I preface all of this by acknowledging that I am extremely lucky on all fronts to be able to embark on a trip like this. I have a supportive spouse who encouraged me; I have amazing friends who let me stay with them; I have a day job that actually encourages me to take my time off; and I have some wiggle-room in my bank account to afford it.┬áThat said, I’d like to share some of the adventures I had on my first solo vacation.

I’ve made no secret of my Anglophilia, so when I was considering a getaway England was at the top of my list. And London, with its 2,000 years of history always has plenty to explore. Friends within commuting distance let me stay in their spare room meaning that it was all an easy train ride away. Having been to London twice before, I also felt comfortable with my basic understanding of the city and using the Underground.

One of the 270 labyrinths in Tube stations. This one hangs at King’s Cross / St. Pancras

So I made a list of the weird, out-of-the-way places I wanted to see — old cemeteries, odd house museums, unusual bookstores, hidden architecture spots — and began to draw up my plans. I mapped each location, then created small day trips in the naturally occuring clusters. This worked even better than I hoped. It allowed me to make one main journey to a neighborhood, then wander between the points of interest as I felt like it. The result was a (relatively) relaxed view of London’s tucked away neighborhoods.

I also made a point of meeting one new person per day. I’m not one to strike up a conversation with a relative stranger, but I found I was always glad that I did.

Tottenham Hale labyrinth

It was a tremendous adventure that I am so glad I made happen. So this is an encouragement to anyone who thinks they “couldn’t possibly” or it would “be too much of a bother.” If you are able, do it. Get out there. Visit the grave of the writer you love. Poke around the old bookshop that smells amazing. Get annoyed at other tourists because they don’t know where they are going and you feel like a local now. Stand on the bridge where a wacky guy destroyed the world’s greatest font.

I’ll be sharing my adventures in a series of themed posts and I hope it inspires you to find your own weird thing to do.

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