I Believed I Could – My Solo Journey to London

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A few years ago, I decided to fulfil a lifelong dream of mine, one that I had been delaying for ‘the right time’ but thankfully it didn’t take me too much time before I realised that there was no such thing. I was going to visit London, solo! As I was prepping for my trip, I was a bit apprehensive about travelling to a new country alone for such a long period of time (my trip was going to be almost a month long) and while I had family and friends in London, I was aware that for the most of my trip (mainly the weekdays), I would be by myself.

I thought twice and then thrice about whether I was rushing my trip in order to not delay it further. I told myself that perhaps I should wait till a friend of mine was able to join me but then I silenced the voices in my head. I had been waiting a long time for this trip and I finally had all the pieces together to make it happen. I was not about to let self-doubt stand in the way of me accomplishing what had I set out to do!

The very first hurdle I had to cross before my trip even began was the visa. The UK visa is infamous for how difficult it is to obtain and how laborious the paperwork involved. The fact that I was a single girl traveller did not help my case either. My first attempt at getting a visa was rejected and I was heartbroken and dejected. The self-doubt came creeping back in. Maybe this was a sign? ‘’No!’ I told myself, ‘try again’. On my second attempt, I did hours of research and read about all the possible ways they could reject me again and worked to find all the possible documents I might need to succeed and guess what? I did! This trip was actually about to happen!

My visa arrived, my tickets were booked and I was off! I arrived in London and I loved every second of my trip more than I could have imagined I would and I was so well looked after by my family that I didn’t even get homesick. I enjoyed my time by myself and in fact my time alone on my trip gave me time to reflect and gain more confidence in myself than ever before.  I managed to do almost all the activities I had planned to do on my trip.

However visiting the Harry Potter Studio, which was #1 on that list (I am a massive Potterhead), was proving to be more difficult than I imagined. Due to my double visa attempt, my timeline was a little off and I was unable to get tickets, they were all sold out! I could not believe my luck. Thankfully, the wizard in me still believed in magic. I refused to stop trying and every morning, I religiously woke up to check the availability of tickets and on the eleventh day of my trip, I managed to get tickets! I vividly remember shrieking for joy and jumping around the house for longer than was necessary. A little bit of magic goes a long way.

My trip to London taught me a lot of things but the most important lesson I learnt was that nothing could stop me from achieving what I set out to do and though I was faced with countless hurdles which would otherwise make me give up, I ploughed on and was rewarded with an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Photo credits: Author Jovina Smith
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