I’m sitting in a north London flat drinking red wine after just grabbing my favorite naan for 1 Quid from the shop that’s between my tube stop and the apartment and I’m wishing that I wasn’t already leaving for Rome tomorrow. My time here is never long enough. It’s like Paris in that way.
Now, my London isn’t of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace or a luxury hotel with to-die-for views. It’s the curry places, the vintage clothes to be sourced in pop-up markets, the artisan coffee shops, the long walls of abundant street art in dodgy parts of town, the places that still sell working-film-cameras, the pubs tourists don’t go in the neighborhoods tourists don’t know about and the little corner outside Kings Cross station that will forever mean something to me which cannot be put into words – written or spoken.
I believe that sometimes travel bloggers concentrate so much on Top 10 Lists and hotel reviews that they forget travel should be about more than ticking off lists and going wherever others recommend. London is one of the places I travel to again and again because I can be traveling but be without some of the burdens that come from always being in a new place and on assignment to report every detail.
I actually once thought the English only drank tea. Then, my friend Rick kindly took me on a coffee tour of London and I discovered the Flat White. I’ve since discovered I owe my love of that to Australians. I owe my new understanding and knowledge to Rick. To London, I owe my apologies for thinking it could ever be so narrow minded as to not embrace both tea and coffee.
I won’t make you a list of my favorite haunts in this diverse city. I’m keeping them to myself! I want to urge you to travel in such a way that sometimes you slow down and find the spots which you will never reveal, urge you to take time to learn and not just see, even urge you to skip Big Ben all together in favor of making your way slowly through neighborhoods that might be on the far edge of safe. I think it’s when we allow ourselves the opportunity to return to destinations we have visited before to see them in new ways and to really see them, not just race through them, that we do the most justice to the opportunities we have to travel.
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