Ive been home from studying abroad for 2 months now. How? Beats me. How do you say goodbye to a place that impacted you in countless ways? There are simply not enough hours in a day to explain the love that I have for London. In 5 months I traveled around Europe and did more things than I knew I was capable of. I conquered more anxiety driven fears and more bucket list dreams than I knew was possible in such a short amount of time.
I’ve been wanting to sit down and write about my experience in London ever since I got home, but I’ve struggled. Truthfully, it’s because I’ve been wishing I was still there. Thinking about it too much stings a little bit more than I thought it would. Not being able to wake up on a Saturday morning and hop on the tube to Portobello Market or Carnaby Street makes my heart hurt. I wouldn’t and couldn’t explain my adventure over the last 5 months even if I wanted to. When asked “how was London?” I literally draw a blank. The first word that comes to my mind is “amazing” but that is simply not enough. How do you explain a culture, the people and the life you’ve been a part of and adapted to? You can’t.
I didn’t know a once completely foreign place had the power to change me so much. I knew this experience was going to be “life changing” as they say, but I definitely didn’t grasp the magnitude of that phrase. It was most definitely, life changing. Aside from my education and internship, simply being so free felt, well so free. I was introduced to a place I had never been to, with free reign taking me anywhere. London was my playground and I truly did feel like a kid. I think we often psych ourselves out into thinking we can’t do the unimaginable. But sometimes it’s the littlest strides that take you the furthest places.
My mind would often wander as I was waiting for the tube, or walking a crowded street about how I got so lucky. How did I get here? I experienced so many moments of pure bliss. In these moments, I would turn to my friends and say “soon were going to be home and wishing so badly we were back here, in this moment. So lets enjoy every single second of it.” And its true. I wish I was back there. In those moments (I was the sappy friend, ask anyone).
Very few times I wished to be back home in Bucks County, PA. Homesick I wasn’t. Actually, I would say that was one of the last emotions I felt during the course of my trip. I knew that everything I may have been longing for was going to be waiting for me when I got home. My room, my car, friends/family, Target (lol), it would all be there. Waiting for me.
In the past I would constantly have to remind myself to live in the now. Which is pretty shitty when you think about it. Sometimes it would be my anxious mind taking me somewhere else, and other times it was the block of metal I was holding in my hand distracting me from life’s blessings that were right in front of me. I’ve been so cautious of that recently, and wow is life sweet. I’ve been thankful enough to have experienced so many moments over the last few months that I knew were only going to happen that once, in that particular way. It was a strange, sweet and amazing mix of emotions that was pretty difficult to take in all at once. But I knew, I was never going to be in that exact moment again.
London was the sweetest adventure I’ve been on in my life. I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. I needed to be there at that time in my life. I needed to experience everything I did and meet the people I met along the way. I wish these people knew how much they impacted me.
What blows me away the most is how picture perfect this world is. Physically that is, don’t be mistaken. The planet we live on is so breathtakingly beautiful it’s hard to recognize that its real. It wasn’t until I had moments like one in Greece where we were driving to the red clay beach on the edge of a cliff with the ocean to our left that I realized just how small we are. We are minuscule and the world around us is massive and beautiful. We are so lucky.
I saw so many places I have dreamt of my entire life, and other places I didn’t know I needed to go to, but I left a piece of my heart there, knowing I would one day be back.
Within the first month of us being in London, we started planning out our big adventure. Now when I say big adventure, I mean that very, very literally. A month-long trip around Europe, country and city hopping with a suitcase (ok maybe make that 2), with hostiles and Airbnb’s booked, we were ready to take on those 9 or so flights just knowing we wouldn’t be back in our beloved London until a month later. You can bet your bottom dollar we conquered that month like it was our job. Our itinerary included—Amsterdam, Nice, Monaco, Cannes, Barcelona, Milan, Florence/Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Rome, Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini. The amount of research that we had to do in order to make this trip successful took WEEKS. In our next life, we would most definitely be coming back as travel agents. We were just 4 girls figuring out one metro system after another. In a plethora of languages, that is.
I’ve been waking up day after day with a weird feeling. I guess indifferent towards where I am.. location wise. Sad wouldn’t be the right word, because I am not necessarily sad to be here, just longing for more. For a month straight I woke up every day not knowing what adventure I was going to go on next, or what I was going to see that day. I loved that feeling. Sometimes the day ended with seeing an 800 year old monument that left you in awe, or it ended with us at the local snack food store buying anything and everything that resembled American food. I loved waking up everyday not knowing what was going to take my breath away, but having the feeling that something most definitely was going to.
So I guess what I am trying to say is… to travel is to live. Yes it is cliché, and yes it is a quote via Google, however it is beyond true. I have truly never felt more alive than within these past 5 months.
I have never felt more determined to see the world than I am right now. I stepped out of my comfort zone a long time ago, and I never plan on going back.
If I am being honest, I have read this over what feels like a thousand times. I am really not sure if I got all of my thoughts down on paper, but I sure did try. But, it makes sense considering this experience left me speechless, this trip left me speechless, and London left me speechless.
I will be back for you Europe, that I can promise.
Some of my favorite scenic photos below:
Meet you here again VERY soon,