UK: London living
The lasting effects of travel tend not to come from anything that was planned, packed or photographed. It's the flashes of experience, more felt than fathomed, that make up the most potent memories of time away. This has been the case for me. As I was flying towards London, leaving the three months of pure magic behind me. I was sure that I had some post American road-trip depression to face on my days to come. But just when you think life cannot get any peachier, it does.
The stories are all very true. It does rain a lot here in London. Lucky for me, in my eyes, when it rains, everything looks as if they sparkle that little bit more and skipping puddles along the streets only brings sweet nostalgia into my days. Not to mention you are all the more grateful for clear blue skies when it does make its presence. It only rained once during the whole three months we were in America. Yet, it rained every single day for the first week we were here in London. It made settling in this city all the more challenging. I will never forget being fresh of the plane, all wide eyed at this new city we were now to call home. Our hands and shoulders were beat from carting around our belongings. Kieran and I gave each other the constant reminder of why we are here — to chase our dreams of exploring Europe as our new close neighbour and to turn what we love doing into a paycheck. This was all it took for the challenges to fade away and one by one. Our brand new life in London started to fall magically into place.
We found a new house on our second day here. It’s an old terrace on a timid street, close enough to the city to explore. I fell in-love with the house at first sight, not knowing that I would fall even more in-love with the strangers that I would be sharing this charming house with. Friends amongst many things are what I am longing for the most from home. But meeting new ones that make you feel complete again does help fill that void.
London keeps surprising me. I have travelled here once before, but only as a by-passer for a mere three weeks. Looking at this city through a long-term set of eyes, it is very different and very surreal. You are spoilt for choice in every way possible. You can spend a Saturday at a place called Columbia Road Market, where there are market stalls after market stalls of fresh picked bunches of flowers. Or Portebello Road markets in Notting Hill, where the vintage stores are endless on a long, winding and never-ending street. You can go to a rooftop bar overlooking the Thames for after work drinks, where people are still in their uniform buzzing and talking amongst man-made garden tops. You can order take-out pizza and wine and meet at the many parks that all have Ping-Pong tables just lazing about or buy cheap tickets for outdoor movies that rerun classic films like Rome & Juliet, Pulp Fiction and Jurassic Park. Or you can escape London all together and take a steam train to the country, where wild horses roam free and secret rivers with rope swings are waiting to be found.
They say if your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough. Well, it’s now safe to confess that moving to London, to chase my dreams of turning what I love doing — blogging and writing into a livelihood was awfully daunting. For as long as I can remember, most of my free time over the years has been poured into creating and crafting together bits and pieces of my thoughts and imaginations. Often I have taken risks and have bared my scars and heartbreaks for all to see, with the hope to inject inspirations and lessons learned to others. I have carried around pen and paper, wherever I roam, to take mental notes of my travels to stir the hearts of other wanderers. Next thing I knew, I landed in a city where the dreams you carry with you, can either make or break you. How was I not be frightened of all this?
One month after living in London, I was offered my dream job.
Today, it has been two months since I left home to chase my dreams. I remember writing a list of all the things I wanted to find and fall in-love with here in London. I wanted to fall in-love with a new home, new friends, new places, new dreams and new goals. Five months later, and all of these dreams don’t appear to be that scary after all.