i had my first taste of independence in the city of london. that sounds strange to say as an american and a native philadelphian, given that our country started with its tugging off the reigns of britain's rule. but that's where i first felt like an adult and knew i could make it on my own.
my senior year of college, i planned my first vacation by myself. i was to fly to london and meet up with a friend who was studying there and stay in her flat for a week while i saw the sights. upon arrival in heathrow, i was perturbed that she wasn't there to meet me, and was greatly alarmed when i rang her up and her flatmate said, "oh, so and so has gone off to greece for a holiday, she left you a note, it says 'kate, i'm sorry. so and so.'"
with friends like these....
so i was stuck in heathrow, had no idea where i was going to sleep that night and how i was going to get there. enter the lovely and helpful people who worked in the tourist office who pointed me in the right direction- taught me how to take the tube to the city and how to get to the apartment of another friend, kat (who wasn't expecting me at all and i had no number to call her just a street address). i eventually arrived at my destination with the help of a few londoners and a very friendly cab driver.
i ended up staying with kat that week and had an amazing time while she was in class during the day. this was the first time i had ever traveled on my own and i reveled in the freedom of being able to decide which museum i was going to next and how long i wanted to spend in notting hill and if i really needed to purchase that harrod's bear. i took plenty of pictures and i was just so impressed with the architecture, the indian food, the kindereggs, the tea, the pubs, the THEATRE!! i was enamored by all things british. i loved every second of my trip and this adventure spurred my enthusiasm for travel. i realized i could get by on my own, survive outside of what is comfortable and chalk up a bunch of amazing experiences at the same time.
since then i've traveled to many different countries and in november, i'll have made it to my fifth continent, but i'll always remember my time in london as what started it all for me.