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Leaving London

"Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." — Samuel Johnson

I still have two weeks left here. As long as some people’s entire trips abroad. But for me, I can’t help but be acutely aware of how quickly this time will pass.

It’s bittersweet.

After falling in love with it and dreaming of coming back to it more than a decade ago, I know how lucky I am to say that London has been home to me now for more than three months. I can’t believe all I have learned about it in this short time and all I still could learn.

Every time I’m out and about I find myself thinking – or often saying aloud – it’s endless! Endless sights, streets, neighborhoods, shops, restaurants, markets, parks, pubs…it really does go on and on.

As I look back, although I often fretted in the moment, I really settled pretty efficiently into a nice little life here. A few tricks I learned:

  • Carve out a space of my own where I can read or think or write or even indulge my habit of watching too much Netflix while eating too many biscuits (which makes me feel slightly better than saying cookies).

  • Find a yoga class, because yoga offers a uniquely perfect blend of physical activity, a sense of community without needing to know a soul, and a lovely feeling of well-being.

  • Setting a project to the side for a time is not the same as abandoning it and sometimes, it is necessary to ultimately get where you want to go.

Some themes have emerged as well.

These are certainly not new to me. They are lessons I have learned already many times, but they often seem new to me in new situations. It takes time to recognize them once again. Oh yes, remember? You’ve seen this before. Time to be reminded to adjust your expectations.

  • There is no endpoint in building routine and structure or managing work and life. It needs to be given regular attention and be allowed to adapt and evolve.

  • Relationship isn’t about entirely preventing the effect others have on you, it’s about purposefully surrounding yourself with others whose effect on you is positive.

  • Avoiding disappointment isn’t possible, the real goal is being able to come back from it.

Now though, alas, it’s nearly time to move on from here and dive into the unknown of the next leg in my adventure.

But this, my friends, is also the sweet part, as I’ll finally be getting back to the place where this all began as I spend the next three months in beautiful Valencia, Spain!

Since my first visit there I have also been dreaming of this amazing country. Its language. Its food. Its people. It is a place where you can physically feel yourself slowing down. A place where appreciating life is a way of life. Where rest is literally a daily imperative.

While London has been a bustle of excitement and experience and adventure, Valencia promises to offer something softer, something gentler. And while there are parts of my London life I leave behind hopefully not for good, this change, for the moment is not entirely unwelcome.

With that then I'll say adiós and hasta luego and share a few last photos from this fantastic place.

I feel differently about the story of Peter Pan than I did once, but I was still interested to see this famous statue in Kensington Gardens.

From Greewich Park, there are the most spectacular views of London. Here, you see the cluster of Canary Wharf in the background, with the twin domes of the Old Royal Naval College, and the expansive colonnades of the Queen's House just in front.

The Royal Observatory Greenwich. The line through the cobblestones is the Greenwich Meridian - the historic prime meridian or the line that divided the west from the east.

The iconic Seven Sisters along the southern coast of England. I've been on some truly beautiful hikes, but this one was indeed special.

The Beachy Head Lighthouse along the Seven Sisters hike. In case you're wondering, yes, for most of the way I did feel like I was walking through a postcard.

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