Three years ago, with my life at a crossroads, I boarded a one-way flight back to Australia and my two years living in London came to a severed, abrupt end. It’s a city I had fallen hard for, and desperately didn’t want to leave, but the visa laws made it impossible for me to do anything but depart. [Read this post for the back story.]
Three years on, although the now completely healed, far more travelled and (I’d like to think) better version of myself has fully made peace with that chapter, just say the word ‘London’ and my heartbeat will instantaneously quicken. It’s a place that I will always long for, in one way or another.
So, when an email popped up in September from the beautiful team at VisitBritain, expressing interest in working together, it was one of those moments that stopped me completely short – and despite a back-to-back schedule lined up to see out the rest of 2017, of course I immediately wrote back: yes! Although I’d visited London a number of times since returning to Australian life, this trip felt different. It felt a beautiful irony to be invited back, in a different time, and different life circumstance; something the wayward girl of three years ago could never had imagined possible.
So there I was, on 23 October, seated in the emergency exit row with all of the legroom ever, and ‘Fever to the Form’ playing in my ears, bound for a ten-day solo adventure for the soul.
My itinerary for the UK included a wonderful mix of both the intimately familiar London I knew and loved, and the London I had never before known. That’s the best thing about this city – you can choose your own adventure – and no matter the direction you wander, in the obliging, magical way that London always delivers in spades, I was in for the best few days ever, laden with amazing moments at every turn.
Wellness was a real focus for this trip, which was a refreshing way to experience the same city I once spent over two hours of commuting, a full day at work, and freelanced at either side of the day (anything but balanced!). On this trip, balance meant offsetting a bike ride with a hearty slice of Victoria sponge cake, and following up my sunset gin and tonics with a before-sunrise yoga class.
Here’s how I spent four days in London – wandering from West to East, and everywhere in between.