A 22 Year Dream Fulfilled
I’ve spent darn near my entire life hoping and dreaming that I would one day travel to England. Today, I saw that dream accomplished. I only have time to jot down a few quick thoughts and memories from today as I have to be up at 6.15 tomorrow to go catch the tube for my Stonehenge, Windsor, Bath tour.
The day started out in fear. I’ve been afraid to do this ever since I’ve booked the flight. Not because I had doubts about whether I wanted to come to England, I didn’t, but because I was expensive, my first time out of the country, and my first time truly traveling alone. I couldn’t shake the feeling that those were all going to add up to a travesty. I woke up before my alarm, decided to see if I could check in to my flight, and was greeted with a prompt that told me I needed to have some paperwork done 72 hours in advance. Here it goes, I thought. We won’t even get airborne before disaster hits. This was solved after about an hour of halting fear. From there on out, the flights were mostly good. Allegiant was surprisingly very nice to fly out of Provo with. There was an uncomfortable mishap at the Oakland airport due to an agent misgendering (so in truth, accurately gendering me?) me at the security checkpoint. After that was all cleared up I ate at Chili’s and waited for the Norwegian flight to Gatwick. Both I and the sole other woman in our row remarked on how decently nice the flight was, especially since there was no passenger in the middle seat between us. Unfortunately I never got to take advantage of this becuase she quickly swooped in and stole it for herself. I was shocked to open my eyes and see her laying down at one point in the journey.
The plane was long. My feet felt like balloons, and I didn’t sleep very well in the air. When we landed I hoped on what I was told was the right train by Google, Citymapper, my AirBnB host. . . It was not going to the right stop. This meant I had to hop off elsewhere and walk a lot more than I was anticipating, and by the time I finally found the flat I’m staying at, my shoulders were crying and I was defeated, almost ready to stay in all night long. I had already seen the Thames, Tower Bridge, and the Shard during the escapade where I tried to figure out what train I needed to transfer to. It was a magical moment for me and I don’t have many words to describe how happy I am listening to all the British folk, seeing the school children dressed in uniforms, and seeing the river and some of the sights that had so long been fixated in my dreams. It’s all so beautiful, and though my shoulders were dying holding up all my bags, I couldn’t help but to stop and breathe it in.
After debating for a while about what to do this evening, I decided I’d head down and join the Jack the Ripper walking tour. It was only 10p and it was a fun way to see some of London, especially the east-end which I probably wouldn’t have gone to otherwise. By the way, Jack is one real messed up dude. Prior to finding the tour I had to find an ATM to get some pounds and I also had to make my way to the station. I don’t know what it is about Google Maps. . . but it has really let me down today. It won’t track the direction I’m heading and it makes for a hellishly confusing time trying to decide where to walk. But I eventually found the station after passing by The Monument and standing still to admire the gothic beauty of the Tower of London and the trebuchet that stood on the grass. I even passed an Audi R8 and that was nice too; as was seeing all the Renaults and Clevos I’ve seen from afar.
(Better pics to come, I promise.)
The tour guide was the English version of Mrs. Rabner. Spitting image and the way she spoke made me think of Mrs. Rabner with a British accent. It was fun. The group was mostly constituted of a single school group that brought roughly 12 people, and while I think there are likely more interesting tours out there, this was a relaxing way to orient myself with London. Also, there was a girl in the tour group who, had she not spoke almost solely Italian, I could have sworn was Maisie Williams. She looked just like her! Height, hair, face, eyebrows; she had it all. Tbh, I was pretty jealous. Also disappointed because she wasn’t the real Maisie.
Hopefully the other posts will be better, but I’ve got to get to bed. I’ve got about 7 hours to sleep, if I sleep well! So far, London has been wonderful; a vibrant city with an incredible number of people (including a lot of walkers and bikers, like, more than I ever thought was possible in one city). . . I don’t know. There’s just something special about this place. I love it.