London Goodbyes

posted by: Emma

As time rushes towards our leaving date, London’s vibrancy and life almost floors me like it did when I was a newcomer. A few weeks ago I found myself walking acrossLondon Marathon Blackfriars Bridge snapping pictures of graffiti on my old film camera. My hands freeze but the riverside, with its unique mash of architecture crowding behind it, still absorbs me. Another morning I sat outside a tiny coffee shop near Great Ormond Street, staring at the vivid blue sky, and almost forget I was on my way to work. 

Justin and I wandered Camden on a late Saturday afternoon, looking for a venue for leaving drinks and decided we should have done this same walk as new arrivals. We’ve tried to get as much of London’s grit under our fingernails, spent as much time in pubs and in parks as we can before we go.

Eraser house

One evening on dusk, I found myself daydreaming on my bike and only realised I forgot my turn as I cycled past those steps leading up to St Pauls. I’ve since started cycling past it on purpose, because it won’t always be in line of sight.

Our room in the flat still feels like home, but every day it feels less “ours.” Now pictures have come off the walls and the things we value have been packed and stored. The big space above the landing outside our room which fitted our map of London perfectly is bare and that’s how it sinks in a little that we’re actually leaving for more than a holiday.

London Canel Art

After having our heads down, planning this trip and learning about gear for most of the winter, we’ve been trying to catch up with those who will have babies, buy houses, get new jobs while we’re away. Like when we left New Zealand six years ago, we’re acutely aware that life continues.

It will be hard to say goodbye to London. There’s a list of things that we never did, or never did enough, that we definitely don’t have time for now: visiting the Transport Museum, watching a 3D movie at the Imax, wandering some of the other museums one more time; but with limited days left, time with friends is more valuable than any of that.

We’re not sure where we’ll end up when we stop cycling and we hope we’ll sort of figure that bit out along the way. Having spent six years in London, part of me likes leaving unfinished business here. Its a good excuse for coming back.

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7 responses to “London Goodbyes”

  • Dearest Emma and Justin, We soooo enjoy reading your amazing stories and adventures. We do enjoy too your descriptive detailed blogs. What an amazing and courageous trip you are about to embark on shortly. We salute the preparation and training you have undertaken to get to the ready to go stage. Go well. Enjoy. Kay & R

  • kay and Richard on March 13th, 2010 at 2:08 am
  • Awesome photos sis :)

  • Dan on March 13th, 2010 at 11:13 pm
  • Thanks for the comments both Kay and Dan. Hopefully will keep our writing / photography standards up while living in a tent…

  • Emma on March 14th, 2010 at 9:13 pm
  • Dear Jus & Emma, Well, it’s almost here – D-Day minus 3! To think this trip was at the conception stage when I visited last September – everything seems to have come together slowly (and yet oh, so quickly in the past few weeks which have just flashed by). Your thoughts on leaving London left me feeling poignant at the too-brief time I spent there with you both – like you, I left a lot of things undone which I am sure will lure me back. Perhaps we will be able to immerse ourselves together again in London one day in the future. In the meantime, I wish you safe travels, easy pedalling, no pulled muscles, few punctures, always a tail wind and roads which all go downhill (well, one can always dream …!!!). But most of all, I wish you lots of love. Know that I am thinking of you every day. Take care. Mum xxxx

  • Maggie on March 17th, 2010 at 8:26 am
  • Today is D-Day minus 2! I cant believe it was over 6 months since we saw you in London it feels like the months have just flown by. Leaving London is really hard as it now feels like home and thinking “This is the last time I will do/visit/taste/see” things, but thinking ahead to the adventures we will have is also very exciting.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts its really great motivation to keep us focused on the adventure ahead.

  • Justin on March 18th, 2010 at 9:58 am
  • You two are truely awesome and amazing …. we have been blown away with how many adventures and excursions you have fitted into your six years in London, and all of that while while both working.
    Your European adventure will give you lots more to take in, enjoy, and add to your life memories. Travel safe, take your time, smell the flowers, and most of all look after each other …. Saint Christopher will be on watch as well!! We are really looking forward to our time with you in Italy in June …. Bruce and Judy

  • Bruce Philpott on March 19th, 2010 at 8:01 am
  • Well, today’s the day! It’s 5pm here in Tauranga NZ at present, so I guess you are just up and fortifying yourselves with plenty of Weet-Bix (Jus) and strong coffee (Emma). By tonight, you will be well on your way with Spain your next destination point. The journey begins….. I’m buzzing with excitement so I can only imagine how excited you two are! Kia kaha! Haere ra! Arohanui! Be well. Love, Mum xxxxx

  • Maggie on March 20th, 2010 at 4:01 am

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