Scotland is a dreamer’s paradise. What with the smooth lochs and foggy mountains and highland cows (read: heighlen coos). And well, London’s not. Shocking, I know. But let me tell you why.
Expectation is the ruiner of good things. Nothing ever meets our expectations, particularly when we set them too high. Going into this trip, I had all these expectations that London would be a flawless dream of a city, but I hadn’t expected the chaotic, albeit beautiful, mess that it is in actuality. And letting those lofty expectations go was the hardest part of my trip.
I wanted the perfect trip to London, and it took me two days and a hot shower to realize there’s no such thing. I wanted the American-made dream that is London. And I got that, more or less. I saw Big Ben, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the whole package. That was great and everything, but it just felt off. I didn’t feel that Disney World magic that I expected to feel. And that was disappointing.
But here’s what I learned: the parts of London I didn’t know about/didn’t expect to like actually turned out to be the best part. I loved the jolty, sweaty experience of riding the Tube. I loved walking around the quiet residential area of Hampstead at midnight. I loved storming the Game of Thrones-esque Tower of London on a cool, cloudy morning. I loved seeing “The Woman in Black” live and on stage at Covent Garden’s Fortune Theatre. I loved the parts of the trip I hadn’t planned for. Those unexpected moments are what gives a trip character. When I let go of all those years of expectations that I built for London, everything became much more enjoyable. And I have to tell you, I like the London I didn’t expect. I don’t love it. But all things with time.