I lived in London for 3 years and spent a lot of time wandering around trying to discover every corner of a city that spreads so widely and has such an eclectic society it seems like an entire world of its own. It is a lot bigger than it seems, and so much smaller at the same time. The things that intimidate new comers most about London, become the best aspects, the things that make one huge city feel small and homely.
In my last days as a London resident it lost much of its allure for me, in that it was somewhere that I knew so well and recognised so easily that like a work commuter, I began walking it idly not paying attention to the wonderful things it offers. It felt sometimes as if the icing in the cake had melted, the cherry on top had been devoured by grey concrete buildings, a working mind that does not stop to look and everyone’s rush and hurry to get from one place to the next in a never stopping city that refuses to shut its eyes and sit still and tranquil for a day. London had simply become my tarmac playground in which I was bored of playing in. So I moved on. With a heavy heart and sight accustomed to the darkness of London I left.
Leaving London was in many ways a blessing and a curse. The land of opportunity was now not as accessible for me which created a lot of difficulties to involve myself in things that I love like arts and culture, live music, theatre. I was unable to constantly wear my spectator shoes and witness worldwide spectacles take place at my doorstep. Leaving London made me, only for a while but long enough to sadden me, dull, still and quiet. I do not thrive in quiet surroundings, I find them uninspiring and disconnected from influences that can only strengthen your art. However, not all is negative.
I had lost a lot of perspective in London, a city that revolves and evolves entirely around its own axis and takes with it everything and everyone inside, it is very easy to live for yourself and only for your egocentric needs and desires in a city as such. Where things move so fast and everything blends in, we all thrive to make sure we move just as fast but without getting lost or forgotten in the crowds. We all want to be so different that we end up looking exactly the same. This sad reality of a city in which all dreams and aspirations all seem limitless was making me feel like I was limited. I feel leaving London came at the right time for me, as now surrounded by completely different things, my creative sphere has expanded and I have engulfed so many new things. I was in a very confusing place, where London wasn’t where I wanted to be but going home was not appealing to me either. Now I am grateful for both and for the proximity I have to the fast moving capital and the quiet, growing county of Hertfordshire, and even more extremely so the completely stagnant Suffolk, where my thoughts are able to gather and slowly unscramble themselves as the stillness soothes my mind.
Now, as someone who is constantly moving from one busy setting to a calmer one in a 20 minute train journey, I feel that I have been re-born creatively. I feel that although I wanted to leave I quickly missed it because I was not sure how an unmoving town would inspire me, but in so many ways this has been the biggest influence. Knowing and living in the stark difference between three areas constantly, I now visit London with eyes of a knowing tourist. A seasoned Londoner discovering things and opening my eyes to movement that I would shy away from because I was stuck in a cycle of commute, forgetting to observe the small snippets of colour that the grey city has to offer. I travel from silence to movement to a buzz of life with such desire to take it all in. I adapt myself to each of these settings, and I feel that now I own London more than I did when I was living there. The beauty of having experienced living in the capital, is that now, now that I am not always there, I truly delve fully into the days that I have there, getting myself lost to find something new. Visiting London knowing that I will never get truly lost but always find a bit of myself is the most inspiring thing of all.
I leave you now with some photos over the years of my time as a humble resident of the capital.