I’m a planner. Anytime I go somewhere new, I know the directions to my destination, the amount of time it will take to get there, the amount of time I anticipate on staying, and the most efficient option for my return journey. While this is safe, I’ve already learned that this approach is more than impractical throughout my stay in London.
Since I’ve had this paradigm since I became old enough to plan my own itineraries, it’s quite odd that I’d choose to abandon my safe ways in Europe of all places. As much as I’d like to say that I made a personal decision to break out of my shell, the choice was far from mine. After trying to plan a couple excursions, it became clear that I was extremely bad at navigating through London and even worse at coming up with a decent idea of how long the trips would last, and I had to give up. This realization is easily the best thing that’s happened to me so far.
One of the greatest parts of London so far has been my inability to find my way. I’m shocked that I can actually say this. Despite the occasional frustration and walks that frequently last far longer than they ought, I’ve discovered some of the most incredible things because I was lost. From stumbling onto Piccadilly Circus to walking into my new favorite coffee shop just to get a quick bit of caffeine, I’ve started discovering my London…totally by mistake.
My goal for this semester was to truly see the culture. I thought, at first, that I could accomplish this quickly by planning out every free minute I had. Thankfully, I couldn’t have been more wrong. So, next time I find myself in the Burrough Market or in a dubstep club in the heart of East London by chance or on a whim, I’ll just remember to embrace the fact that I can never come up with a sufficient itinerary to see what I truly want to experience.