Love Letter to London
In case it wasn't obvious, I love London. It's my favorite city in the whole world. I love it so much that it is always at the top of my list when traveling, even though I have a long list of places I haven't been that I want to go. Even people who know me well are puzzled by my obsession and ask me what draws me back to the city, time after time.
I've been an Anglophile since I was a child. When I was just into my teenage years I would watch reruns of "Are You Being Served?", a campy British sitcom from the 70s. I fell in love with Jane Austen not long after. For my first job I worked at a costume shop for a local children's theater. My boss was from Oxford and would tell us stories about growing up in England. So, even before I ever set foot in the country I was predisposed to like it.
Then I actually went. The first trip I really remember I must have been about fifteen or sixteen. As I've previously discussed I don't travel well. Especially when I was younger, I would always feel sick getting off the plane and making it to our hotel was a challenge. That trip we took the Heathrow Express train into Paddington Station where we would get a cab to our hotel. As soon as I stepped off the train my nausea dissipated. I felt not only physically fine but peaceful and content.
I feel this way every time I'm in London now. I feel entirely myself, as if I belong there. A friend asked me recently if I ever feel this way anywhere else. I think I feel this way at home sometimes, but I'm not as aware of it because of the business and stress of every day life. London feels like a haven, because whenever I'm there I'm on vacation.
There are many other things I love about the city - the layers of history in the buildings and streets, free access to museums, lots of theater, the history, the way people pause in the middle of their day for afternoon tea or in the evening for a pint at their local pub, did I mention the history? - but the feeling of peace and contentment, of belonging, that it gives me is what keeps me going back again and again.
Do you have a place you feel at peace? A place other than your home that you feel you belong? If so where is it?
Photo by Sophia Dunkin-Hubby