So, its been awhile and I am beyond embarrassed, its not that I haven’t had any inspiration to write, its me, as usual, getting in my own way like i always do. I’m constantly making excuses why not to post, like I’ll be up all night, or that i wont be able to type because i spilled water on my keyboard, but its really because i am so nervous and self conscious that i become a coward and do nothing instead which is the worst thing you could ever do. So please mind the wide gap between my last post and this one, take a long stride to the other side with me. I recently just got back from a trip and even though its cliche there’s certain emotions that only traveling can evoke, feelings that are strictly exclusive to being somewhere unfamiliar, seeing something old but new to you, the unavoidable bizarre experiences, and of course the little things you learn about yourself when you dare to step out into this great big world. Shall we?
2 years ago my friend Patrice came to visit me in Austin for the weekend, when she came in my room she looked around and noticed my passport sitting on my bookshelf and said ” Your passport has dust on it”. I will never forget those words, i never want anyone to ever say that to me again so when my friend Regina invited me to London i knew this was my chance to give my passport a good polishing.
The only other place Ive been to in Europe is Amsterdam and that was only for a couple days so i knew this would be a totally different experience because Id have a lot more time and i actually know someone in London which is so wild to me still. Something i didn’t expect was that traveling international as a passenger is so annoying, in previous years i had the luxury of being a crew member but it does feel nice to not be on stand by.
I was fascinated by London immediately because i love a big city and London is not just a big city, its a metropolis, a major hub for all types of people, people who drive on the other side of the car and street!
Touristy time! Don’t you love it?! sigh, it wasn’t really a question.
Sight seeing is nice but the real reason i was there was to celebrate my friend and her new bride. I couldn’t believe that i was in London in the first place, but going to a wedding reception on a boat on the River Thames? Wild.
Friendship is something special.
After spending almost a week in London having a great time and meeting so many awesome people i ventured off to Paris by myself. Although traveling alone is nothing new i felt surprisingly apprehensive, i was having such a good time in London i didn’t want to leave. As soon as the train stopped and i went outside it really hit me that i was in a foreign country, everything looks and feels different. I took a cab to my hotel which was in Montmare, unloaded and ventured out to roam.
Paris isn’t too big, especially compared to London so i mostly walked everywhere i went, besides i was way too nervous to try to take the subway. I bought a map which was kind of helpful but the streets are so windy that it was really hard to follow, it also didn’t help that almost every time i took out my map it had to be obnoxiously upside down so I’d have to flip it around. I’ve never felt so American than i did when i was in France.
I know its really cliche but I’ve been waiting to see the Eiffel Tower forever you guys and its been waiting to see me too. This structure is one of the few things that in my opinion has lived up to my expectations which are naturally pretty high when visiting a site that’s known to be iconic. This intricate piece of architecture definitely pleased this fastidious female.
My second day in Paris was spent doing one of my absolute favorite things, roaming around looking at shit and taking pictures of it, preferably street art!
Something i didn’t expect to see was the Love Lock Bridge! I just read a few months earlier that they were taking the locks off because they were weighing the bridge down too much and although a decent amount have been taken off its still very saturated with lovers locks, awwwwww.
I felt extremely lonely in Paris, maybe its because i was having such a good time in London, maybe its because is such a romantic place and i was alone, or maybe i just wasn’t feeling it. I got a really cold vibe when i was there and I’m not talking about the weather. Paris reminded me of a stunningly beautiful person that doesn’t have to be nice, it wouldn’t matter if they were or not or how smart they are or how talented because their looks are so striking its the only thing anyone is ever going to talk about. I absolutely loved the scenery, its right out of a fairy tale but as physically appeasing as it was i couldn’t wait to get back to London. Desperately trying to get out of France was never something i thought would be a problem in my life but it turned out to be when the Eurostar canceled all trains to London the day i was leaving because of a strike. The train station was crazy to say the least, they told us to get a hotel and come back tomorrow and the only information they gave us a piece of paper with a french phone number on it to call which was useless to me since my phone didn’t work in Paris at all. I was flabbergasted and beyond frustrated. I had no idea what to do, i didn’t want to spend money on a hotel another night and they said the train station was closing at 11:00, i didn’t think train stations closed at all. I bonded with this nice African couple and we ended up getting rooms in the same hotel across the street from the station, 2 of the last rooms in the city, no other hotels had any vacancies because of this nonsense. After we settled in our rooms we went back over to the station to try to get some answers, i didn’t want to go to sleep that night not having an assigned seat back to London the next day. I tried to be a nice normal person which i learned gets you nowhere, i now know that to get what you deserve and whats fair you pretty much have to be a gangster, at Gare Du Nord station in Paris at least, I’m sure it applies to everyday life as well (note to self). When the man i was with who was a lawyer by the way started talking to the manager about their terms and conditions all of a sudden they had tickets right then and there for the next day. Wow Eurostar, very shocking, now what about all the families with children and the elderly people who are SOL because of your incompetence. They were selling brand new tickets at the counter but wouldn’t exchange ours until the next day for some odd reason, so we were stranded in a foreign country, unable to use our phones and were told there wasn’t a public one in the building. Thank all the gods for the people i met, they really took care of me. I’ll never forget them and how much they helped me, a stranger, out. The travel industry can be very unpredictable and unforgiving and traveling abroad can be a doozy, alone or not. Next time i need to make sure i have more flexibility in my schedule and a lot more euros just in case i ever get stuck in purgatory, i mean Paris again. I overheard someone say they couldn’t exchange their ticket until 3 days later!
Back in London i couldn’t wait to drink some tea, take a walk, and enjoy my last couple of days in this awesome city. Where i was fortunate enough to stay was near Hackney Wick, but i also roamed around Shoreditch, Camden Town, and Nottinghill.
So here’s where I’m supposed to sum my experience up and talk about what I’ve learned about myself right? Well i don’t know if its for a lifetime or a season but i have learned that even though i am naturally a loner i really want to start sharing more experiences with other people. I had fun in London riding the London Eye and seeing Westminster Abbey but my favorite memories were hanging out with the awesome people i was so fortunate to meet, i truly enjoyed just being with everyone. I wanted to do so much more initially but after being there a few days i realized that i don’t need to run around and drive myself crazy trying to do and see so much, i can have a great time drinking tea, eating biscuits and having a laugh with someone.