A New City

Big BenWhen you finally leave for a long-anticipated trip, you board the flight and are able to breathe a sigh of relief. You’re packed, made it through the long lines at airport security, and can pass the time on the flight by watching movies, reading, or trying your best to catch some sleep. But this is often the calm before the storm. Before you know it, you arrive groggy, hungry, in need of a shower, and in an unknown city that you have to navigate. It’s rush hour on the subway, your debit and credit cards aren’t accepted while trying to buy a subway ticket, and nausea hits you due to being awake for almost 24 hours. Suddenly you remember how difficult traveling can be and in that moment you wonder why you even bother at all.

You take your friend’s advice to get off at the Westminster subway stop despite how tired you are and the fact that it’s completely out of the way from your rented apartment. You walk the steps out of the exit and you look up, and Big Ben is the first thing you see. And then it hits you. You aren’t home anymore. You were transported to a city you’ve only seen in pictures and have dreamed about visiting for years. This is why you travel.

Trafalgar SquareI forget how hard it can be to travel. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. But this is exactly why I do it. It’s good for me to be uncomfortable, challenged, exhausted, frustrated, and simultaneously want to cry and laugh. Life isn’t as easy as it is at home. Everything is more challenging but it ignites my sense of wonder and need to explore new places. It’s about finally seeing the things you’ve always wanted to see. It’s about putting the “I want to’s” into actions and making good on your word. It’s about sharing an experience with someone and creating memories you’ll always be able to look back on and laugh. It’s about finding your groove in an unknown place. It’s about realizing that there are numerous possibilities out there and nothing is permanent.

Borough marketLondon reminded me of all these things again. Things that I’d forgotten and had been buried since my last international trip. It’s why I’ll continue to travel and be an explorer my whole life. It will always be worth the time, money, and energy. London reminded me that you can find comfort wherever you may be-in a conversation with a stranger on the subway, at a market that sells all your favorite foods, in a coffee shop before you start your day, or on a walking tour through a part of the city you would have otherwise overlooked. You will always be able to find a part of home wherever you may go.

I fell in love with London and hope to visit again in the future. I loved it for its history, public transport, architecture, healthy food options, cleanliness, British accents, humor, and safety. But most of all, I loved that this city was able to remind me of how big this world is, how important it is to make travel a priority, and how wonderful it is to experience a new place that pushes me outside my comfort zone.

Happy Monday and I hope you have a great week!

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