I have been reading so many travel blogs lately. I am such as masochist, because doing so only makes me long, deep inside, to be traveling. Since my last big trip was the one I took to the U.K. and Ireland, now five years ago, it is what I obsessively refer to when I talk about my “travels”. The only thing I really want in this life is to experience new places, people, culture, and rich experiences. Since my bank account prohibits any such fanciful dreams, I can only live vicariously through my own memories.
I am re-blogging a post I did years ago on my old site. It is about why I loved London so much. Enjoy!
Oh, London, sweet London. How I adore you. I adore your pomp and circumstance, your tiny little side streets full of ancient row homes, your funny little pubs with strange names, that usually involve the word ‘head’, and your wonderfully, familiar feel. See, my first time in London was not really my first time. I had been there before. With Becky. Becky is who, you ask? No, Becky is not a distant, crazy aunt or a lucky duck friend, living it up in Britain. Becky is Becky Bloomwood, a character in my favorite book series. Yes, I understand that my basic white girl level just registered a new high, but any woman who meets Becky is instantly in love and hooked for life. Becky is the print form of me, straight from the imagination of the genius author, Sophie Kinsella. I can relate to every single thing Becky represents, right down to her preference in candy bars and her inability to say ‘no’ to a pair of delicious shoes. During the height of my credit card debt, due to excessive shopping, Becky was in debt for the exact same reason. While I began my (still on-going) obsession with purses, Becky salivated over designer bags. Becky was pretty much my idol as she always found her way out of the scrapes she got herself in, and even better, she was British and lived in London. I am convinced that I lived in England in another life, so it made sense I would relate so well to a character like Becky.
On my first day in London, I had a full blown ecstatic fit when I saw my first Boots, Marks & Spencer and Oddbins. My boyfriend looked at me like I was straight out of the looney bin when I shouted, “That is where Becky buys her tampons! That is where Becky buys the ingredients to her curry! That is where Becky buys her wine!” His response, as he pointed to a pub named, The King’s Head, “And this is where I find a sane girlfriend, one with an adorable British accent.” I barely batted an eye to his facetious remark and kept exploring the shops on the streets for something else I recognized. When I found my first Topshop, my boyfriend could barely stand my Becky references. He rolled his eyes and said, “Is this the only reason we came to London? To see where Becky went shopping? Oh my GOD, I just referred to her as if she were a real person!” Then he went stomping off. Again, I didn’t care. I felt as if the books I had read were real and I was a part of them.
After a long, exciting morning of museums and London history I decided we would have lunch in a quaint sounding place called, Maida Vale. When we emerged into the sunlight from the tube, I was in awe. Maida Vale was swank-very white row houses and neat trees lined the clean streets. There was a wild gleam in my eye and my boyfriend noticed it, “Oh… no. Oh… NO! You have that look. Let me guess, Maida Vale is where Becky walks her dog?”. Ha! That said what he knew, “Becky doesn’t even have a dog!” He just rolled his eyes again and I said, “This is where Becky lives…”, under my breath. He gave me a look that said ‘Of course’ and ‘How did I not guess?’. To get his mind off why we were in Maida Vale, clear across London from where we were staying, I steered him towards a pub called, Queens Arms. It was a typical British pub-tacky wall-to-wall carpet, dark wood everywhere, and cushy seats, perfect to watch the football in all day. I thought quickly that Becky would never be caught dead in such a place, but I had to appease the boy. After his Worthington’s and Bangers and Mash he forgot all about why we had rode the tube for 30 minutes, standing room only.
I know some may think me mad for being so crazed about a character in a book, but when you relate so perfectly to a character, they feel like a part of you. You feel like the author created such a character just for you. No, Becky was not the only reason I went to London. I have wanted to see Big Ben, the London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, and those awesome red phone booths for ages, long before Becky. Knowing and adoring such a lovable character who made London and everything in it her home, made London feel like home to me. I felt comfortable and welcome. I felt like I was back in the bosom after a long time abroad. The feeling I had in London will stay with me. I will forever, fondly regard London as my second home, and Becky as my connection to it all. Hey, don’t judge!