The Spirited Wanderer: London / by Jessica Ballerstein

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|LONDON, ENGLAND|

I have always wanted to go to London. It was literally number one future travel destinations from the time I was 16 years old. Initially, I wanted to take this trip with my high school friends but after years of talking about it, I realized the truth. The truth was this never was going to happen if I rely on them. Everyone was busy adulting. Either getting married, working, in school for the whole year, or just flat out broke. All of which was completely understandable but then I asked myself where does that leave me and my dream of going to London. 

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For the next couple years, I started to think London would have to wait until I'm rich. (Speaking my richness into existence). Then finally, all my hard work paid off! I became rich! End of story. Haha, no I wish. Let's rewind.

Then finally, all my hard work paid off. I kept moving up the ladder at work and was promoted twice in a year. I then made enough money to pay my bills and live my life. However, I didn't realize it until month's later when I was stuck in one of the most depressing times of my life. I needed an escape. A place where I'll be able to explore & reflect. 

My first thought was Dublin, Ireland. That idea was shut down by a brief phone call with my friend Jake. When I told him about the possible trip to Dublin, he was so confused, he said "Dublin? what the hell is in Dublin? If you're going to come all this way you might as well come visit me in London." DUH! Within 3 weeks I was able to book and plan my flight to London. 

The first thing I booked were the tickets. The tickets roundtrip was cheaper than I expected. Every time I looked at tickets for London in the past it was always close or over $1000. Miraculously, I was able to find tickets for about $800 roundtrip in August! I took that as a green light to jet set to England!

The next thing I booked was accommodations. Unfortunately, this was before I knew about Airbnb so my only affordable option at the time was a hostel. Like I've said in the past I'm not picky on where I lay my head. As long as the price is right, with no bed bugs, or bugs at all for that matter, I'm all set. For my week stay at the hostel, it cost me roughly about $80. The hostel was Central London, it was a short walk accessing the pubs, Tower Bridge, many other attractions and most importantly The Tube station. Although a lot of places were walkable, having access to public transportation is pretty essential to traveling around London. 

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I was off! Traveling alone like a BOSS to motherf**king London! The first thing I did when I arrived was get trashed! Just kidding! That was the second thing I did after I went for a walk with Jake towards Tower Bridge. It was such a breathtaking moment. The whole scenery was beautiful just like I imagined. I literally pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. 

The next couple days I toured all the major landmarks. Walking along the River Thames seeing the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and more. I was also able to visit different towns in London like Hampstead Heath, Camden Lock and a few more. My favorite area hands down was Camden Lock there was so much art and culture in that area. I still think about it til this day. I was able to have different kinds of food from the Middle east, Asia, Africa within a strip. Numerous unique shops, boutiques and art galleries. The pubs and attractions were along a canal. Grabbed street food and sat leisurely as boats passed by. 

The second to last day I was able to see infamous St. Pauls Cathedral. The most hair-raising time of my trip in England. Around 3 am Jake and I decided to do more sight seeing and the first place on the list was St.Pauls Cathedral. When we made the decision to go I was a bit uninterested, it was more like something to check off my list. BOY! We were speechless! It was the eeriest thing we've ever encountered! Let me remind you it was 3 am in the morning, not a soul around except us, staring at this building that has been there for 300 years! We didn't want to leave, we wanted to bask in this moment, a moment we'll probably never be able to see or feel. The elusive sense of mystery drew us in the atmosphere. Like someone just dropped us in a horror movie right before shit hits the fan. 

The next couple of days I continued sightseeing and taking pictures. Visited the Museums such as the Science and Victoria & Albert Museum. It was pretty cool to visit and learn more about London's History. I also took another trip to Camden Lock so I can take another look before my departure. I took the opportunity to grab some souvenirs for myself and friends. I made sure I got myself a ring (I love rings) that will constantly remind me of the unforgettable trip. In total, I would say I spent $1400 for the week in London. That included: airfare, accommodations, meals, and public transportation. It was all well worth it, I'll be definitely planning a trip soon now that tickets have become cheaper. Seize the opportunity while you're still able!  

 

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