I still hear my friend Tims voice in my head: “When using public transport Fran, avoid peak hours at all costs, it’s hell.”
Let’s fast forward to a complete and utterly stressed out Fran at around 5.30 PM. In a moment of naivity I thought there must be going on something special in front of the tube entrance. But no. A huge crowd of people are literally queueing to get into the tube station (it took me 20 minutes to just enter) to then queue again to get into one of the crowded tubes, you had to let pass a few because they were just to full. And then you stand there together with thousands of others in that tube. Cramped, avoiding to interact with anyone else. I look into some faces, everyone seems stressed, worried and done and tired from work and their way back home. In my head I envison those people sitting behind office desks in the city center, doing jobs they probably don’t even like and commuting to the outskirts of the city, turning their keys into tiny appartments because nobody can afford to live close to their work place since rents are skyrocketing high in London and only accesible for a few super rich. Don’t get me wrong: I am sure there a plenty of people living in London who love their job which I think is great! Nevertheless I guess there is a whole lot that actually doesn’t like their work, or commuting or both.
I kind of panicked. So far I had a beautiful and chilled day full of sightseeing unlike the others I didn’t have to work. This is the moment London taught me a fundamental lesson: This is not how I want to live and work in my life. I don’t want to commute hours into an expensive city to spend my whole day doing a job, that high chances I won’t even enjoy.
This is the moment I realised that I want to spend my working days mostly outside, with an activity that is meaningful to me and my community. An activity on the country side where I can rise in the morning, and I’ll get there on my bike. And then at the end of my working day feel accomplished. And no, that doesn’t mean it has to be easy all the time, but meaningful. Hopefully I even run my own organisation.
London- Thanks for teaching me that lesson, thanks for being one of those trips that have a life-long impact! I enjoyed staying with you but I was not sad to leave you again. I experienced your inhabitants as beyond polite but not warm. My friend Tim says “people come here for business”. He must know since he came here for that very reason.
Wherever you go-go with all your heart <3 (even if it hurts sometimes! :P)