ME, MYSELF, & LONDON: WHAT I LEARNED





I just recently returned from a trip to London, UK! 

If you know me, you know it is my absolute favourite place in the world. Just the thought of it makes me giddy. People ask what I love about it but I can't really explain. It's not one thing in particular. I've always felt drawn in that direction and this city gives me a feeling like no other. When I'm there, I feel super-charged, wild and creatively inspired. The city embraces my weirdness and makes me feel home in another sense of the word. 

This was my first ever solo travel trip. I decided to go alone so I could experience the city for myself. I needed to get lost, to feel uncertain, to not know where to go or what to do or who to talk to. I was craving spontaneous adventures. When I do the same thing for too long, I don't grow or change or feel inspired. So I took action. And here's what I learned. 

1. Just decide. 


I've been back and forth about visiting London for a while now but a few months ago, I decided to just do it. We spend so much time deciding and hesitating. I'm trying to do a little less talk, a little more action. The hardest part is deciding. From there, it's all saving, searching, messaging, transactions, blah blah blah. 


2. It's okay to cry.


I have a really hard time showing my emotions in public (#virgoprobz). I wasn't sure what my reaction would be once I arrived in London but I kinda sorta maybe burst into actual, wet, messy tears. I ugly-cried in the airport. It was mostly in a bathroom stall, but still! I would normally just hold it in but I was so incredibly happy and over-tired that I just let it happen. 


3. I trust myself. 


As an absolute extrovert, being alone on this trip was by far the biggest and best challenge for me. Not only was I physically alone, I barely had a phone for the whole week. I was dealing with people withdrawal and social media withdrawal. I had to rely on me and only me to get myself from different airport gates, security, my Airbnb, all across town and back. I learned that I am waaaay stronger than I think and way more capable at navigation than I give myself credit for. Also, so many tings happen when you're not looking down at a screen. WHO KNEW?!

4. Go, go, go! 


London moves fast. Real fast. And everybody, and I mean everybody, is in a rush. Everyone is late and tired (on the tube anyway). So, walk FAST, think FAST, don't make eye contact, and DO NOT stand on the left side of the escalator. 


5. Nobody cares. 


In a city of over eight million people, nobody really cares what you're wearing, listening to, eating, drinking, saying, etc. I felt an immediate sense of less judgment and that's one of the things I adore. In Ottawa, I notice people staring judgmentally a lot (just me?). I also noticed that people are less friendly in London. There was a bit of coldness among strangers but my friend pointed out that British people tend to be more genuine in their interactions so they take a little while to warm up. And once they do, y'all are friends fo lyfe. Since being back home, I've come to really appreciate the friendliness. It's pretty cute and we should embrace it, eh? 


6. It's good to get lost. 


I live such a structured routine here. I drive or bike to work the same path I've been on for years. I grew up here so maybe I know it too well. A key highlight of this trip was getting lost. I so enjoyed that. I actually take so much comfort in the unknown. 


7. I need people. 


I have always been a people person but I didn't realize how strong that part of me is until this trip. One morning I visited the Trew Era cafe, which is a social enterprise that employs people recovering from addictions. I sat in the back patio and started talking to one of the baristas who was on a break. We exchanged basics like how are you and where are you from. Then she said So, do you have an itinerary? I said Nope, not really. To be honest, I don't care to see all the sights and things. I'm more interested in sitting here and talking to you.

I learned that what I'm truly interested in is the people of London. My favourite moments were spent talking to strangers, friends, seeing how people live, and hearing their stories, told in their incredible accents. 

8. Cool it with the makeup. 

It was a combination of seeing a lot of really cool girls rocking no makeup, being exhausted, rushed, and the sunshine, but I've since been slightly turned off by makeup. One of the days on my trip, I completely forgot to wear mascara and didn't realize until late that night when I was looking at photos. I've been embracing a more natural look. 


9. Sneakers, dude. 


You know I'm going to give you the London fashion trend report. It's quite simple, really. Here goes. 


Messy hair, *good leather jacket, flowy clothes, denim, a *good bag, long nails, yellow-tinted aviators, culottes and *cool sneakers. 

*jacket: structured, leather, biker. bag: big, funky, personalized, leather, totes. sneakers: popular ones were gold, glittery, pale pink, or embroidered. 


10. Don't go shopping on Oxford St. on a sunny Saturday.


Just don't do it. I turned into one of those angry people desperately in search of iced coffee. And realized I picked up the move-outta-my-way walk real fast. 



London,

You have my heart. You painted a permanent smile on my face. I am not done with you. This isn't over. I will be back. But for now, thank you for making me feel refreshed, inspired, happy, and of course a little bit edgy



Favourite quote ever (in Shoreditch) and checking out my Airbnb. 

Day Two was spent in my FAV FAV FAV: Camden.






Top left: Vintage dress that will haunt me, thanks guys. 

It was LITERALLY Summer that weekend. 



Top: Russell Brand's cafe Trew Era which employs people recovering from addictions. Bottom: Vintage sale - INCREDIBLE. 


My friend Charlotte (Ottawa-London transport of four years), brought me on a walking tour of the city. We had so much fun out and about in the sunshine being tourists and catching up. 

British Museum & Afternoon Tea. 


Had to visit the original Vivienne Westwood boutique, World's End


Notting Hill bliss. Overcoat: Primark, $7 GBP. Jeans: New Look, $25 GBP, Top: Vivienne Westwood (kinda similar). Shoes: Primark, $8 GBP. Backpack: Giant Tiger, $20. Purse: New Look, $20 GBP (similar).

Photos by me unless specified. 











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