Hello guys! So after a short hiatus (4 months to be exact), I’m back to writing again. I’m currently in London(!!!) on the last leg of my Eurotrip. I’m going back to the Philippines in 6 days and I just want to update you all about life lately. (if there are readers left after my indefinite break. lol) The past month has been nothing short of amazing! If you told me 5 years ago that I would be able to travel around Europe ALONE for 2 months, I would just stare at you and laugh out loud. IMPOSSIBLE! Emphasis on bold and all caps! Thank God for His grace and that I was born stubborn and persevering so I was able to convince myself to just go for it and reach for my dreams.
This was the first solo international travel that I need to find my own way into my accommodation from the airport. I was fortunate enough that during my past travels, even if I got on the plane alone, friends would pick me up at the airport. Phoebe picked me up at the airport when I went to Japan and Ching did the same thing when I went to Singapore then we went to Bali together. Bless their kind souls! Anyway, from Heathrow, finding my accommodation was an adventure on its own. It required a lot of screencaps of directions from rome2rio on which train to take (I still didn’t know about google maps offline version during this time, okay), connecting to free public wifi at the airport to double check, and just having enough courage to go out after pep talking myself. I landed in London on July 15, 2016 9:30PM. Immigration check and getting my check-in baggage took almost an hour as it was pretty busy during that time. It was around 10:30PM that I was finally out of the arrival gates of the airport. I stayed there for another 15 minutes just to let everything sink in. I AM FINALLY IN LONDON!! I was internally screaming to myself at this point. LOL! Then I suddenly realized it was getting pretty late so I gathered my stuff, have some dollars changed to pounds, and then went to the underground station.
Luckily, London’s transport system is so efficient that I only need to ride the tube to get to my hostel. The Picadilly line goes from Heathrow terminal 4 to Central London in less than an hour. They also have the Heathrow express which goes around terminals 1-5 and is free of charge. My hostel is situated near Regent Street so I alighted at Picadilly Circus and walked to YHA London Central. My trip from Terminal 4 to Picadilly Circus took about 45 minutes. The minute that I stepped out of the train, I was greeted by the sound of a Saxophone playing and suddenly people appeared from the steps dressed like they were from the 1950s. They were chatting happily, laughing, and then there was this couple who shared a goodbye. The girl was dressed like a pin up model complete with very red lips, polka dot dress, and victory curls. It was as if I stepped inside a time machine or in a 50s movie set. It was quite a magical moment that is burned on my memory forever. <3
My first view of London was Regent Street. I didn’t know it then but apparently Regent Street is a shopping district which mostly contains high end brands so it was really beautiful especially at night. Doubledecker buses lined the streets left and right. The scene looks a little like the picture below. (Photo not mine)
I think I had my mouth open the entire time I was walking along Regent Street. How naive can you get? LOL I got a little lost finding my way to YHA London Central as it was really dark at that time and not a soul was out on the streets. Fortunately, I found a telephone box that also doubles as a WiFi hotspot. I got connected and was finally able to find the place. After checking in, I had a shower and slept. Finally succumbing to the exhaustion of the flight from Manila to Heathrow and finding my hostel.
I would be lying to you if I say that its easy to travel to Europe if you are from a third world middle class family. I’d probably be pulling your leg if I try to play it down. Yes its not easy, BUT its not impossible. The process involves a lot of research. From preparing the requirements for the visa application, applying for the visa itself, planning your itinerary according to your budget, saving up enough money, and more research. Bottom line: If you really want something so bad, do not stop until you reach for it. Other people may try to discourage you and you will have times where even you will discourage yourself but keep on persevering and pushing for your goals.
I’m halfway through my London bucketlist but I’m not sure if I will be able to complete it all in one go because there are other more important things that needs to be done first. (i.e school work) Also, it gives me an excuse to go back to London again to complete the list. Haha! I’ll keep you guys posted. 😉
Disclaimer: Photos used in this post are not mine.