In 2010, I arrived on the shores of the British Isles for the first time.
In 2010, I arrived on the shores of the British Isles for the first time. Stories of romanticized encounters upon the London streets, and expectations of the dimly lit street lamps casting light onto the recent rain that covered the sidewalks and street-ways flooded my mind. And as I stepped out of London-Heathrow into an iconic London taxi, I experienced one of the few locations on Earth in which my expectations - admittedly hyperbolized, as they can be - were far exceeded. In my short time there, I saw the famous Piccadilly Circus, ate fish and chips at a local pub and walked the midnight streets - littered only with the occasional taxi and London local. It was a short visit but it forever burned the imprint of London's existence on my heart.
7 years later, I made the return trip I had hoped for. This time I scheduled two weeks for the simplicity of exploration and expedition. With a camera in hand I set out to experience everything London had to offer, and in secret sought to test the culture, environment and overall life of the city to see if it could at one point in the not-to-distant future house a transient creative such as myself. I spent the first couple of days settling into my host home - a warm English cottage owned by a friend whom I met whilst living in Sydney, Australia who graciously offered her Surrey-stationed house to me. I explored the villages of Surrey and the backroads of the English countryside. From there, I entered the sprawling London city centre and began unveiling the central experience of the city. I managed to find a quaint hotel in Paddington, a few short blocks from Paddington Station, that provided a more-central location by which I explored everything from London Bridge and Buckingham Palace, to Leicester Square and the art district of Shoreditch.
I averaged over 20,000 steps per day - information courtesy of my iPhone, took several day trips to Oxford, Cambridge and the famous Harry Potter Studio tour at Warner Brothers Studios, and once again fell in love with a city that is as eclectic and differed as the people and cultures who form it's districts. Of all the countries and cities I've been so fortunate to experience first-hand, London holds a special place in my heart and will most certainly be called home in the future.
You can read about the entire experience and see the full collection of images in the soon-to-be-released Travel Journal Vol. 1 - London, which will be available for purchase soon here. As well, all the images in this blog and many others from around the world can be purchased as prints or stationary in the shop.
Finally, I would have been lost without the advice and suggestions of friends and helpful strangers, and desire to pay that back. If you have any questions or need suggestions for your visit, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments below.