When I try and think of my favorite travel experience, my mind goes numb and I’m forced to ride through various memories that include cute accents, long car rides, short plane rides and eclectic restaurants. Normally, the feeling of adventure that returns is soon shattered when I look down and see I haven’t completed my near-impossible math test. Although, when my ride of nostalgia is complete, I always get off at the same place: London, England.
I’ve traveled to this majestic city twice in my lifetime, the second being March 2012. As soon as my mother, father and I stepped off of the plane, I knew something about this trip was special. Having been my mother’s first time out of North America, she had no trouble with paying the cab driver an arm for a ride into the City of London versus riding the (much less expensive) tube. Since my mom is technologically challenged, I took it upon myself to snap photos of almost everything that zoomed by our cab window.
My dad had business in the city, so we stayed at the more than lovely Hilton London Tower Bridge with a sky bar, glass walls and iMacs in every room. While these things were extremely nice, I must say that the best part of this hotel was the free cookies available 24 hours at the front desk – guaranteed warm.
What I hadn’t noticed last time in the city, was how international it was. I expected tourists from all over to gawk at the setting up of the Olympic Games (which, I must admit, other than the big countdown clock in Trafalgar Square, they weren’t as grand as I hoped) or indulge in the magic that surrounds the history of London, but I didn’t expect to run into so many people from different parts of the world who resided in London. We met one man working at a tube ticket booth from Persia, and another bartender from way down under in Sydney. It was amazing to see how so many different people and cultures make up the modern day London, versus historic London which resided queens and Catholic reform.
Although, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment of this adventure that will stay with me forever. Throughout the entire experience I knew that this wasn’t just a vacation, but a small window into my future. I have always pictured myself living in London, although before it seemed like a fantasy, in which Peter Pan would be flying off to Neverland in the distance, and the Doctor would be barging down the door of my flat asking for my help in battling aliens. When I was finally in this city with my parents, I saw that this dream in which I had lived in for so long would be possible. Maybe it was my father’s laughter as three bus agencies argued for his business in the street, or maybe it was my mother’s face when her fish and chips were served with “mushy peas”, or maybe it was something as minuscule as being crammed together in a smelly but friendly tube train, but something provoked a large puzzle piece to connect in my brain. I knew if I worked diligently in my remaining years of education, the tunnel would end at the same stop my nostalgic roller coaster ride did – London.
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