Just few days ago, I got back from my 3 week trip to London-Amsterdam-Liverpool-Manchester-Sheffield. It was not a random one tho. With all the expenses, I wouldn't say it was a budget trip considering ringgit condition and the economy crisis we are facing. However, since I have bought the flight ticket by months early, I couldn't simply cancel the trip. This is what I have been wanting to do since I knew the joy of discovering new places and meeting new people. Unlike any other vacations, this time I took self challenge to break free from my comfort zone and went travelling alone during the whole journey. I must say it took a lot of courage and self-trust to travel on my own to a place out of Malaysia, the place I am not familiar with and surrounded with strangers.
The main reason I chose UK as my inaugural solo trip was because of the language. I wouldn't want to stuck in a strange country alone because of the language barrier. Clearly Londoners speak British English which is the same language we learn in schools. By speaking the same language it helped me to minimize the chances of becoming victim of any fraud or getting lost. True enough, it was easy to travel around London, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield as the people were very helpful and the directions were clearly understandable. The public transportation were superb and very useful for the convenience of travelers both local and tourist. As I was travelling alone, it was a lot easier and cheaper to travel by the buses, tubes and the trains. Not to say cheap but cheaper compared to taxis and rented car. I managed to figure out the tubes and buses system in London within a day of my arrival. I forced my self to learn and remember the nearest bus/tube stations and which bus/tube leads where, to avoid getting lost and causing my time and travelling plan. Oh ! City mappers, phone app, helped me a lot throughout my trip in London. Saved me a lot of my time getting from one place to another. It turned me into a Londoner in one click !
Day One :
By the time I landed in Heathrow Airport, it was very early in the morning, 0515, and the whole airport process took me around 2 hours to get my bag, pass the security and the customs. They sure asked me a lot from why I was there alone to the point I had to explain my whole 3 week travelling plan. Well I guess that's what they do to first timer huh. Then I continued my journey to my rented place before I left the house for first tour in London. Luckily I did not experience any symptoms of jet lag as my sleeping time in Malaysia was already crooked. I wasted no time and the first thing I went to was the London Bridge. Already overwhelmed with the view, I walked along River Thames and enjoyed few street performances. Done walking, I took a ride on their London Hop On Hop Off bus and discovered more places that I then added into my checklist. Basically my first day was more to discover the places I need to go in London and to learn the basic London live.
Day Two :
Woke up with cold hands and nose due to the cold weather (12º) which I am not used to and there was no place to hide since I was already fully covered with blankets and socks. Went to the kitchen and made hot tea as breakfast and muffins courtesy of the host. Felt much better after the hot shower and was ready to go out at 1100. On the second day, I took the underground to Oxford street and walked all the way to Piccadilly Circus in which covered Bond Street and Soho Square as well. Thanks to the weather, I didn't sweat nor did I feel dehydrated. In fact, it felt so refreshing to walk long distance across so many beautiful buildings and views. I enjoyed every moment and every view my eye landed on.