Memory a day #21 – London on foot

15 hours in London by foot! I know, how did that happen? I arrived in London at about 9 am from Coventry where I was studying in 2009. I met up with a family friend who was kind enough to hold my luggage for the next two weeks while I travelled some of Europe. I was to meet my girlfriend at the time the next day at Heathrow airport, so at 10 am I was on my own to explore. I watched the piles of tourists hustling about taking photos and taking in the scenery. I found a map from tourist stop and decided to see a few attractions myself. On the map the attractions were pictured so close together and every time I would get to an attraction the next attraction just seemed so close and that’s why I kept deciding to skip the bus and tube line. But you tend to forget how big London is. I walked and I walked. I carried my big backpack. I ate. I sat. I took photographs. I watched more people. I got lost at some point where I found I was talking to myself. I was getting a bit delusional after about 6 hours of wandering and I was very tired. At this point I hadn’t yet figured out where I was going to sleep so I found an internet cafe and was able to book a hostel near the express train to Heathrow. I still had the whole night so I found a restaurant where they served hookah so I can spend some time eating and some time smoking. I did just that. The grand total for the two items you ask? About $50! At that point it didn’t bother me. As long as I was able to sit for a while and eat away some time I was happy. I can’t really remember what I did for the next few hours but I finally made my way to the hostel at about 1 am. I felt bad for my room mates who were fast asleep while I was trying to organize my bag and take a shower. The next day I met an older gentleman and his son who were staying in my room and had left everything behind and were travelling the world together. I had never backpacked before that point and that was my introduction to such realities. It was my first inspiration to lead me to think about a life as a backpacker. I thought about it over breakfast and then I was off to meet my girlfriend and explore some more of Europe together. This would be my first taste of backpacking and a trial run to see how I liked it. I can say it’s been pretty much the only consistent thought in my mind since.

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