There have been those who have called me brave for making this move overseas. And I suppose to some extent, it does require a good amount of confidence to leave behind the familiar and do something completely different than you’ve ever done before. So a strong sense of adventure, I will claim, but bravery? That’s pushing it a little. I came here with the safety net of having the people I love the most with me. The ones who strike out all on their own, now those are the brave ones.
You want to hear just how brave I am? Up until a month ago, I wouldn’t even travel outside my little Chiswick comfort zone if I were by myself. I was so afraid of taking the wrong tube, or getting so lost that I couldn’t even find the tube, that I refused to go anywhere that I couldn’t walk to unless I had someone else with me. And then I met Tina. Or I guess I should say, the situation arose where I needed to meet Tina. And I was going to have to get there on my own.
I had only taken the tube by myself once before, and it was likely that experience that traumatized me for so long about traveling through London on my own. That first time I ended up more lost than I’ve ever been before, walking around for over an hour in an area where there were very few people (and even fewer who spoke English), and without a mobile phone to make a distress call from. So it goes without saying that I must have been really excited to see Tina if I were willing to risk that experience happening again just so I could meet her.
And yet, this time I made it to my destination without incident. No wandering in and out of fabric stores and Indian restaurants hoping someone could get me where I needed to go, and no wishing I’d worn more sensible shoes due to the extreme amount of “lost walking” I was doing. I actually got somewhere all by myself. (Insert dramatic wipe of imaginary sweat off of forehead.) And it offered me the opportunity to meet one of the coolest girls I’ve ever met.
I felt an instant connection to Tina, but I have a feeling her warm personality makes everyone feel that way. We spent an afternoon exploring London, taking pictures, and chatting like we’d been friends for ten years. And like the Americans we are, we made a point to search out the closest Mexican food. (Gigantic stuffed burrito from Tortilla? Tell me you could turn that down.)
While we hung out, without her even realizing it, Tina taught me an important lesson. You see, Tina is almost as new to England as I am and she doesn’t even live in London, yet she was willing to make the journey up here to meet me. (And I’m betting she didn’t practically send herself into a panic attack over traveling the distance to get here either!) She’s lived all over the world and knows an adventure is well worth the risk. That’s something I’m beginning to realize as well, thanks to her. With the possibility of only three years here in England, I can’t afford to let an experience pass me by because I’m too afraid of getting lost, or just too afraid in general.
Ever since that day with Tina, I’ve been hopping on tubes and buses and navigating the city
like a pro with minimal incidents. I’d still rather get lost with someone else by my side than be lost alone, because everybody knows that’s way more fun, but that fear I spent the first few months living here with has all but disappeared. Sometimes it just takes meeting someone braver than yourself to help you find the courage to get lost in adventures.