Travel Surprises

Anna Alden
September 12, 2015

Now that I am officially in the UK, everything seems as if it's happened so fast— one day I'm sitting in the airport in Toronto, and in the blink of an eye I'm looking around my London dorm room wondering how it got so messy already. (I promise I'll clean mom.) But just like that I've zoomed right past "whoamIwhatamIevendoing" and landed right into the zone of "but where is there free food in London today." Like any good journey, however, I do have some stories, so I'd like to take some time to reflect on the trip that feels ages away. Here we go...

Easy navigation: I didn't get lost! Getting from one plane to one train to one cab to one address is actually the easiest task London has given me. With countless signs all pointing you in the right direction, I don't think I had to ask a single person where something was. There are always endless ways to get somewhere no matter what airport you land in; we're talking trains, buses, and cabs arriving and departing virtually every minute. (Shout out to public transportation.) Navigating the streets of London, however, is a far different story... 

Unexpected company: I made at least twenty friends while traveling, which came as a surprise considering I took a red eye flight with over 100 of my closest strangers. We met at the gate watching other people order food five minutes before boarding, sitting on the plane struggling with our personal screens, and exiting customs only to collectively wonder why in the world the airport decided to throw all of our checked bags on the floor upon arrival. From the girl who had been to virtually every airport, to the retired New Zealand couple who were spending a quality four months hopping from continent to continent, it was like I wasn't traveling alone at all. 

Travel tunes: Having a playlist specifically created for international travel was a blessing in diguise. I think we can all agree that the best way to spend a long flight is to not be a real person at all and actually just put yourself into a carefree movie scene—obviously about wanderlust and individual growth all happening in one emotional shot of someone on a plane. Of course, I have to give all of the credit to one of my best friends who just happens to also understand this concept perfectly. Would highly recommend.

Housing: Upon my actual arrival at Nido, the student housing IES uses for students in London, I got to meet a great roommate along with a great room—complete with a microwave, water boiler, plates for each of us, and even pots and pans! Each floor also has its own full kitchen, and fridge compartments that are key-accessable, and individually assigned to students. The location is within walking distance of a grocery store, tons of restauarants, and King's Cross tube station. It's also the place where I dropped all my bags and fell asleep immediately after arriving!

Throwing myself into travel and London life has been an experience with lots of suprises, and I can only hope they continue! These first three weeks in London are going to zip by, but I'll make sure to spend some time reflecting on every detail. Here's to my first week!




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Anna Alden

<p>I am a Literature major at the University of Rochester and am attending Oxford through IES Direct Enrollment in the fall semester of 2015. As an aspiring academic, I am far too invested in the contents of my bookshelf and can often be caught printing an extra copy of completed papers for my own safekeeping. I am fully prepared to take on a completely new and exciting abroad experience both in and out of the classroom, and my love for writing makes each experience even more exciting to share.</p>

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