London Calling

When I woke up this morning, it was raining. I rolled on my back and kept my eyes shut as I wrapped the blanket tightly around my body and listened to the rain through the half-opened window. I wanted to stay in bed forever. When I finally opened my eyes, I regarded the world map I had painted on the wall across from my bed after I had returned home from South Africa two years ago. My gaze lingered on the names of foreign towns and cities, places I had been to in the past, and my mind wandered off to warmer memories. The sound of the rain slowly faded into the background.

Considering my age, most of the people I talk to believe that I have seen a lot of the world already, even though I feel like I haven’t even seen close to enough of it yet. This world, this planet, has so many different sides to itself, there is so much out there waiting to be experienced. And even though I try every day, even though this constant desire has burned inside of me for as long as I can remember, I know that I won’t ever be able to take it all in.

My train of thoughts slowly returned to the present. For a moment, I thought about all the people I have met on my journey so far and the people I would still meet. Which parts of the world would I still be able to mark on my wall? Who will I meet? Which places will I lose my heart to? Right now, I know this much: In only three days I will get on a plane again. I will get to know not only a new city but also a new country. I will go to London. The simple thought of it filled me with joy, warmth radiating through my whole body. In my mind, I was packing my bag, seriously contemplating using my backpack just for the sake of being able to take it with me, even though I am well aware of the fact that I’m only going on a city trip that won’t require a lot of baggage carrying, let alone moving around. In my mind, I was driving to the airport. I was boarding the plane. Leaning back and closing my eyes as the plane picked up speed and gracefully lifted into the air. Getting off the plane and setting foot on unknown ground. The beginning of yet another new adventure.

I have never been to London before and I don’t know what is going to expect me once I get there, but I’m looking forward to finding out about it with every fiber of my being. My friend and I have talked about a few things we would like to see or do, but we don’t have plans that are set in stone.

In a way, I enjoy big cities just as much as a deserted beach off the beaten track. Every now and then, I like to get soaked up under the roof of anonymity, sit down in a cosy café in a busy place in the city and watch people be. Watch them walk by. Watch them talk to each other. Watch them jump on the bus the second the doors close and remember all the moments I have been in exactly the same situation. Maybe, while I try to picture what their lives look like, our eyes will lock for a brief second and I will smile at them, before that fleeting moment passes.

I am lying in bed again, almost ready to go to sleep now. Once again, my eyes wander over those names on the wall. There, I think, smiling broadly as my gaze lingers on the yellow spot on the wall. I am ready to sleep now.

Three days.

put down that map and get wonderfully lost

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