the London Eye, as a fan of city views, and one that’s a ride as well sounded even cooler. After taking a ton of photos, I strolled across the bridge, checked out Big Ben, and filled the rest of the day with lots of wandering. I walked and walked, listening to accents and smiling, grabbing a coffee, and checking out another sweet view of the city from the Sky Garden.
I dined on fish and chips and a delicious beer in the basement of a cute pub. I read the newspaper, with the chatter of patrons at happy hour around me, and just soaked in the experience. Thinking about the start to my one-month trip–my longest yet–I didn’t know what it would entail: who would be in the group, how we’d get along, what would change between now and the end of it. But I knew for sure that life would change, and I couldn’t wait to find out how.
Lastly, I saw a performance of Kinky Boots that I’d planned beforehand, and it was phenomenal! There were tremendous voices and great acting in the wonderful cast. One of the highlights was seeing the crowd of what appeared to be middle-aged men around me standing up and dancing at the be-yourself/be-unique/LGBT-friendly message at the end–which made my heart so happy. In the future, though, I will make sure not to arrange really cool things for the same day I’ve switched time zones, because my heavy eyelids couldn’t keep their act together for every minute of the show in the dark theatre–no matter how brilliant the performance was. Another life lesson learned. My time in London was brief, but it was lovely–and I’ll surely be back to see much more next time.