I’ve wanted to go to London for YEARS. I can’t even tell you guys how long I’ve been dying to take this journey across the great pond. I decided that I’d finally go in August. My family knew this, too and urged me to get my passport renewed in January. They even offered to help pay for airfare and hotel as part of my 30th birthday gift.
In exchange, however, I had to agree to go on a family vacation to the beach for Memorial Day weekend. Me and 14 family members in one house for 5 days. Yeah.
However, things didn’t go according to plan. On Wednesday the 20th, my parents and my sister met me at my house so we could all leave for the airport. That’s when my sister announced that she wanted to give me my birthday gift. I agreed and figured it was clothes for the beach or something. When she pulled out a folder, I was like, okay, she’s a weirdo, so this must be a weirdo gift.
I was like, “Oh, thanks for planning our August trip!”
My mom leaned over and pointed to the date on the itinerary and I started screaming.
My entire family had kept it a secret. I wasn’t going to a family beach vacation, I was going to London. In three hours. My parents paid for the flight, my sister paid for the hotel, day trips, tickets, etc., and everyone chipped in with keeping it under wraps until right before I was to leave.
My sister was the ringleader (obviously) and she was coming with me.
I was finally going to London. I freaked the F**K out.
In a whirlwind move, I dumped out the contents of my suitcase and repacked for the UK. Then we were in the rental car on our way to the airport. I hadn’t traveled internationally in YEARS. I was so freakin’ excited and all because my sister (with the support of my family) wanted to do this for me.
We had an easy flight to Heathrow, and then took the tube to our hotel right underneath the London Eye. We did Westminster Abbey the first day and I cried when I saw Poet’s Corner, the section of the Abbey dedicated to the tombs of Shelley, the Bronte sisters, Austen, Dickens, Auden and so many more.
We also did platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station the day. At night I went to Harrod’s and met up with my cousin for Chicken Tikka Masala (duh).
After that the trip was all about amazing sites and historical landmarks. We saw a show at the Globe Theatre, ate lemon tarts at Borough Market, explored the Sherlock Museum, stood in front of the Magna Carta at the British Library, took pictures with the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, walked through Hyde Park and took day trips to Bath for the Jane Austen Center and Stonehenge.
I definitely plan on going back to walk Kensington Gardens, see the changing of the guards (we just saw Buckingham Palace briefly), and stroll down Abbey Road. But seriously, this was a major bucket list accomplishment and I can’t believe I finally did it. Thanks to Shikha specifically for sharing this incredible journey with me and organizing the whole thing. She drives me nuts but I couldn’t have asked for a better sister. (Well, I could’ve considering this one has a tendency to want to marry me off, but life is more interesting this way).
2015 is turning out to be freaking amazing.
For more images from my London adventures, check out my Instagram account (link below).