London: Crossing the Pond/Settling In

My journey across the pond began at 9:00 am CST (Central Standard Time) on June 15th as I was whisked away to the Nashville International Airport. I finally settled into my flat in London at 4:00 pm BST (British Summer Time) on June 16th (10:00 am CST). As an Accounting major who plans to deal with numbers for a living, I can tell you that it took me 25 hours from the time that I left my home in Nashville, Tennessee to the time I finally reached my flat in London. As a person with a biological need for rest, I can tell you that my journey took a very long time. I arrived at the Nashville airport at 10:00 am to discover that my suitcase was ten pounds too heavy. After putting my suitcase through the luggage version of Weightwatchers, I was able to check my bag and enter through security. Although my first flight should have left Nashville around 1:00 pm, it did not depart until 2:00 pm. With my flight’s one-hour delay, I had to take a shuttle and sprint through the Newark, New Jersey airport to be able to board in time for my flight to London which was leaving fourteen minutes earlier than scheduled. As you can tell, my trip got off to a “roaring” start.

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The flight across the Atlantic Ocean itself was not extremely long. I was in the air for under seven hours, which is about how long it would take for me to drive to the beach from Nashville. In my mind, crossing the Atlantic Ocean seemed like it would be a long, excruciating voyage, but to my surprise this part felt the shortest, causing me to realize that the world is not as big as our minds make it out to be. The sum of the parts that my journey was comprised of took a long time, sure, but actually going from the USA to London was rather simple. After trekking through the London Heathrow Airport, passing through customs, and retrieving my bag, I hopped onto the Heathrow Express which dropped me right in the middle of London.

Although I arrived at my accommodation at 8:30 am BST, I could not access my room until 4:00 pm BST. Here I am in a foreign city, sleep-deprived, alone, and without anywhere to go. What sounds like a very stressful situation actually wound up being very enjoyable. I decided to explore my new neighborhood, Clerkenwell (on the East-end of London), and beyond. After walking for about fifteen minutes, I turned a corner and I saw this magnificent, old, building with a green dome. As I got closer I realized that I had stumbled upon St. Paul’s Cathedral (pictured). I was in awe, because less than a day ago I was in my home in West Nashville, and now here I am standing in front of one of London’s treasures. This provided yet another reminder that the world is not all that large – you just have to get out there and explore it. I turned and saw the Millennium Bridge (known from Harry Potter), so I crossed the Thames and stumbled upon Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, yet another historic treasure. I was beginning to get tired from walking, so I took a seat at a café on the Thames with a cup of coffee.

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I passed the remainder of the time until 4:00 pm meeting new friends and catching up with friends I knew who were also staying in London over the summer. I finally settled into my flat (pictured) at 4:00 pm and relaxed, thinking that my journey was finally over. However, what I soon remembered was that my two-month journey had just begun. Having never traveled abroad before, I learned the surprising lesson that the world is easier to explore than we often think. As someone who enjoys company on my travels, this start to my journey was very growing for me to have to travel and explore some on my own. I recommend whoever is reading this to do so as well sometime.

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