Saturday, 30 July 2016

Things I Will Miss About London

With a keen sense that we now have a very finite time left in London (4 weeks to be exact) I am suddenly feeling a rush of appreciation for this home away from home. It's very easy to complain about London what with it's high living costs, gloomy weather and heavy work culture however there are certainly things that I am sure I'll look back on and miss.

- Summer fruits. I bought a 550g punnet of cherries yesterday for £1.79. And they are bloody delicious too. Thank you cheap Spanish imports.

- Sun. OK so there's about 10 proper days of sun a year. But those days are seared on your memory for the rest of the year. Because you cannot help but frolic and picnic and feel a palpable sense of joy and appreciation. You never take the sun for granted here.

- People. Lively conversations and a variety of people from all walks of life are a highlight at any London BBQ. When you finally find a way 'in', people are generally very welcoming and open.

-Travelling. Two hours by plane in any direction and you will yourself in a completely different culture with amazing food. It's pretty easier and affordable to fly further afield to the States or Asia if you're organised about it. Travelling is pretty convenient and last year alone we were able to go to Spain, Abu Dhabi, Italy, Farne Island, Greece, New York and Austria. 

-Opportunity. There's chances for real personal and career growth here. But you have to work at it. I've had a great variety of opportunities and would never have gotten as far as I have back in Sydney. I've also saved a decent amount despite all the travelling we've done (thanks to work giving me a flat and a car).

- Exploring. After three years I don't feel like I know the whole city and even now find myself in new parts of town I didn't know existed. Plus there are always new pop ups and events happening.

- Drinking it up. Yes the drinking culture is widespread here so it's perfectly natural to enjoy drink down at the park or on some rooftop somewhere.

- Public Transport. When I do have to catch public transport it's never a drama what with tube coming every 2 minutes, plenty of busses and the ever helpful citymapper. Also, being so flat, bike riding is pretty easy too.

So you can see that there was enough to entice us to take on that extra year after our Tier 5 visa's expired but perhaps not enough to keep us here til our new visa's were due to expire in 2017. But now, we feel ready. It's the final countdown.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

What Next?

Two months. Then we're off again. I'm so excited. This year was panning out to be pretty awful what with my poor broken back, long working hours and an apparently endless London Winter. But now we get to get back into the swing of travelling again. And suddenly, my soul is lifted.

The general idea is do some relaxed Europe travelling. One week in London, another week out. So I finish up work end of August. And the next day we'll be flying to Iceland. It's always been one of those destinations everyone raves about. It's savage natural beauty. So unencombered by human interference. What a contrast to the heaving frenzy of London. I plan on taking a very deep breath. Just in and out. That's all I want life. Simplicity. 

Next will hopefully be a sunshine filled visit to Croatia. Then cheering on Kevin at his 4th marathon in Berlin and checking out the much raved about Budapest and Prague. Then it's a final hurrah in the Netherlands where Kevin will cheering on his fellow runners at the Amsterdam marathon - yes he's that dedicated to the game. 

And last but not least fulfilling a long awaited desire to see animals. Lots of them. In the wild. In Africa. For maybe 6 weeks. Because why not. Because life. Because time has been freed like air rushing out of a balloon. So much time. Not compressed into small compartments I have to beg the rota lady for. Squeezed and pushed into neat, convenient cubes. 

So that's 3 months of travel in the pocket. And the best part? Going back to Sydney. Going home. I look forward to my first Summer thunderstorm. To my body board purchase. To sun and waves and so much laughter. I'll hug my dog. And swim in salt water. And hear my dad's voice and eat my mum's food. And I'll appreciate it so much more for being 3 years without. To be within again.