Transformative Travel Part One – London
I lived in London for a brief part of my 20’s; had my 25th Birthday in hamstead heath, coming back after the winter in Edinburgh to turn 26 and get married on Kings Road in Kensington.
(Followed by our hand fasting in Ireland with Kate by my side )
The last time I had been in London was 11 years ago for my her wedding.
The wedding of Kate and Will actually (that joke is bordering on ‘Dad’ status by now but it never gets dull for me!)
I was still married and went from Kates magical wedding in Surry back to Ireland to finish packing up my house to leave and return home to Australia. I had been back and forth so many times (between the Isles and Oz) in the previous few years, that I just assumed that I would be back again in no time.
This wasn’t to be the case.
I can’t really explain the sudden nature of the need that filled me.
I had to go to London.
I had been contemplating a retreat in Greece (more on that next)
London, it seemed had set off the alarm and was calling me home.
That’s the feeling of it anyway. It felt simply that I had to go. It wasn’t even a matter of questioning it.
For weeks it played on my mind day and night, schemes of how I might justify it plagued me literally every waking hour and then I started dreaming of catching flights and running through airports.
The need was not subtle or going to subside any time soon.
And so I lept.
If you find yourself drawn to an event against all logic go.
The universe is telling you something.
Landing in Heathrow was as expected at 5am; hilarious.
The queue took forever and once I got to the front I could see why. The officer I handed my passport to (in complete silence while trying to make my face look as bored as the image on the front page) was ready for a cracking chat.
He proceeded to ask me where I was staying and had I been here before and did I realise that London was a very big city and not at all like a sleepy suburb of Perth (that we had flown out of).
I assured him yes Sir I was well aware of what I was getting myself into and that I was in fact much (much) older than the straight out of school gap year students that stood around me and was going to be ok. Thank you for checking though.
And so now to work out where I was going and how to get there.
Kate and Will had been held up by a cancelled flight in Spain and so weren’t home yet. There was anxious whatsapp messages awaiting me upon arrival. They wouldn’t be home until this evening.
Girlfriend and walking testimonial for my Coaching Immersion Tina who is off on a year long around the world trip with her hubby and two boys JUST happened to be in London the exact weekend and so I sent Tina a message to see where she was at.
Talk about timing!
Serendipity loves company and so trundling through the Underground up and down way too many steps I eventually found myself at Marble Arch, in the most stunning boutique hotel, having the best shower of my life and breakfast with a dear friend like it had always been planned this way.
That really was the feeling of the whole trip. That all the things that occurred were already planned, I just had to show up with my “well I wonder what will happen today” attitude and watch the magic unfold.
The night after I arrived was reserved for the beautiful evening guiding a group of women with the Goddess Space.
And from then on it was Kate and I, many kilometres of walking a day, daily yoga classes, my fairy god babies and a very busy Will who was graceful in the face of his house and newly unemployed wife being absconded with.
As I found myself walking the busy pre xmas streets of London I was overcome with the reality of just how much of myself I had left behind.
How much of my creative wild soul had been left on this island 1000’s of kilometres away from my home on the Gold Coast.
It was impossible not to feel Just HOW much of myself was available to me here connected to this land that I had long forgotten the song to.
There was a cellular embodied recognition of the dirt and cobble beneath my feet.
My lungs recognised the air they inhaled, and my soul called me, deep in my bones to stop, feel and call her home.
The lost parts of myself.
Depths of feeling and memory, mine and not mine recoiled toward me on those streets and found their place back in my heart.
Sliding back into spaces of longing, love and homecoming.
Like a new harmony added to much loved favourite song my heart expanded and remembered.
Soul retrieval – this is the only way I can describe the depth of feeling. I’m still unable to talk about my experience without the tears coming.
I wondered as I stood on my hill in Hamstead Heath if maybe it was the nostalgia of a women in middle age looking back on her much younger self, maybe unresolved pieces of my ended marriage.
But this was not the case.
It was forward moving, enlivening.
A remembering of a richness that still lives in me.
Like a carefully stored dress, found in an attic, preserved waiting for the wearer to remember.
And like most truly magical moments it was also perfectly mundane.
We caught the tube, we dropped the girls off at school, I did laundry, we ate Ramen and bought groceries.
We went to galleries and drank gin and ate cloud cake.
We did lots and lots of yoga
We made magic with the girls in the garden. I am “Fairy G” after all.
For all the versions of myself past and present that haven’t had these opportunities I will be grateful for all my days that I went.
The thing about an old city is that you can meet yourself again and again.
Old self and future self sliding past each other with a wink.
Recognised but incognito.
The ultimate state of reinvention .
This trip was just for me. A deep soul connection that I needed.
With this landscape, with a very dear friend of 20 years and new friends courtesy of the internet.
Those people that you chat to and can’t believe it’s the first time you’ve met.
When it feels like you’ve been doing lunch always.
Rhiannon is one of those people. Conversation that felt like a warm embrace, like we were picking up from where we left off.
A soul sister with needles and bangs and doe eyes and and that signature fierce spirit beneath the softness.
Watch this space as I just know there is collaboration in our future!
And so fighting back tears, (as I continued to do for the next couple of days) we parted at the train.
Till next time, not goodbye.
The oak trees, the light, the herbs that spoke to me in every hedgerow.
London I love you.
Till next time.
And with tears cascading down my cheeks she had one last rainbow wink for me as I turned my sights on Athens ….