After spending the last several days sauntering around London (and the last three weeks sauntering around the UK), I’ve come to the sad realization that tomorrow I will be boarding the first of many shiny metal lawn darts that will define 2018 as I make my way back to Toronto. Boo. So much boo.
If you are expecting me to write that I’m ready to return home after an adventure that saw me travel from London, to Swansea, to Liverpool, to Glasgow, to Gairloch, to Edinburgh, to Leeds, and finally back to London, well, then you don’t know me all that well. I am anything but ready to return home.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my home. I love Guelph. And I’m excited to see my family and my friends, and I’m looking forward to being able to spend copious amounts of time snuggling with the wee fuzzball. But I can’t help shake the awful feeling that I get in the pit of my stomach every time I leave somewhere. I’ve written about this feeling before – it’s the opposite of being homesick – it’s travel-sick; that feeling of constantly wanderlusting and wanting to return to travel whenever I can. And it never seems to go away. And it always seems to be strongest when I have to return home after a particularly amazing adventure.
I’m honestly not surprised that I’m feeling the travel-sickness so strongly in relation to my time in London. This city is amazing. Every street, every corner, ever park has been new and amazing and full of incredible architecture. The Camden and Portabello Street markets were a sensory overload of vibrant sights, sounds, smells, and flavours that called to me like the Sirens’ song. The local pubs were stocked with incredible local craft beers, and some of the best dry ciders I think I’ve ever had. And did I mention the pies?
I also spent a significant amount of my time geeking out at the Science Museum, and the Natural History Museum – both free to the public1 – because how could I not? Fossils, electricity, volcanoes, earthquakes, bugs, birds, fish, technology, mathematics, and treating wounds during the war – all some of the exhibits that reminded me why I love learning. There’s so much of it to do, and the more I learn the more I’m inspired by the great minds of the past (and present). And the more I realize that I have an amazing job that allows me a potential seat at that table. And did I mention that it was free to the public? We need more of this.
When I wasn’t eating, taking in markets, or sampling local ciders or beers, and when I wasn’t geeking out in the various museums, I was walking. The Eye of London, the Marble Arch, the Wellington Arch, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Regent’s Park, Hyde Park, Big Ben, Oxford Street, Harrods, Baker Street Station, 221b Baker Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral, The Ten Bells Bar, and retracing the murderous path of Jack the Ripper – I walked, and walked, and walked, and every single step was incredible2. I wish I had more time to continue my walkabout, because I think I could spend years walking this city and still find new and amazing things.
But of course, adventures can’t last forever3, and I do have a job that isn’t just going to do itself. And I really do love what I get to do and am so excited to get back to it because there are so many cool things that will be happening this semester. And now that I feel rejuvenated, and centred, and rested, I’m ready to sink my teeth into them.
Still, I can’t help but feel a little sad that my time in London is coming to an end.
Thank you, London for an amazing adventure. And huge thanks to Aidan, Amanda, and Corey for making it such a fantastic vacation. You nerds are alright.
1 Although I did pay via donation because science needs our support in this age of seemingly racing to the bottom through the embrace of idiocracy, the lowest common denominator, and Trumpish beliefs.
2 I do, however, have several blisters because of all the walking. Since Saturday, December 30th, I’ve walked about 80 km (according to my phone), with more than 23 of those kilometres walked yesterday alone.
3 Or can they?