Home is where the heart is...
My first love and home base is London, England! I was actually born further North, in Leeds, but moved to London as a wee lass, as my native Yorkshire man dem would say! (Translation; Wee Lass= Little Girl). Let me take you on a brief trip down memory lane in 5 steps:
1. I moved to Peckham, London at 4 months old with my family (for obvious reasons, I have no fond memories of this! lol)
2. I grew up on the Yellow Brick Estate which was quite NOTORIOUS at the time. (If you know? You KNOW! -Yep, I'm a little bit gangster #thuglife)
3. My parents moved the family to the suburbs during my last year of secondary school (high school). Here is where I lost the little bit of gangster I had (there is no such thing as a suburban thug)
4. I went on to get my undergraduate degree from a University close enough to home to pack stew and chicken from mums, and still get 5 plantains for £1, but far enough away that my parents couldn’t just "pop by" unannounced (Ain’t nobody got time for that)
5. Fast forward to the present day; I currently work in the financial sector in the City of London. How do I maintain a full time job and travel so much? Only God knows. I actually still wonder myself, but sharing my travel hints, tips, habits and experiences on my #30before30 journey should help clear this up.
So, for nostalgic reasons, London has my heart, and will ALWAYS be home! It has been regarded as one of the best cities in the world, and I WHOLE HEARTEDLY agree. Here are a few reasons as to why iHeartLondon:
1. Simple, London is where I grew up, formed my identity, and lived through some of the best and worst times of my life!
2. London is a true cultural melting pot! Like some other major cities I have visited, London has an amazing variety of different people and cultures. You can go to different parts of London and feel like you’re in another country! There is a China town in Central London, where you can get great authentic Chinese cuisine. You can still could go to Peckham, and be around the Nigerian community, go to Brixton and be around the Jamaican community, go to Golders Green or Stamford Hill and be around the Jewish community, go to Upton Park and be around the Asian community (Shout out to Purvi who began and maintained my bi-weekly eyebrow threading schedule). The list goes on! What makes this special is that regardless of creed, colour or area, you can be referred to and regarded as a Londoner with no debate.
3. London has some of the BEST architecture. My favourite landmark in London is St Paul’s Cathedral. If you haven’t been, please go! It is simply breathtaking, especially in the evening. On most evenings on my way home from work, I would change my route so I could walk past St Paul’s and admire the craftsmanship of the building. Now if you know me, I’m not one for the cold outdoors, so taking a detour each evening to go past this location (on foot!) is deep. Check out a few pictures i've taken on random walks to and from work!
4. London is a metropolis, it has a great and easy to navigate tube (subway) system. This is true only if you discount the Northern Line. I STILL find myself befuddled as to the fact it splits itself into 2 different lines, but it’s still all one and the same northern line?! (Confused? Apparently this makes sense to London Underground lol). Although the tube system is not 24 hours, there is always a handy night bus that will take you where you need to go!
5. The food! This point very much links in with my second point. As there are so many different cultures represented in and through London, you can and will always find cuisine to match! Nigerian, Ethiopian, Thai, Chinese, Jamaican, Indian, Turkish, Ghanaian, Brazilian, American, English, Italian etc. You name it, I can probably recommend it! And don’t get me started on the street markets popping up recently! Borough Market, Brixton Market, Lewisham Market during the summer months? Good Lord thankya! Food glorious, wondrous food! (I may or may not be hungry as I type this point lol)
Now there are some things I dislike about London for example, the unpredictable weather, living expenses that keep increasing and the northern line. HOWEVER, if you have an umbrella, sunglasses, a jacket, a good financial budget, and a way to avoid the Northern Line?! Life in London is AMAZING!