Word to the wise: when booking flights around Europe with RyanAir, pay close attention to the airport you are flying into. I know that sounds self explanatory but I mean REALLY plan things out.
A month in to my trip to Ireland, I decided I needed a break and to get out for a bit. After looking up flights and times, I was able to secure a round trip flight to London for only 30 Euro. It sounds too good to be true right? Right. I flew into Luton Airport at around 11pm on a Thursday night only to have to get a train for about an hour and a half into Liverpool Street Station. Then, I had to get two busses to my hostel where my friend from high school was staying, and I was meeting. It was now 1:30 a.m, I had 2% battery and was dropped off by myself in the middle of nowhere. I had no reception or clue how to make it to my hostel. Needless to say I was freaking out. At the last minute, my maps loaded and I ran with all of my stuff down the streets of London to where I was staying. I had successfully made it to my friends and was excited to start the weekend.
The next morning, I woke up to meet the hostel volunteers to explore the city. My favorite place by far was the Borough Market because of the vibrant colors and amazing food. Unfortunately my friends and I lost the group so took that time to explore the city on our own. It was beautiful and a complete change from Dublin. After exploring the city, we were exhausted and went back to our hostel for dinner which they provided for free and prepared for the pub crawl the hostel had planned. I don’t think I would have had as much fun on this trip if it wasn’t for Hostel One Notting Hill and all of the people I met through it. The next few days went by extremely fast and I was sad to leave, even more so because leaving meant I had to stay in the airport overnight.
My flight was at 6:30 a.m. and unfortunately, no busses, trains, taxis and even Uber drivers could take me to the airport. I had to hop on the Tube to Liverpool Street Station, get a train to a place called Shenfield and then I had a two hour bus ride back to Luton airport. While on my bus ride, I learned that this particular airport was not open 24 hours. In fact, it would not open until 4:30 a.m and it was only 1 a.m. I thought I would have to sit outside and wait, however when I arrived people were sleeping inside the building. I was significantly less terrified and was able to read a book and wait for my flight home. Although the transportation and traveling part of the trip was something I don’t ever want to repeat, the memories I made I would relive over and over again.
I learned a lot about myself and what I was capable of and was inspired by our roommate at the hospital to solo travel again. She is only 19 years old and has been making her way throughout Europe for six months alone. In Thailand she hitchhiked and hopped on to the back of a moped up a mountain in pitch black by herself just to get to her hostel. She told me it was the scariest moment by far and she never wanted to do it again but does not regret traveling. I want to live like her and be as independent.
Now enjoy some photos and a few of my favorite moments from London.