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Goodbye Mum!

UNITED KINGDOM | Thursday, 31 May 2012 | Views [448]

There is nothing quite like arriving in a city on the other side of the world, by yourself. Much to the embarrassment my mother was putting me through at the airport, I was eventually allowed to board a plane and leave on my first ever trip abroad. I was only 18 and had been convinced by my older “smarter and wiser” cousin that I just had to come to London after high school. It did not take much to convince me. All the talk of pubs, clubs and shopping was all I needed to hear. I saved every penny. So once I was finally free from the clutches of my parents, I was gone!

I have to admit I was scared. I was alone on a plane for what seemed like days. Once I reached Heathrow this is when it truly sunk in that I was on the other side of the world! I have never felt such a thrill of excitement before! I could do whatever I wanted now. All of the things I had been planning were now going to become a reality.

First thing first though, I needed to find my cousin so I could start to settle in what would be my new life for the rest of the year. Once he found me at the airport he took me back to the house I was going to stay in. In my dreams I thought I was going to stay in Buckingham Palace but no, this place was a hole. No, worse than a hole. It was a dirty run down share house that smelt like cigarettes, beer and other unidentifiable smells that made you think about the colour brown.  The only thing that made up for the horrors that this house had to offer was my new roomies; two boys, one girl and of course my cousin. They were all London locals and so they knew the city quite well. They really took me under their wings as I was the youngest of the group.

Well, I wouldn’t really say they looked after me. Of course they made sure that I never wandered off and became lost or that no harm came to little ole me. But they certainly encouraged me to come out of my shell. On my first night in London, they took me out for my first experience of London nightlife. As you can imagine, the combination of jet lag and copious amounts of alcohol meant I didn’t last long at all. In fact, for at least a week until I settled in, most nights ended like this. My new family had taken me to all of their favourite clubs and bars. As I had just turned 18, I had never experienced anything like it. And I still haven’t! Nothing back home can compare to the types of places that they have there. For me it was a celebration of my new found freedom and a mark of my independence.

When you’re enjoying yourself, it is strange how quickly time seems to escape you. What I regret most about my time in London, is that I didn’t get to experience and see all that this beautiful country had to offer. During the day time at least that is. Whilst I was busy drinking and being merry, I lost my chance to see London’s art galleries and travel more widely around the country. I don’t think I wasted my opportunity completely, but as I’ve become older I realise that there is more to appreciate with travelling. My motives have now changed. It is no longer about going somewhere to party every night and leave with a headache. I want to appreciate and experience unique cultures, dine of exotic cuisines and learn a foreign language.

 I came back completely different. I was no longer a shy timid youngster. I found myself over there. It definitely was an experience that will stay with me. Most nights are a just a hazy memory, but it’s not those nights that are important. Experiencing new places and meeting people who you develop bonds with that will last a life time is what makes a journey like this worth the while. Traveling by yourself is an eye opener. I’m glad I had people there who I could count on, to watch over me and to make sure my mischief was managed.

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