It is odd, after a long journey, to see which memories last the longest.
It’s been an entire year since I spent a summer in London, working as an intern with a financial company in King’s Cross. I fell in love with the city immediately, exploring the cobblestoned streets as often as possible. I went to plays, museums, pubs, concerts, events, parades — even spotting Queen Elizabeth II twice as I made my rounds. I exhausted myself in the fruitless attempt to see “all” of London, spending far too many pounds on plays, gaining far too many pounds on all the steak and ale pies I consumed, and making many wonderful memories.
But oddly enough, the memories that come to mind most frequently are not necessarily the ones I would expect. I often remember the magnificent castles I toured, the landmarks I visited, the museums I entered; but more often than that, I remember the people.
I’m not talking about the famous people, like Queen Elizabeth II and her royal lineage. They were memorable, yes — but quite unrelatable in their memorableness. When I say people, I mean the ones who were like you and I. Like the antique seller I met in Soho, who owned a small, dusty-smelling shop somewhere in the vicinity of Carnaby Street. He wasn’t interested in trying to sell me antiques; instead, he wanted to hear my opinion on the status quo of American politics. We talked for nearly an hour, during which I learned of his previous stint as a standup comedian (it didn’t go well) and his recent vacation to Florida (which also didn’t go well) .
Or if not that person, perhaps it’s the millionaire entrepreneur I met on the train from Vauxhall Station to Gatwick Airport. A heavily-bearded fellow, he had started his own beard cream company and sold it for a small fortune. And now? He was traveling the world purely for adventure, soaking in the luxuries of Europe.
The list goes on and on — the down-on-his-luck chap who tried to sell me tickets to a cricket match outside Lord’s, the posh bookseller in Bloomsbury, the older gentleman at Windsor Castle who served for a brief spell as the queen’s private guard — when it truly comes down to it, it’s the people that I remember, not the places. Maybe it’s the writer in me, or maybe it’s the same for everyone. But when I think of a trip, an adventure, a journey, I…