Every day it becomes increasingly obvious to me that the goals I set for myself don’t really match up to the general population. I can’t say I’m above the peer pressure to get married, start a family, and buy a house with a white picket fence. But I have to keep myself in check. The American Dream isn’t MY dream. I’m not driven by the material. I’m driven by intangible feelings, memories of experiences, fresh people, meaningful relationships, things that keep me inspired. See, I have this list of things I want to do before I die, and going back to Europe has always been on that list. Now that I’ve crossed off that bullet point, I feel so… accomplished. Empowered. I’m on the right track and anxious to see what else I can do if I put my mind to it.
Let’s be real here: Getting overseas this time around was a nightmare. Although I have NEVER been so stressed or disappointed planning a vacation, I learned from it. At the end of all this, I’ll be a seasoned pro when it comes to travel. It was as if all the set-backs allowed us to appreciate the trip even more when the loose ends finally did come together.
A lot of people asked me why I chose London.
I’ve been there before. I’ve been all over Europe, so I knew where I DIDN’T want to go. London always held a special place in my heart as the first European city I ever visited. If you’ve never been there, picture the hustle and bustle of New York City. Okay, now take out the roaches, the rats, the filthy streets, and the odor. Make the city so clean that you have to walk for blocks just to find a trash can. Then replace the buildings with magnificent medieval cathedrals and gothic gargoyles that make modern architecture look downright primitive. Replace the NYC accents with “proper” British-English, and then take the melting pot we are so proud of in America and triple it. You’ll hear people speaking German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, English, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and any number of African dialects on the same street, at the same time, multiple times a day, and eventually you won’t even think twice about it. London takes all the positive aspects of younger American cities and it doubles them, then adds its own flair, its own reasons for pride that are much different from our own. It’s both familiar and new, and I think that’s why I was drawn back for more after all these years.
I’ve seen some amazing things. The photographs are posted on MySpace and Facebook. I won’t give a play-by-play of the trip because I feel like I did a pretty good job with my photo-journalism. I can’t find words that are worthy for some of them; you’ll just have to SEE them. Besides, these kinds of things are more exciting to talk about in person 😀