Country Bumpkin: How To Survive London
I would love to be one of these busy city girls that catches the tube every morning to work in a stylish outfit and coffee in my hand, but I’m not! Instead, when I do visit, I’m a sleepy haggard looking mess drilling up copious amounts of anxiety as I face the busy public transport and working my way round the streets relying on google maps to guide me every foot of the way.
Last weekend I travelled to London to visit some friends, which is the probably the only reason which drives me to travel up there. I do get the urge to visit the big city every now and then, but only to realise I love coming back home at the end of the day; back in to my breathing space. London has a current population of 8 million, which is truly insane if you think about it. It’s not hard to believe either when you’re caught in the middle of a rush during peak travel time – which is kind of all the time.
When I travel, which is from Bristol, I catch a National Express coach which have never let me down and provide some seriously comfy seats. It is quite pricey compared to other coach companies, but as travelling to London is so rare for me, I’ll treat as is if it’s my treat. When it comes to getting off your transport, be sure your friend/family member is waiting to meet you, or if you’re travelling alone, have your directions to your destination mapped out entirely beforehand. Nothing worse than getting off in an area you’ve never been before and then scrambling around on your phone hoping you’ve got enough 4G to figure out how to get from there.
As we all know, London prices aren’t like normal prices, so when staying over night somewhere see if you can find any good deals or a friend’s sofa. Be sure to bring some home comforts with you too. I’ve always gotten home sick over the stupidest things and I’ll never understand why, but as a backup, bring along your favourite book, your DS (yes, I still play with mine) and your headphones. Never forget your head phones. These things are also all very helpful for when taking the tube! I made sure I was listening to a light-hearted podcast while riding the underground (my current favourite is My Favourite Murder) whilst focusing on my breathing at the same time. If it ever gets too much, which it really can during the busy periods, just get off the train and wait at that station until it dies down and set foot on the next one. There are trains passing by every few minutes. The efficiency is amazing!
That day I was travelling to Waterloo, visiting my friend from Uni. We walked round the South Bank Christmas markets and drank mulled wine and ate greasy burgers. As the night closed in, we settled down in a cute little coffee shop, where we were the only people inside. It was as if we weren’t in London anymore and had been transported into a quiet village café filled with trinkets, baubles, a log fire and various house plants – that description probably sounds more like an elderly woman’s front room, which is even better! I did forget to mention that I had been suffering this whole day with a hangover from the night before, which probably wasn’t the best way to start my day of travelling through central London.
It’s always good for the mind and heart to push yourself and explore new things, even if you’re hesitant to. Busy, busy cities like London shall never be my city, it’s too commercial and chaotic but without a doubt definitely fun to visit. I’ll always have respect for the young people that work and live there, but it’s definitely something I could never do; so, kudos to all those out there living and surviving the London dream.