So the first day was just completely overwhelming for me. Don’t get me wrong; it was overwhelming because I was exhausted, sad, beyond happy—it was just a lot of emotions to deal with in the early morning of a city, country, continent you’ve never been before.
I’ve always prided myself on being rather honest on this blog, so I’m not going to stop now. It was a rough first day I think I thought I would be like any other traveller, but I’m really not; when I’m out of my comfort zone, I stress out and generally get down. It’s something I’ve been working on, and I think this trip wll definitely help me come to terms with it as I’ll be faced with it every step of the way. But I thought it would help to talk about the “negative” feelings in an effort to make sense of them. I think they largely came from a place of exhaustion and being overwhelmed; I don’t think it’s actually me feeling sad for any other reason than it just being a very long, tiring, and difficult day. Usually when I get tired, I get moody so I think above all, it wasn’t that I wanted to come home or was sad because I missed my family, but that I just wanted a freaking bed to sleep in. But that was most of the “negative” feelings, and they would come and go as I saw new sights.
Like I said, it came and went. Most of it was positive though. I dropped my bag off at the hostel when I arrived and went straight to Westminster, which is where Parliament and Big Ben, the London Eye, the Thames River, and Buckingham Palace are. It’s quintessential London. I kid you not, the second I got off the subway, I turned around and immediately saw Big Ben. I was so shocked and so happy, and from then on, I felt so comfortable in the city.
I got to Westminster at around 7am-ish, and it was really strange because no one was really out besides people who had to go to work. So the city was more or less empty and rainy, and I loved it. After that I passed Scotland Yard and then went to Trafalgar Square where the National Gallery is. By then I started getting a bit tired and it was around 9;30-ish. I decided to walk down this mall, similar to The Mall in Central Park that’s always in the movies. Along the right side, they were setting up a luxury car show with Ferreris, Aston Martins, Jaguars, etc. called St. James’ Concourse of Elegance. So freaking British…
I kept walking down and I stumbled across Buckingham Palace, and to be truthful, I had a bit of a moment because it reminded me of my mom and her love of Princess Diana. I took some pictures, but didn’t stay too long because I was getting choked up so I went and sat on some benches in Green Park right next to it.
I sat at one for about an hour and it was exactly what I needed because of what happened. I was sitting there, resting my feet, and a middle-aged Scottish guy asked if he could sit with me to read. I said yes and I just sort of sat there with him as he read his Bible. It wasn’t strange at all and actually nice because, even though I didn’t know this man at all, he was somebody else to just sit with. Then, two older Customer Service guys who worked for the Underground (the subway) asked to sit with us and I talked to the older of the two about the park. He was so nice and my accent didn’t even phase him, not that it’s “bad” being American, but he just didn’t care at all. They had to go, and as they left, the man said “Nice talking to you, chaps,” and it made me feel so much better. I love that I’m travelling by myself because I get to do what I want and better understand myself because of that, but I’ve learned today that, on top of being awake for 24 hours and exhausted, it’s really, really hard. I think that’s why just those two friendy instances made me feel so much better, because for that hour I sat on the bench, I didn’t feel so scared at how overwhelmed I was.
After an hour, I got up and left and went back to Buckingham Palace. I watched the Changing of the Guard, and then I snuck into a walking tour that took me around some of the places I had been so I learned some more. I even followed the tour back to their store and that’s when I decided I would take one of those tour buses tomorrow.
I got a sandwich after that, but couldn’t eat most of it because my stomach was all weird from the flying, so I put it in my backpack to save for later. I decided to take a double decker bus back to my hostel instead of the subway, and it was really fun. I got back to my hostel, checked in, and that was that.
I feel a lot better after writing this. At the end of the day, the good definitely outweighed the bad/sad. It’s just a huge adjustment that I had to make very quickly while being just burned out, so of course my emotions would be high. I know it’ll get easier and then I’ll be sad to leave. That’s always how it works out.