Oh hello to all my 27 followers! How are we this afternoon ? I say afternoon because it’s currently 13.36 Colombian time and I’m on the first of my buses en route to Salento. This particular bus is taking 9 hours, and just like always, there’s some funny stories to go along with it – mainly starting from giving into my packing phobia and getting persuaded to go out last night – unpacked – returning at 1.30am to pack in a silent room with a sleeping man (yes I was that annoying traveller, rummaging around with a phone light and very slowly opening my locker with the squeakiest sound) before waking at 6.30am for my bus.
Anyhow, you’ll just have to read my next post for an intro into Colombia won’t cha! (Most probably coming up straight after this because I do have 9 hours to kill and hey, it’s your weekend treat!)
So let’s chat about the craziest 12 days I had in London when I flew back from Sevilla on 7th November at 11pm. I know, I haven’t written since then, I apologise to you all and also how are we so far into November now like eh?! What is going on.
So London – 7th November. The first thing that hit me when I got to the airport was the fact that London is GREY. Well, specifically Gatwick. Also, it was really odd for me to go to Marks and Spencer, I don’t know why. It just seemed a hell of a lot less colourful and fun than shopping at Más in Sevilla where they have orange juice makers and really cheap dairy free almond chocolate. Who wants an M&S orange and passion fruit packaged juice and super gourmet chocolate for a billion pounds when you can make FRESH orange juice and buy a litre of it and eat cheap almond chocolate sin lactosa for half the price? (Sorry in advance to M&S, they’re still my favourite supermarket and their gluten free egg mayo sandwiches rock but still, no orange juice maker? Get to know).
Anyway, I get to Gatwick feeling super weird because everything feels so different but I’m feeling excited/nervous/slightly overwhelmed and looking forward to the next 12 days which I’m aware are going to be disgustingly busy. How? Well, knowing I had lots of things to do, I tried to make a schedule based on the locations I was going to be in. Bare in mind, not only have I got to catch up with friends and family who I haven’t seen in the last two months, I’ve got to actually start buying and packing for an endless round the world trip. Whilst I’ve been backpacking to many random places over the years, how does anyone pack for a trip where you haven’t got time to look at the climate of any place you’re going to, make sure you’ve got enough clothes for freezing cold and very warm hikes AND find a backpack that fits you well? Es imposible. Let me give some sort of indication of what my 12 days in London looked like. I had to…
… get home, see my family, see my best friends, see my friends, see my Grandma, see my Bibi (other Grandma), help my mum organise the marquee in the garden for 60+ people for my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary, work out what I needed for clothes for this trip, GET to outdoor shops to buy said clothes, return said clothes and go to other outdoor shops for other clothes, find a new backpack, return new backpack to other store across London because it was awful and buy another from another store, get a wax for cheap off Groupon, get to the Grove and celebrate my Grandma’s 93rd birthday, meet my old manager for a potential job opportunity, get the rest of my jabs and get told I need to find a place in Colombia within my first month to get the second vaccination or risk it in general being ineffective (so far no one has heard of Japanese E so looks like I’m having the same bloody problem here as Sevilla), sort out medication being sent abroad – which involves phoning post offices who didn’t know the legalities of sending prescribed meds abroad -very helpful- try and sell all my stuff on Facebook Marketplace or EBay, order in cheaper Malarone pills (as I’m going to the Amazon at some point) from Superdrug online who proceeded to tell me I’ll be fine with a net which WASTED my time because I then got someone else to sell me more expensive Malarone tablets to have Superdrug then say oh yeah, our bad, you DO need Malarone for the Amazon and then I was unable to return the more expensive ones UGH, buy essentials from Poundland and then realise I’ve actually got them all at home, get told I can’t return them, try and work out some kind of rough route around Colombia, babysit my favourite family, have scans and procedures with doctors about things I need to keep an eye on this year and ALSO buy trainers, hiking boots, products off Amazon, see friends from my previous travels in London .. I know. I had 12 DAYS to do ALL this – I’m speaking in caps that’s how crazy even writing this sounds – and I literally completed everything on this list. True that I survived off numerous cappuccinos to get through the day but it was a hell of a lot to get through and I smashed it. Just.
There were three things I actually would have really loved to do but didn’t have time for. One was keeping up and writing my blog, two was going over my Spanish conjugations, the tenses and watching Spanish films but above all, the day before I left, I had planned to visit my Grandad’s grave to ask him to watch over me and keep me safe. I wanted to have some time out in the midst of this busy period as I usually did with him, and to tell him that I would be taking a small stone from his grave and placing it next to the Taj Mahal – when I get there in April – a place he showed me a picture of where he’d previously been stationed. After rushing with my mum to see my Bibi, we drove to the cemetery to find that it had shut an hour before stated online. Gutted, crying and feeling guilty I didn’t put this visit that was SO important to me above everything else, I started to feel this horrible dark cloud of misery and pain surround me. I forced myself to see my Grandma to kiss her goodbye and drove to his house where apart from the cemetery I feel most close to him. I have the bright blue stones in my pocket and I turned them gently in my fingers whilst I said a few words to him which made me feel better. I left home knowing I’d completed nearly everything I wanted to do which was great.
A lovely thing I realised amongst the 12 days of drama and business in London is the beauty of our city and how I’ve taken it way for granted. When you’re not having to wake up early cold and tired, feeling like you’re not achieving your goals and surrounding yourself on a squashed tube with miserable looking people who give you the dirtiest look when your head accidentally finds its way in their armpit -like they assume you’re trying to sniff their pit on purpose – you cannot appreciate the beauty of the bustling city and the sheer amount there is to see and do in it.
So minus the fact that for 12 days I was running around from one end of London to the other, on buses, undergrounds, overgrounds and driving – I don’t think I could have travelled London more so than the above – I literally saw everywhere like a tourist which was quite nice considering I won’t be seeing London for a while. Living off caffeine I wouldn’t recommend but it definitely helped, and in between battling with my control freak side which was trying to plan out for any eventuality (or mortality) which is of course impossible to prepare for, actually spending time with the people I care about the most and prepping everything for a trip was fantastic and I got to the airport excited for this adventure to start!
Thanks to everyone for making my last 12 days so special for me 🙂