Monday, April 28, 2014

Alone in London I learned

The hairdresser who cut my hair before I left Toronto said I would learn a lot about myself when I travelled alone. He was the first person to include the word "alone". Most people had just been saying I would learn a lot about myself on my travels.

I spent today alone in London and what I have learned is:

  • I can go for very long periods of time without needing to speak. I'm normally a very chatty person, so I thought this would feel strange, but it didn't because I was carrying on full conversations with myself in my head. Being alone made the sound of my voice less important. 
  • I'm a good navigator and can find my way back to places I've only seen once. I wandered without a map and didn't get lost. 
  • I can walk all day and not get tired.
  • I can explore a place on a very tight budget without a problem.The most expensive part of my day was visiting Westminster Abbey, but I managed to get the student rate because I convinced the ticket taker that I was doing my PhD in English Literature. Some of the most entertaining parts of my day were free of charge - people watching and listening in on everyday conversations are sometimes better than theatre (like right now there are two men in the Leathermarket Park talking about their Chinos and the Swedish Tinder app.)  
  • I get frustrated when I'm told I'm not allowed to take photos. The frustration is so bad that it borderlines on anxiety. 
  • I look people in the eye when they speak to me and this tends to surprise people. It either makes them happy and they hold my gaze and smile, or they become nervous and look away.
  • I can't ignore practices I was raised with. When a minister at Westminster Abbey led the chapel in prayer I automatically said "amen" at the end even though I didn't mean to and  no longer consider myself religious. Some old habits are like the damned - they never die. 
  • I am fine on my own. 

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