Tourist Turned Londoner

8 September 2016

London has always been sort of an enigma to me. Several months ago, all I knew of this city was its residential cul-de-sacs and suburban roads, leading to family and family friend's houses. Through visiting over the years, I had been so close to the centre - the pulsing heart of the country, - but yet had bypassed its core. That was until January when I packed up my bags and left for the big city.

Since then, I've been thoroughly inducted as a Londoner. Long gone are the fresh doe eyes as I awoke every morning to take the tube to central, surrounded by natives who could barely notice my excitement through their sleepy daydreams. Instead of pausing to gaze in awe on my journey to work, I now briskly rush down its street and into the dark tunnels of the underground tube system. I zoom past other faces of people I've never known before in solidarity, as we all focus on our own destinations. But there are many times, I still find myself deeply fascinated. I pause midway and begin to admire the beauty of this city. On the surface I may be a Londoner, but my heart beats as a tourist, seeing this city for the first time all over again.

Living here is so different from visiting. As a tourist, you want to soak up the golden richness of this city. Your time is precious, so you plan to make the most of it. But as a resident, you want nothing more than to curl up in your comfy bed and Netflix after a hard day of work or nights of socialising. Working in London, the commute is long and the working day is hard. It can take more than two hours to get to another part of the city, and don't even get me started on the commute home. The jam-packed tube rides, and bustling crowds make the journey seem even longer than it is. After a short while, you find yourself slowly becoming immune to your surroundings as you being to settle down. It's complacency more than anything. Sure, you stop in wonder and find yourself admiring the most exquisite places in passing, telling yourself that you will come back. But somehow you never seem to explore these gems again. They become a name of the list tucked away at the bottom of your desk drawer.

Like so many other millennials here before me, I've fallen into a routine of work, catching up with friends and family at the usual hang-outs, and sleeping away the night. But my heart longs to see more. Call it wanderlust, but I crave more. So much more ... 

I long to see the sunset on Embankment as the fireworks of Guy Fawkes night blaze over the waters below. I crave to see the hidden cafes and g
ems of London, tucked away in hidden corners away from the central tourist attractions. I hope to taste all the wonderous foods this city has to offer and inhale its aromas. Though it's impossible to know this city inside out - as it continuously grows and changes - I wish to know it's streets intimately. Too often I've found myself becoming complacent here in one of richest and most sort after wonders of the world. 

Because of this, I'll be creating a new series called 'Wandering in London', to capture and document my experiences here. I'm inspiring myself to indulge in the world outside my doorstep and get myself GOMO - Going Out More Often. Time to kick off those comfy house slippers and into some converses, ready to soar into the streets of London. Who knows what I may discover next?

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