(Originally published 9/3/2013)
I love London. I’ve been in and out of the city my entire life. It’s the kind of place where every time you turn a corner there’ a memory. For me, at least. They’re usually not even big or particularly important memories. Just simple things that made me smile at the time. Many of these can be found in the interactive* map.
*Map is not in the least bit interactive.
I walk through London at night, watching tourists taking photos of themselves next to red double decker busses, and inside the red phoneboxes they’ve just discovered are all plastered in photos of naked hookers, and I kind of can’t believe I live so close to somewhere with such a buzz around it.
I like nothing more than walking to a tube stop that’s unnecessarily far away just so I can stare into bars that are too fancy, and restaurants I’ll never afford, and posh hotels they’ll never let me in to because I can’t be trusted near crystal chandeliers and there’s one in every room.
And that’s not to mention places I actually can visit – places I’ve worked, and hung out with friends and family, and laughed, and had fun, and stayed out too late, and eaten too much, and spent too much, and queued for hours with weirdos (of which I obviously am not one) to see the people I most admire.
But I don’t think I’ll miss it.
The fact is, that even though there’s so much for me in London, I’m getting the opportunity to do it all over again in New York. I already have a few memories and favourite places over there. It’s a paltry handful in comparison to what I have on this side of the Atlantic, but it’s something. And I have an entire year to build on that and make a bunch of new memories with new people. It’s basically a blank page and I’m soexcited to fill it in.
Sitting here the day before I leave feels weird. This has all happened so fast that I haven’t had a chance to really register that it’s all happening. I’m still not sure that I’m not going to wake up in the morning and someone’s going to jump and say “Early April Fools!” and I’ll have to go back to the job I was so happy to leave. I’m also waiting to remember at a key moment that I’ve forgotten to do something really important and obvious in my rush. Everyone’s been so nice, and so understanding and supportive, and I’m so grateful to you all – I’ve spent the past fortnight saying goodbye (albeit temporarily) to everyone in my life, which is sad. But, ultimately, I’m going on one heck of an adventure and I’m optimistic that that’ll make up for it. It’s a huge burden to expect one city to live up to all of my expectations, but if anywhere can do it, New York can.
So here we bloody well go!