Ten years ago, I traveled to the wonderful city of London for my very first solo trip. Facebook recently put this info on my timeline, a time to throw back some memories.
I remember my introduction to « couchsurfing » at my cousin’s friend’s house. I felt so fortunate that she welcomed me after days of asking facebook’s tribe « do you know someone who can host me in London ? ». At that time, couchsurfing was not a thing. The idea to sleep at some stranger’s place was alien to me and my parents would have freaked out (and I do think it is still the case for them). Today I am happy to say that I am more than comfortable with this initiative. I traveled Europe and Asia, alone, and meet wonderful people, friends. For every stops in my journey, I look for host and han out with locals : it brings me a spirit I can’t find if I only stick to the hotel scheme. Is it safe ? To tell the truth, I felt more secure at couchsurfer’s than at some hostels.
I remember how over the moon I was when I arrived at King’s cross. It took me time to understand the tube or the Oyster card’s fare system. The transportation system is the same and odd at the same time. Circular line, people walking fast, tube being stuck. Soon, I realized I prefered walking on the natural lights and get myself lost in the streets, wandering between big Ben and old markets, out of my comfort zone.
I remember the challenge it was to practice english with english natives. The only occasion I had before was in books and at school…french schools. We are not reknown for our foreign language skills. Was my accent ok ? Why would everybody speak so fast ? What about their accents ? And I managed. I guess. Somehow.
I remember the smell of the rain, the oddities of the food, the sound of freedom.
I instantly felt in love with London.
I instantly felt in love with solo travelling.