Once again I find myself sat with my laptop and a coffee at a Starbucks cafe. At the moment I feel like Starbucks is actually the closest thing to a “home” for me. It’s comfortable. It’s safe and familiar. And it has free WiFi and power outlets to charge your phone and laptop. In other words, it’s heaven. For an introvert like myself, I must admit that it is quite taxing to travel the way I do, living in hostels and shared dormitories. You’re never alone. And as much as I like people and being social, at the end of the day I relish in being able to retreat somewhere in my own company to recharge my batteries. To have some downtime and just relax, and breathe. And when you share a dormitory with 8 other people, chances are at least one of them will be in the room at all times.
It’s not just sharing a room that is taxing, however. I could retreat there, in theory. There are curtains on the bunk beds that you can shut, and although it isn’t particularly spacious in there, it’s quite cozy and could potentially be comfortable enough to relax in. But, not only is the WiFi connection rubbish, so unless you consider watching Netflix spend 30 minutes valiantly trying to buffer 5 minutes worth of your favourite TV-series surprisingly entertaining, it’s not going to cut it, but there is also no power outlet within a miles distance of the bed. And batteries do not last forever, especially when you’re watching Netflix.
So here I am, at Starbucks, a public and rather busy cafe, the closest thing to a relaxed lounge I can find in London. These issues make me feel a little homesick, and I do like to entertain the idea that I will book myself a proper hotel room, just for one night, so I can properly relax and recharge. And take a long, pampering shower in a shower with more pressure than you get from pouring a glass of water over your head, without worrying about people queuing outside the door while you fervently scrub your body and shave your legs at the same time.
Still, today has been a rather nice day. I slept in until 9:30 pm, despite the fact that the four french guys that checked in at midnight last night were making more noise than should be humanly possible for only four people, at 7 am. Then I got dressed and went out for a nice breakfast, before hanging around Kensington Gardens for several hours. One thing I will say about the english, they know how to do parks.
Kensington Gardens is a big park that joins in with the massive Hyde Park to the east, which is London’s version of Central Park. I find it so curious how as soon you enter a park in a big city, all the noise and the racket of the city outside suddenly disappears, and you’re left in the most calming environment where you can actually hear the birds chirping and the leaves rustling in the wind. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of London city, as someone who has lived most of their life in a small, quiet town, I never fully realised how much I would miss and come to appreciate some peace and quiet. So I spent quite a few hours just strolling through the many paths in Kensington Gardens, just appreciating the beauty of English Nature and the lovely weather.
The people who know me may not believe this, but I actually love the outdoors. I love nature. I could walk around for hours just looking and wondering at how beautifully complex this planet is with all its species and plants, all the different colours of flowers and how it all came to be. Not to mention how we take all of it for granted in the stress and urgency of our artificial lives. There is nothing so perplexingly grounding as taking the time out of your day to just be, and truly take in your surroundings. Nothing leaves me feeling so relaxed and conscious of my place in the universe, and how unimportant all my worries and troubles truly are in the great scheme of things.
I know, I know. I’m starting to sound like John Lennon in “Imagine”. To be fair though, that song is a perfect description of how I feel about the world and all the problems us humans create for ourselves. Imagine all the people living life in peace. Truly, John Lennon is my spirit animal. And fun fact: we are/were actually the same personality type. INFP – the dreamer – just look it up! So you may call me a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
I should definitely go on walks like this more often. It’s left me feeling very relaxed and zen, and I have done a lot of philosophication today. I’m very sure that is not a real word. Thinking. Contemplation. Reflection. That’s what I done. And I like it.
Peace and love y’all,