Should I stay or should I go?
Posted in Thoughts on

Everybody has flaws and strengths, and I consider myself one of those people who are quite aware of them. As I am introverted and spend a lot of time “inside my head”, alway examining the workings of my own mind, as well as trying to understand others, I know that I am introspective enough to be brutally honest with myself. I know that I am kind, loyal and smart, some of my better qualities (not to toot my own horn or anything), but one of my less profitable qualities, is that I am very little ambitious. In fact, I would almost go as far as to say that I have none. I’m a dreamer and a drifter. It doesn’t mean that I’m not hard-working or that I don’t have dreams or things that I would like to accomplish, but I have no drive.

Now I suppose it could have been worse. It’s not really a quality that harms anyone other than myself, and it’s not really a quality that’s demeaning in any way, at least I don’t consider it as such. It just means that I’m not very good at sports, at all, because there is not a competitive bone in my body. It also means that when I face challenges, or things get difficult, I tend to choose the easier option or to give up altogether, rather than fight my way through it with claw and nails. Not necessarily because I am lazy, although I think many would mistake it for that, but simply because I lack the motivation. I just doesn’t matter that much to me. I have no drive to get things done, like I said.

I am also one of those people who makes more often than not makes decisions based on intuition and gut feeling, rather than using common sense and practicality. I have a very good intuition, it very rarely leads me astray or lead me to make a decision that I regret. But sometimes intuition can be clouded by other things that could potentially lead to bad decisions or regrets, such as boredom, fear or insecurity. I am trying to change that now, however.

Everybody kept asking me before I left what I was going to do in England, where I was going to live, what was my purpose or plan, and every time I just sort of shrugged and said “I don’t know”. I didn’t have a plan, I still don’t. I had ideas and dreams, of course. But nothing set in stone. I just went. And hoped for the best. I’m not very much of a planner either, I like to keep my options open. See where things go. Go with my gut feeling and whatever feels right at the time.

So now I am faced with a dilemma, or a challenge if you like. I need to find out what I want to do. I have found a place to stay in London, you see. It’s a very good deal. I will get to live in central London, in a very nice neighbourhood, basically for free. In exchange for accommodation, I only have to help the old man I live with do some basic house chores, nothing too time-consuming or taxing. It’s a great deal actually. And I can study or work on the side. I could take a job, of course, and because I have no real expenses, I could live rather well on the unimpressive wages in The UK. Or I could study, which is the smartest option to be sure, but here is where I face challenges.

The only way I would be granted financial support from Norway and Lånekassen, is by starting a degree. It’s not possible to do a year of study, as you can in Norway. Which is fair enough, I suppose. And why not do a Bachelor’s Degree? The only problem is that I don’t necessarily fill the entry requirements to study in The UK, as I am international, and in order to be accepted anywhere, I would have to do a Foundation Year first, which is not funded by Lånekassen. And when I found this out, I immediately started thinking how much easier it would be to just go back home, where it’s easy, and I can study what I want with support, I can move to a nice apartment and live with other students, rather than living with an old man with a curfew, and I would even have my friends there.

Sounds tempting, right? Safe and sound, fun and familiar.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the place I am staying at, I really like it. And they are truly lovely, both the man I live with, and his daughter who lives there on and off. But it’s always awkward moving into someone else’s home, you never really feel quite comfortable. I’ve done it before, as an exchange student. And you can imagine it yourself, I’m sure, being a permanent guest in someone else’s house. When heightened by my insecurities, it’s very tempting indeed to go home, or even to pay the huge expenses that comes with living in a flat in London.

So this is where I really have to keep myself in check and tell myself to pull it together. I can’t give up now, I haven’t even tried! At times like these I really wish I had some ambitions and a little bit more guts. I don’t want to be a quitter, and I know I would always regret it if I went home now, without having really tried. So I am going to stay. I am going to try. Try to find someway to get accepted to school. Try to get comfortable in a home that’s not mine. Try to not let my insecurities get the better of me, as they so often do (damn them), and hope that in the end everything will sort itself out and end well.

On a more positive note though! I may have found the love of my life

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No but seriously, wish me luck!





Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true?
Posted in Uncategorized on

A lot of people ask me all the time why, out of all the places in the world, I chose to travel to England. A fair question, to be sure. It’s certainly not the most exotic of all travel destinations, but I have always felt particularly drawn to England. I couldn’t tell you when it started, I just know that for as long as I can remember I have preferred English to Norwegian, and I always dreamt of one day moving here. For some strange reason I have always thought in English instead of Norwegian, and I am fairly certain that my English vocabulary is decidedly bigger than my Norwegian one. Call me strange, but for some very peculiar reason, England has always felt more home than Norway ever did, and I have only been to England once before! Man, I probably need therapy…..

The one thing I love the most about England though, is that it’s so beautiful. I love all the old buildings and architecture in England. It’s like every time I turn a street corner here, I’m mesmerised by yet another stunningly glorious house, or castle or monument. It may be because they are so aesthetically pleasing with all the million tiny details and intricate designs that come together to create a marvellous masterpiece of a building. So elegant and ornamental with their statues and pillars and elaborate embellishments, and all the dandy little flowerbeds. It’s romantic and it’s pretty. But that cannot be the only reason, I’m not that superficial. At least, I like to think so.

It may be because I’m an old soul. I always have loved everything old and full of history. Anytime I see something old or abandoned, I can’t help but wonder and let my imagination run free. How? How did it come to be there? What was it for? When was it used? Why was it abandoned? Who lived there and what happened to them? I could marvel for hours like that and make up stories in my head. And when you actually learn about the history of a place, it’s so fascinating. To imagine that years ago, long before I was born or my mother was born, that in that place that particular building stood in surroundings completely different from those today. And it’s stood there since.

Or perhaps it’s because I’m such a romantic? I have always been in love with England in the olden days, like the Victorian Era, with the polite manners and sophisticated society. All the etiquettes and propriety. Jane Austen and period dramas. I’m secretly in love with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley and Captain Wentworth, the fictitious gentlemen in romantic novels that are too good, too perfect, to ever have been true, and that I hope to find a courteous english gentleman to sweep me off my feet and ride my off into the sunset. Maybe in my former life that is where I lived, as an upper-class lady in a fine castle, and I just long for it because it’s where I feel home?

To be fair, I would have hated it though. I am probably above averagely concerned with feminism and women’s independence. I would have resented living in a time when women had no rights or opportunities, no matter how romantic the gentlemen were. And to be fair, the realist in me knows that it’s definitely been romanticised beyond belief. I’m sure it wasn’t nearly so charming in real life at the time. I often wonder how I can be made up of two such polar opposite traits; the romantic, kind-hearted dreamer and idealist vs. the man-hating, realistically cynical pessimist. I’m a complex character, for sure, and I may never understand myself and all my contradictions. Perhaps I’m schizophrenic.

In any case, I cannot say for sure what it is that draws me to England like a moth to a flame, and perhaps I will find that it’s nothing like I imagined it and not at all what I dreamed it would be, only disappointing. Or indeed, maybe I will find that it’s my true home and I’ll find my happily ever after here. Who knows? Only time can tell. For now I am merely in love with it though, and enjoy it immensely for all the reasons above and many more. And hope I will continue to do so for a long time yet.

 

 

 





Meditating in Kensington Gardens
Posted in Thoughts on

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.

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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,

Ingrid





The lonesome traveller update
Posted in Life on

I am currently sat in a very nice, but slightly busy Starbucks cafe on the corner where North Rd meets Jubilee Street in Brighton, United Kingdom. It’s actually a rather nice day today. The sun is shining, there’s only a slight breeze and the temperature is more than comfortable, considering it’s a city situated by the seaside. As it is a Sunday, there are quite a few people out and about, but in true Sunday fashion everyone is strolling down the streets in a relaxed tempo, enjoying the weather and all the charming markets and attractions that Brighton has to offer in the summer.

I feel bad for wasting away a beautiful day like this sitting inside, plotting away on my laptop, instead of sitting down at the beach, soaking in the sun and relishing in the beauty of the seaside on a day like this. But I have spent quite a few days down by the seaside and beach already, and I keenly felt the symptoms of withdrawal from not having been properly online in a while. Okay, that’s a lie. I have been online every single day, and I am more than updated on the ongoings of the internet. I guess I just wanted to be doing something productive for once, instead of just dallying around watching beautiful views and sunsets, while listening to music.

There’s only so much you can do, I feel, when you’re travelling by yourself. Although I really don’t mind being by myself, there are so many fun activities to do that aren’t really enjoyable when you are alone. Especially when you are so socially uncomfortable as I am. I’m not shy, not really. But I do feel uncomfortable doing things on my own, such as eating out, going to the movies, or amusement parks. I always feel like people are staring at me, wondering, judging; “does she not have any friends?”, “why is she alone” or “how sad, she doesn’t have anyone to be with”. Of course, that’s all in my head. I don’t think anyone really thinks that, nor do I think anyone really thinks about me at all. Or notice me as I walk down the street or sit in a restaurant alone. It just feels like it, you know?

In any case, I’ve had a good time in England so far. Tomorrow I will officially have been here for two weeks. How crazy is that? I’ve spent one week in London, and one week in Brighton so far. I love London. There is so much to see there, so much to do. So much history, so many beautiful buildings and so much activity and charm in the city itself. I would very much like to live there some day. Brighton is lovely as well. With its charming lanes bustling with small coffee shops, markets and small boutiques, and the beautiful seaside with the lively Brighton Pier full of rides and attractions, as well as the charming little beach huts that ultimately made me fall in love with the place.

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Beautiful and busy Oxford Street, London

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The Brighton beach, with the remains of the West Pier in the horizon

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The cute and charming beach huts by the seaside in Hove

I do feel, however, that a week in Brighton was more than enough. In London I was content to just walk around for hours every day, always finding new, unexplored areas and streets, always something new to see. But Brighton is a lot smaller than London, and although I’m sure I have only scratched the surface of what Brighton has to offer, I find that Brighton would no doubt be more enjoyable if you were travelling with someone, or knew someone, and although I have met some really nice people at the hostels I have stayed at, I haven’t really made any proper friends yet. I’m starting to realize that I’m quite bad at that. Making friends.

But today is my last day in Brighton in any case, and tomorrow I will return to London again, as I have a second interview at a job/carer position. I’m quite excited about it actually. It would be a great opportunity for my plans to move to London, as it means I will have accommodation in central London in exchange for a couple of hours of “work” every day, which consists of helping an old man with daily chores. A lovely old man he is as well, so I really hope they decide to take me in. But I’m still in two minds about it, as I was planning on doing some more travelling before settling down anywhere. However, it is a golden opportunity that isn’t likely to happen again anytime soon, I’ve been very lucky, so I think I will have to seriously consider altering my original plans.

In any case, that’s enough of an update for now. I’m hungry, and I’ve been sat in Starbucks for more hours than what is  socially acceptable, I’m sure (I’ve sat here since around 11 and it’s now 3.45 pm). So I’m gonna go and try to find somewhere to eat some dinner.

Until next time!