Up until my junior year of college I had never gotten the chance to travel out of the country. I had always dreamed of the day where I would finally be able to pack my bags and go see new places, but the opportunity had never risen.
This is why I was completely speechless when I found out that it would be possible for me to visit my best friend in London while she was on break from school for Christmas in 2015. In no time at all I had managed to book my flight, hunt down the nearest passport pick up location, and gather the money I needed to make the trip.
After a stressful final exam week at school, I was able to race back to my hometown in time to spend one night before my flight out of the country.
This trip was also the first time that I flew alone and had to navigate a through city by myself. Because my friend was a student in London on a visa, she had to work to afford to stay in the country. This meant that when my flight arrived at the Heathrow Airport in London I had to sort out transportation, without an international phone plan mind you.
One mix up with an Uber driver solved I was picked up from my Terminal and taken through the streets of London to my friends house.
Embarrassingly, I remember my first thoughts when I got to London. A few of them were educed by panic from thinking we were driving on the wrong side of the road… I blame that one on sleep deprivation and hunger, not stupidity.
When I first stepped foot in London I could not control my interest in everything I saw and heard. It was basically sensory overload. I had dreamed of going to the U.K. for so long, and it was finally happening!
Picture after picture in the car later we pulled up to the house where I promptly let myself in and fell asleep for the majority of the rest of the day along side my friend who had worked a double shift.
Great start to a vacation I know.
After this little comatose slump I was completely rejuvenated and did not stop for a single second the rest of my time in the country!
One of my first nights we walked around London sightseeing things like Big Ben, the Cutty Stark, and local pubs. This was also when I learned how to work the transit system, since I would be taking it alone a lot of my stay while my friend worked.
Seeing as I was 20 at the time, we made a point to go to the pub she worked at so I could have my first legal drink, naturally a London logger. It was here that I was greeted by so many friendly faces and so many “Welcome to London” free drinks!
One of the best features about my trip is that it was only a week before Christmas meaning everything was decked out for the holiday season and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined it would be! I highly recommend visiting during this time if you have the chance.
Other highlights of my trip included going to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere and meeting the cast and crew, visiting Platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross Station, seeing The Lion King Live, and traveling to York.
While in York we went all out. We walked the entire city and took part in several tourist traps. My favorites included the Dungeons of York, a spooky ghost tour, and Jorvik, the excavated viking village site. I feel like I have never seen so many things in one day.
By the time my trip came to an end I was completely exhausted. But here’s the funny thing about traveling, as tiring and stressful as it can be, it is more rewarding than anything else.
I think it’s safe to say that I have the travel bug and the only cure is more travel!