Note: this is probably not the most curated post I’ve ever written, I’m extremely sleep deprived but I wanted to get it out while it was still fresh in my head.
This day last week was a hard one. Not in terms that something bad had happened but I was struggling to keep myself motivated to do anything. At all. I was bored. My job had finished and everything else was gradually coming to an end or were just simply unsatisfying. So on a whim, I booked a four day trip to London.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a natural response when I want to “get away from things”. It’s just for once in my life, I had the means and the funds to do it. So why the f*** not.
I knew this was something I needed to do. I needed four days to be on my own, no social media, no getting involved in drama or problems, just four days in one of my favourite cities doing what I wanted to do, eat what I wanted to eat, and see what I wanted to see.
It was damn hard though. Finding a hotel room a mere three days before you go away, especially in May, is difficult. Flights going out were affordable, flights coming home were not – everyone wanted to come home on Saturday night, when I had no choice but to.
This was also an experiment for myself, a challenge of sorts. Could I successfully fund my first holiday and still be able to financially sustain myself after. Could I handle being away on my own, with no means of extra cash if something went wrong, or having no one to call if I got into some sort of trouble? Essentially, could I take all this responsibility into my own hands. I’d flown on my own before, several times, but usually to places where I’d stay with friends, or flown with other people. So this idea of a solo holiday was totally alien to me.
I was very fortunate growing up that I travelled as much as I did. My parents adore travelling so from a very young age I was carted around Europe and the U.S. in the back seat of our car. I used to find them boring – why did everyone else go to Portugal and sit on the beach whilst I had to endure the Roman amphitheatres of the south of France? But as I got older, and explored more of the world, I began to appreciate what I’d been given at a young age – a taste for different cultures. I’m lucky to have explored so much of the world at a young age and become engrossed in it. I even took a hand in planning once I hit 15.
So, London was somewhere we’d make annual trips to, so I was familiar enough with it to know what to do or where to go if something went wrong.
What I learned:
I didn’t miss social media as much as I thought I would
I quit Twitter from the Sunday to the following Saturday (yesterday) and hardly thought about it. I did use it once the Manchester Attack story broke, just to keep up with what was happening, but after that, I barely touched it. I used Instagram to keep in touch with my family but that was it. I switched off all notifications for messenger, snapchat, instagram, emails, everything. Left my mac at home, one less thing to haul around.
I’m impatient around public transport
I mean, who isn’t when you’re in a colossal crowd and everything is go, go, go! I also tend to feel a little lost in these situations and panic.
People are nervous
This is a given. There’s a sense of tension and being on high alert no matter where you go. Large crowds are uncomfortable, everyone is keeping an eye on each other. There’s an increase in armed policemen in the main attractions and, naturally, a huge coverage of the Manchester attacks across all major newspapers. Things may not be like this long-term but this was what the impression I got from my few days.
I’m not as self conscious when I’m away
I sweated buckets but didn’t particularly care what I looked like probably because a) I wasn’t going to see anyone I knew b) everyone was sweating buckets c) the city is so big that you are a mere one among millions. No. One. Cares. If. You. Look. Gross.
I, and so many people, deserve much better
The realisation that you shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time out for yourself and that you deserve so much better than you allow yourself to have was a big one. I came back feeling a lot less pent up about things, less worrying, not less caring. But knowing that no matter what happened, something better would come was reassuring.
Photos are timeless
Take as many as you can
You can find more on my instagram right here
I’d recommend taking time out for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a different country or even a different city. Even a stay-at-home holiday where you get off social media and dedicate time to yourself could be invaluable to you and your health.
PS, I went to the Portobello Street Market yesterday, which was only two streets away from my hotel, and picked up something I’d been eyeing up ever since Will and Kate got engaged. Simply gorgeous.
ALSO SPOTTED THIS ABSOLUTE GEM
YES, YOU’RE WELCOME.