Right now, I’m sitting at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4, waiting for my gate to open so I can hop on a plane to take me home. There’s not a word to describe the emotions that I’m feeling. I’m wetting myself with excitement to see my boyfriend, family and friends. I’m desperately craving the feeling of the hot Queensland sun on my bare skin. I cannot wait to live in a clean house with kitchen utensils and fresh food and a big, comfy bed to curl up in. I’m anxious because I am not a big fan of flying and I’m currently staring down the barrel of 24 hours straight on a plane. I’m a little terrified at the fact that I don’t have a job to go home to, and my bank balance is looking pretty sad. I want to cry just a little because I’m going to miss all the incredible people I’ve met over the last few months. And I want to cry a lot because London feels like my home now, and I don’t know when I’ll be back again.
The last two months have been a crazy experience. I’m definitely not going to miss the London weather – instead of the coldest winter in one hundred years, we got the wettest winter in three hundred years. I also didn’t have a very positive experience with the company who organised the trip, and for the last few weeks I’ve been feeling pretty homesick. But for every tough moment there were ten amazing ones.
In the second half of my trip I felt less like a tourist and more like a Londoner. I spent my weekends wandering through the famous markets – antiques and pastel townhouses on Portobello Road, vintage clothing in Camden, and meats, cheeses and pastries in Borough. I experienced a real Sunday roast, a traditional afternoon tea, and more pastries than I can count. I spent one Saturday exploring the Tower of London, losing myself in the medieval culture and drooling over the crown jewels (no photos allowed!). I visited family in Greenwich, where we explored the historical Old Royal Naval College, The Painted Hall and the museum before climbing the hill to the Royal Observatory, with killer views of London and the Greenwich Meridian. Then there was St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tate Modern, Hampstead Heath, Kensington Palace and a sneaky visit to Somerset House in the middle of London Fashion Week! There was also a particularly memorable Sunday morning where I hired a Barclay’s bike and attempted to ride from Stockwell to Kensington Gardens. I don’t quite know how I survived that ride – London drivers are completely insane!
One of the highlights of my whole trip would definitely be the Harry Potter Studio Tour. I’m a HP nerd from way back, and I’m not even ashamed to admit that I went by myself – camera and audio guide around my neck – surrounded by ten year old kids shouting spells at each other. I took so many photos that evening that I think they’ll get a post all to themselves!
Well my gate is now open and the plane is about to begin boarding. Looks like this is goodbye, dear London. Let’s not make this harder than it already is… No tears please. I’ll catch you on the flip side.