Erstwhile Expeditions is an ongoing series in which I reflect on my past travel experiences. I recently wrote about my search for my first job in London and how I left that job after only four weeks. In my last post, I wrote about the search for something better.
One of the best things about moving back to London was my new flat.
I discovered the flat through Nick, a friend that I had met upon first arriving in London. We had kept in touch during my few weeks away, and he had moved into our work abroad program’s long-term hostel. As luck would have it, just as I was returning to London, a room became available and I quickly snagged it.
The flat was a traditional-style English flat, located in West Kensington. It housed two bedrooms and one bathroom on each floor, except for the main floor which replaced one of the bedrooms with a living area.
Each bedroom had two beds and a small kitchenette. The kitchenette was a large cabinet with a few shelves, a mini-fridge, and a stovetop. It was nice for simple meals, but I didn’t cook a lot at home.
My roommate and I had a room on the second floor, overlooking the street. Our room had high ceilings and two massive windows. We had a beautiful view of an old church across the block.
Morgan, my roommate, had been living in the flat for some time before I moved in. She was Canadian, and was on a year-long work visa, thus she remained my roommate for the entirety of my stay. We got along quite well. She was working an office job with regular weekday hours, and I was waitressing with odd hours. We each got to spend a lot of personal time alone, but also had many occasions to hang out together.
The rest of my flatmates were a lot of fun, too. While a few people came and went during my stay, those of us there for a long time formed a core group of friends. We had a lot of fun together, hanging out and exploring the city.
We became regulars at a few local pubs and participated in their respective pub quizzes. We tried all kinds of food at local eateries. One warm evening, we grilled kebabs in our tiny backyard. We took day trips both around the city and even ventured out to other English towns. We wandered through Greenwich and had tea in Stratford-upon-Avon. We visited Canterbury Cathedral. We even travelled as a group to our local laundromat, lugging suitcases back and forth down the city streets.
On rainy evenings after work, we lounged in our little living room watching British television shows. Nick worked at a cupcake shop and would sometimes bring leftovers home for us to devour.
I spent much of my time traveling exploring places on my own, but there was something special about the time I spent with my flatmates. I experienced new things through the eyes of a group of friends — not just my own.
Even though we’ve since lost touch, I’m grateful for the time I spent with them in London. They enriched my experience and left me with countless memories that I could not have created alone.