A year without London
Some ten months ago I was forced to leave my home in London and go in search of a new one. With the whole world to choose from, I found the task a little too overwhelming and opted to roam the world instead. Knowing that eventually I would reach a point of exhaustion and give in to a city somewhere; even though it wouldn’t even begin to compare to London. London to me was my one true love and I felt as though I had been dumped and thrown back into the dating world. Stubborn at heart and not interested in other cities, I had already found what I wanted in London – I didn’t need anything else! So as I returned to London for an extended visit last week I expected to be completely overwhelmed by feelings of nostalgia and general stage 5 clinger obsessive type love. A surprise to no one more than me that this wasn’t the case…
I have been lucky enough to have been travelling the world for 10 months now. During this time I have met many different types of people from all walks of life. In most cases, the topic of ‘where are you from?’ would arise and I would most definitely get the opportunity to explain my complete and utter obsession with London and how I was so cruelly kicked out (slight exaggeration I might add). In this time I never stopped thinking about my life in London and often I missed it so much I couldn’t bare to think of it. I unfollowed anything or anyone on social media associated with London and tried my best to forget the longing within me to return to this most grand time in my life. I more than anyone appreciate how ridiculous it sounds to be in love with a city. However what I felt could only be described as love. I never saw any of the flaws of London. To me the city was perfection and I was ready and willing to make a long term commitment. However just like matters of the heart, it takes two to tango and London it appears did not feel the same way about me. So I found myself dumped and back searching for a place to call home.
Having booked my return visit to London some six months ago, I have had plenty of time to anticipate how I might feel. I imagined myself reigniting my flame and literally being dragged through Heathrow and thrown out of the country before I might willingly leave again. I was sure that I would be inundated with those feelings of nostalgia which would only serve to throw fuel into the fire of my obsession. Though I wanted nothing more than to visit, I felt deep down it was only going to hinder the process of actually moving on from the idea that we would somehow find our way back to one another. As I type these words, I am not sure whether the notion is deeply romantic or just plain pathetic. Either way I boarded the plane to London with not only anticipation, but trepidation.
As I drove back into London I kept waiting for the feeling to hit me. The closer to my old haunts we got the more I anticipated the feeling of love sweeping over me. After all, it was a perfect London’s day full of sun… London had dressed to impress. Yet strangely nothing. As time has gone on I have continued to wait for those old feelings to arise and yet absolutely nothing. How odd. It seems that somewhere in the space of leaving and continuing to believe I wanted to live in London so desperately… I kind of got over it. And thank god! There is nothing worse than the feeling of unrequited love and I finally am happy to announce to the world that I think I am actually over London. What an incredible feeling to no longer be weighed down by. Where I once saw rustic beauty, I now see dilapidated housing. Where I once felt exhilarated by the morning hustle to work, I now see overcrowding and a somewhat faceless city. No longer being in love means that I can actually see the city for what it is. Now don’t get me wrong I still absolutely adore so many aspects of this incredible city, I just no longer feel the desire to live here and only here. By visiting London I have set myself free of London. This is a big day in the world of Chloe.
So where to next? Well… this doesn’t actually solve my problem of finding somewhere to live. I still remain a homeless nomad for the immediate future. However at least now I feel I will be open to the idea of another city without comparing to London high up on its pedestal. A step in the right direction. So for now I shall continue the glamorous life of living out of a bag, whilst in the confines of my old flame London. For all other London deportees… there is hope for you yet!