Lost in London

I love being lost.

Not the phone-dead, shops-closed, only-other-person-in-sight-is-picking-scabs-and-shouting lost, or the bears-will-eat-me-and-no-one-will-ever-find-my-bones lost, but the I’m-not-quite-sure-where-I-am lost. The coming out of the underground and not knowing which direction to go lost. The heading in a general direction but no particular path kind of lost.

London is an easy place to get lost, of course. The streets are a tangled maze with no connection to the rectangular grids so common in North America. A street can have three different names in three blocks. In some areas street numbers have the familiar pattern of odd on one side and even on the other; but they are as likely to run sequentially up one side of the street and down the other side. In some cases the numbers appear totally random, apparently being assigned in the sequence that the original buildings were constructed.

When I am away from familiar surroundings, I love the sense of discovery. Of suddenly realizing I am in Bloomsbury, or looking down an alley and seeing a courtyard full of flowers in the middle of a city.

I love having the time to not hurry, to not having to plan the most efficient route because there is too much to do, too much to see, not enough time.

So I have loved this trip to England. I’ve been here a few times before so I don’t need to check off the highlights. I’ve already been to the Tower of London and the changing of the guard. I’ve done the Hop-on, hop-off tour. I am on my own so I only need to consider myself.

I can go to the British Museum and only visit the Mesopotamia gallery. I can simply wander and see what I see. I can have a coffee in the courtyard of a church, by a garden commemorating wartime bombing, a place I would have never noticed if I hadn’t had the time to walk through a gate into a courtyard market.

I can sit in a pub in the business district and watch the Friday after work crowd come in. I can see Buckingham Palace from a different viewpoint because I was simply walking through a park that I didn’t realize abutted it.

I love to walk on the edge: the border between adventure and risk, between comfort and fear.

I love my brave travels.

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