My first real memory of London was a little before 6am on Christmas Day in 2011. I remember walking out of the hostel onto the grey streets to find them completely deserted except for a handful of homeless. It was dead quiet, pretty cold and I was a little bit concerned about the lack of people around – it made me uneasy.
Why was I wandering the streets so early? To partake in one of Peter Berthoud’s famous Christmas Day walks, of course. We roamed the completely empty streets of London in the early hours of the morning and it was on that day that I fell in love with the city.
I wrote at the time, “I really love it here – the city is so beautiful and old and different to every other city I’ve been to”. I remember feeling the history, realising that my home town of Melbourne was far more derivitive than I’d ever known and just feeling an overwhelming sense of belonging. Without romanticizing it too much, it just felt like a place I was meant to be.
Since that first trip, I’ve relentlessly pursued a more permanent move to the city. Three years and a completed Master’s degree later, it’s finally happening. It feels pretty surreal at this point and I’m equal parts excited beyond belief and a little bit out of breath. I’m at a point in my life where the risk is relatively minimal and I have the luxury of freedom to travel the world as I please (to an extent…) and for that I feel truly grateful.
It may be two years, it may be more or it may just be the start of many more exciting places to come. It really feels like the world is only just opening up to me and I cannot wait to get started!