It’s finally arrived, my last evening in London. As I type this I’m surrounded by a flat full of stuff that needs to be sorted and packed but all I really want to do is absorb everything. For a few weeks now I’ve had the sensation that everything’s out of my control, like we’re hurtling full speed towards our departure date and I’m most certainly not the person in the driving seat. We may have finished work and said our goodbyes, but I still feel like I’ve yet to come to terms with leaving my city.
London – The City of Dreams
That’s what was written on my leaving card at work and it’s a pretty accurate description of how I feel about this city. For however dirty, grey and congested it can be, to me it’ll always be the place where your wildest dreams can be realised.
When we came to live in London over three years ago we were penniless ex-students. I had a Masters and a deep-rooted determination to write, but what felt like no hope of finding a job at the height of the recession. We’d just come back from a month of backpacking in Thailand and were fuelled with an itch to get back out on the road, but our bank accounts were empty and we could barely afford the rent – we thought our travel dreams would stay just that, dreams.
Somehow, though, things worked out. I got a job writing, we earned enough to save for this trip – we got where we are today. I know though, that I never would have survived or enjoyed these last few years of working and saving had we not been living in London. I cannot fully articulate why I feel the way I do about this city. I’ve tried writing about it before, but I can’t get to the heart of why London connects with me like nowhere else. Maybe I’ll never understand it; maybe I don’t need to.
As much as it hurts me to leave, I hope I carry that connection with me while we travel and most of all, wherever our journey takes us, I hope it leads us back here one day. Until then:
Goodbye, London – I’ll miss you