When I was a young girl, I used to love spending time with my grandfather. He used to tell me detailed stories of his trips abroad while I ate my lunch (I was a very slow eater!). While I was enthralled with every story, I found myself being especially fascinated by his tales about travelling to England, the country that had a King and a Queen, huge lush green parks and people who spoke a funny accent. ‘Would you like a cuppa tea?!’ he would ask me, imitating them.
My imagination went wild! I would imagine myself walking through the parks, speaking to the locals, visiting all the churches and sipping countless cups of tea. Could England really be that wonderful? Would my Imagination match reality?
Fast forward a couple of years of hard work and big dreams, I finally decided I was going to do it. I was going to put my imagination to the test. I was travelling to England.
On a warm sunny day in May, as Flight BA118 was getting ready to land in cloudy London, I had my nose pressed up against the foggy window. Travel sickness and jet lag forgotten all I could think of was how I wished I could pause time and soak in everything I was feeling. It was the perfect concoction of excitement, apprehension and awe. Wanderlust.
The lady at the immigration desk asked me what I planned on seeing in England. ‘EVERYTHING’, I said. In the month that followed, I did just that. From climbing the 538 steps of St Paul’s Cathedral to eating a hot dog while strolling through Green Park in the summer rain to getting a foam moustache from sipping Butter-beer at the Harry Potter studio tour to plotting my plan to return the Kohinoor diamond to India from the Tower of London. I visited the Roman baths in the city of Bath, climbed to the top of the stunning Bath Abbey, memorized all the stops on the tube, got lost in the vast gardens of the Hampton Court Palace, tipped every busker I saw, pretended I was making an important phone call inside the famous red phone booths, tried to make a Queen Guard laugh, stood speechless in front of the magnificent Big Ben, roamed the gardens of the Westminster Abbey, travelled in the river bus, took a ride in the cable car and walked the colorful streets of Notting Hill. The days disappeared almost as quickly as the memory space on my camera. My adventure was coming to an end.
As I boarded my flight to return back home I realized something. My imagination had failed me. Travelling to England was so much more magical than I could imagine. There were so many reasons this country will forever be ingrained in my memory. Its matchbox houses and intricate architecture, its cool summers and warm smiles, its green lawns and blue skies but most importantly, It was the birthplace of a new me. One that was not afraid of her dreams anymore because if this was where they lead me to then I’m just getting started!
Click here to read about the London palaces