(brace yourselves kids, this one’s gonna be a deep one; I hardcore cried while writing it)
I’ve wanted to write this post for a while now, ever since I left London on February the 24th to be precise. So, why haven’t I yet? Basically, I needed to be in the zone, because I’ve wanted this post to be one of my best’s i’ve ever wrote. To get into the zone, I needed to be completely alone- which I am now, at the time of writing this. I also needed to be feeling the British vibes. For anyone who hasn’t been to Britain- London in particular- when you’re walking the streets around the city, there’s almost a buzz in the air. I think it’s mainly the mixture of the hustle and bustle of one of the largest, most populated cities in the world, the multiculturalism that is literally around every corner you turn, and the feeling that there is always more. Always more to see, always more to do, always more to explore, always more to achieve, always more to gain, and always more to hope for. At least that’s what I felt when I was walking the streets of London, and that’s what I term the ‘British Vibes’. A way that I’ve conjured up these ‘British vibes’ is by looking through all my photos and videos of my time in London, and wow, the nostalgia train has hit hard. I’m even sitting here with a cup of tea- which i’ve come to like now after consuming it non-stop for the past two months- in a mug that has a red double-decker bus, British flags, and multiple London landmarks illustrated onto the surface. But enough of the babble, I know that now is the right time to write this post; I’m feeling it. It’s going to be a long one, because I’m writing this for myself and no one else; for myself so that I can look back in years to come and remember the exact emotions I felt when I was in one of- what I term- the most hopeful places in the world; London.
One of the first things I think about when someone mentions the word ‘London’ to me is happiness. People have asked me ‘what was your favourite place you visited?’, and i’ve answered ‘England’. Most people give me a second look when I say this, as if they are thinking, ‘England? Really?’, and I understand where they are coming from. I visited some insanely amazing places during the past two months- Lucerne, Rome, Venice, Munich, Paris, and many more- but out of all of these destinations here I am saying England? The one place in the world that is extremely similar to Australia besides from the fact that Australia is on fire most of year, where in England it is basically the ice age? And then they ask, ‘why?’. This is the question that stops me in my mental tracks. If I answered with the words that were going through my brain in that moment, we could either be discussing this all day, or the questioner would probably think I am way more spiritual than what I actually am. But the whole point of this post is to lay everything out on the table, so fuck it, i’m gonna do it. Firstly, let me set the scene.
It’s 4:30pm on Thursday the 23rd of February 2017. It’s a typical overcast afternoon in London; the clouds look like they are trying so very hard to stop the rain from falling from them, and the wind whips my hair back and forth around my face. It’s about 11 degrees celcius, and i’m dressed in my grey t-shirt, black high-waisted jeans, black snow jacket, black heeled boots, and my navy blue, white and dark red tartan print scarf that, no joke, weighs about five kilos. I’ve just said my final goodbyes to my friend Sarah as she heads off to the airport to catch her flight home, back to Australia. There I am, standing completely alone in the beautiful Regents Park, 16,000 kilometres from home, with no one that I know. I was in every way the most alone I had ever been, but I was in every way the least lonely i’ve ever been. How does that work? I remember contemplating this as I continued to stroll around Regents Park. How is this one city having such an emotional effect on me? It registered in my mind that I passed a sign that had a detailed map of Regents Park on it. I knew I had no idea where I was going, and I knew that this park was incredibly big; I knew I could easily get lost. But I didn’t even give a thought to going to view the map in order to try and find my way out; I just kept walking. I remember thinking ‘why aren’t I scared?’. Anything could happen. I’m in this huge park, alone, with hardly anyone around, not knowing where I was going, seeing that a thunderstorm could possibly start at any moment and i’m probably about an hours walk from my hotel. Nothing. No other feelings were radiating out of my soul besides complete happiness, blissfulness and peace. I must have looked like a proper twat to people who walked past me; my eyes bright, and full of life, the biggest, dorkiest smile on my face, and a joyful skip in my step.
I found a large open field. Probably a place where families and groups of friends come to play sports on the weekends. The rain was still holding off. There was no one but me there; besides from the man who was playing catch with his dog in the distance. I stood in the middle of this pathway, closed my eyes while the wind got faster, and without thinking, silently beamed with happiness. I remember thinking to myself in that moment that ‘I am the happiest I have ever been’. Until the day I die, I will always remember every detail of that moment.
It’s funny how life works. If you asked 16 year old Racquel what she would be doing in five years time she would have told you something along the lines of being a bachelors degree graduate in design and business, working in a design agency, having a mortgage for a house, and would hopefully be engaged or married. Guess what? It’s five years down the track and none of that has happened, nor do I intend on it happening anytime soon. Of course, at some point, I do want to get married, have kids, have a loan on a home, and be working for a design agency; but that can wait, I have more plans in store, and none of them involve settling down anytime soon.
I thought maybe I would have a slim chance of having a Cinderella moment and finding a person that I maybe love whilst abroad, but never did I think i’d find love within a city. And I think maybe that’s the right way to go; living my life for myself before finding someone to live my life with. Falling in love with London didn’t just make my trip ten times better than what I thought it would be, it also rekindled my love for design and art, and I found an interest in expat life. What does Racquel see herself doing in five years time? I’ve decided to strive for a place in a Masters of Design degree, so hopefully, i’ll be a graduate. One last thing, I will start living in London within the next five years; expect that.
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