Lessons from My Travels: London Is Calling

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been to London. Is it 15? 16? Much as I enjoy going to new destinations and seeking new experiences, I love “coming home” to London. Old and new: the London Eye and Big Ben's Tower

London makes sense to me. The first time I went to London I felt drawn to its blend of history and modernity. I love walking down the street hearing four, five, or even six different languages being spoken. There are always new ethnic restaurants to try and, at the same time, I can’t wait to go to the Café in the Crypt under St. Martin in the Fields church for a bowl of quintessentially British soup. Whether I am sitting in historic Trafalgar Square or the 21st century Millennial Park on the south bank of the Thames, people watching is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Maybe it’s the unique blend of yin and yang that my soul responds to—knowing that in one place, the past, present, and future co-exist. The quiet of the British Library merges effortlessly with the cacophony of Paddington Station. In this unique blend, all things seem possible.

On my way home from Africa, I stopped in London for a few days as a way to ease my re-entry into “normal” life. After the discomfort that Africa stirred in me, London was the perfect balm to my unsettled self; it felt like the dust raised by the whirlwind of Africa could finally settle, allowing me to see things a bit more clearly.

Upon arrival in London, I distinctly remember walking along Kensington High Street, taking a deep breath, and having a feeling of peace steal over me. I could breathe again. Favorite restaurants and shops were still there, reassuring me that some things hadn’t changed. My heart and my step became lighter the further I walked.

When I go to familiar places—like London—it is because I need, at times, to be comforted. When the world seems too complicated and life becomes too stressed, everyone needs a place that is familiar, soothing. Being surrounded by the familiar lets your heart, mind and body reconnect to each other, and to the endless possibilities that your life can hold.