#71: The Lazy Genius Goes to London
I want to tell you about my trip but not in the traditional sense. The links below will do that, but in this episode, I'm sharing the seven lessons I brought home with me from London. Have a listen.
What trip was this?
It was called Literary London, planned and executed by Tsh Oxenreider, with spiritual direction by Emily P. Freeman, host of The Next Right Thing which should be on your short list of can't-miss podcasts. She's also the one who put together that sweet collage in the photo for this episode.
How can I see what you did?
Check out the highlight on my Instagram account!
Click "LONDON" and enjoy watching! If it's not the first one, just scroll through the highlights until you see it.
What's the music you listened to on your long walk?
Here's the playlist my sister made for me that I'm obsessed with, even in North Carolina. She sometimes shares her musical prowess with my Patreon supporters, so check it out if you want in! And Tsh and I talked a bit about our favorite playlists and how we make them on these two episodes of Simple.
What are the favorite things you did?
In no particular order even though they're ordered...
- Evensong service at Westminster Abbey. They've had a daily prayer service every day in that church for the last thousand years. One thousand. Such a sacred experience. And the choir sang like the whole time! I can't.
- A Jane Austen tour with Phil. The best tour guide, the most beautiful countryside, all for one of my favorite authors. The biggest surprise of the week. Schedule your own.
- A play at the Globe Theater. We saw Othello, and none of us knew how impactful it would be. A can't-miss experience. We sat, didn't stand. Spring for the cushions.
- A meal at Dishoom. We ate at the King's Cross location, and it's in my top five meals I've ever had. The food is as authentic as it comes, and I'm a sucker for a good family style restaurant. If you like Indian food or just wants a baller meal, this recipe is epic.
- The lawn at St. James Park. We saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace which was cool but hard to see. Probably a better experience in the off-season when there aren't so many people. If you do go, stand on the Victoria fountain. You get a better view, and not as many people were over there. After though, we walked across the street to St. James Park, rented these ADORABLE green striped chairs, sat under a tree, ate roasted chicken sandwiches with rosemary mayo sold at a little shop up the street, and talked about vocation and other meaningful things. It felt like fall, looked like England, and was a delight. P.S. You have to pay cash to sit in the chairs.
- Brunch at The Breakfast Club. What a sweet little restaurant. I got the chorizo hash which was delicious and an enormous amount of food (consider splitting that one), and they had my favorite flat white of the trip. A sweet little place that is the kind of neighborhood experience you hope for.
- Wandering around Oxford. We were hemmed in a little by a tour guide, but if I had a full day to wander, Oxford would be my choice. It was stunning and had great energy, especially if you like the feel of a college town. Plus there is so much literary history tucked into every corner.
- Dinner at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese. I sat in the seat "frequently occupied by Charles Dickens" so yeah no big deal. The menu is perfect English pub food (hello, delicious mushy peas), the dining room was quiet and lovely (until we started laughing), and I realized that I can get tipsy off of cider since it has alcohol even though I didn't know that.
- Wandering with friends. One day, I walked around Covent Gardens with Jamie and Bri, laughing and window shopping and trying to figure out bus schedules. Another day, I hung out with Emily, drinking lattes outside a little coffee shop, shopping at Daunt Books (the best bookstore ohmygosh), and waiting for ferry boats that took awhile to come. Doing regular life in an irregular place with a friend by your side is a gift that most tour books don't talk about.
- Jamie analyzing Myquillyn's personality based on her phone apps. You can see the best moment in my highlight, but in the folder "Business," Myq had just one app - the Domino's Pizza app. We all died. I hate "you had to be there" moments, but I love that something so random was such a galvanizing memory. Your trip doesn't have to be full of every iconic stop; sometimes the ride is even better.
What did you pack?
I did a little capsule wardrobe action which helped, but I wish I'd brought more than one pair of pants. I went with black, white, denim, olive, and blush pink. If it didn't match those colors, I didn't bring it, and I tried on a few random outfit combos before I left to make sure everything worked.
Walking around a city feels like a lot of stress on a person's feet, but my shoes were stellar. I mostly wore my Pons which I've mentioned on Instagram before. I love these shoes. I own black and brown and can't wait to add another color in the future. They don't have a lot of arch support, but unless you suffer from significant foot issues, I can't imagine these wouldn't work well. They need a tiny bit of time to break in but barely, and they cover your toes while still being sandals! That's my favorite perk. But seriously you guys, I walked around London in these things without a single blister or sore foot. The best.
I didn't check a bag, so I had to do the whole "3 oz bottles in a quart bag" thing. I got this TSA-approved toiletry bag and loved it. It fit so much stuff, was super sturdy, and easy to pull in and out of my carryon during security checks.
I also used these modular bags to stick in my suitcase. One for clothes, another for underwear, one for jewelry, etc. It made finding stuff so much easier, I wasn't overwhelmed by every single thing I brought when I opened my suitcase, and I honestly think it helped me fit more because I could smoosh the zipped bags together and everything stayed contained. I never want to pack without these again.
How was the flight?
I wasn't prepared for the red eye going to London. Since we flew overnight, I assumed I'd sleep a lot, even if I was a tad uncomfortable. You guys. It was TERRIBLE but mostly because my expectations were off. We took off before 11pm, and flight attendants were coming through with trays of chicken and manicotti at 12:30am. I got a little rage-y. I'm trying to sleep! Why would I want chicken!
But, y'all, sleeping on a plane in a way that marginally resembles sleeping in a bed is kind of impossible. Lean into being awake and fade in and out if it happens. I could've watched movies instead of lying still and uncomfortable with noise-cancelling headphones, a silk eye mask, and basically a straight jacket. I learned my lesson on the flight home, took the food they gave me, watched multiple movies, dozed when my eyes closed, and didn't force anything. Worlds apart.
Want another perspective on the trip? Tsh and Emily did an episode on Simple debriefing the whole thing literally days after we got back. It'll scratch more of your London itch if you have one.