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Homeless in London

Tonight my two suitcases, cardboard box and myself became homeless, left fending for ourselves in a foreign city.

I am without a home, without family or friends to turn to and, to be honest, it’s at this point where I really want to go to the airport and catch a one-way flight home.

I had been staying with family for the past three-weeks but with another child on the way, I can’t stay on their couch any longer (so much for notice…).
Upon leaving their house in a cushy suburb in South-West London I feel tears well up in my eyes – not because I was going to miss them, but because for once I don’t have a plan and it scared me

Welcome to the Real World.

A big shiny black cab rolls up to the house at 9:30pm and I get in quietly wondering where the next stop will be for me. A frantic phone call home to Australia and two-hours of Starbucks WIFI left me with a short list of options. A few more phone calls turned up at a dead end – everywhere was booked for the night.

What was I going to do now?

A funny though crossed my mind – when finishing camp I hadn’t made any plans on where to say and my Mum suggested that I try the YMCA. They were clean, friendly and where she had stayed a number of times as a young teenager looking for a place to stay when traveling. The YMCAs to me bought up images of disrepair, no hot water in the showers and mouldy food in corridors from stories I had heard but desperately not wanting to sleep in the train station, I looked up the phone numbers to local YMCAs and on my third phone call – EUREKA!

Turns out, the local YMCA has a room which I can occupy for a few days until I find my own appartment – problem (kinda) solved! The floor is occupied by long-term staying dancers from the local school and they happily chat to me and claim to “love my accent!” (though secretly I internally squeal when they speak with their proper British accents) Unlike what I had expected the room is clean, the bed is a bed (not a couch! Yippee!) and it has a nice window looking over the street below. What more can a girl want?!!

I am lucky. I am in England – an English speaking country – which made things slightly simpler. I am luck I actually listened to my Mothers advice of “always remember the YMCAs” (thanks Mum!) I am lucky Starbucks provided me with free wifi (all for the cost of a £1.20 water!) and I am very lucky I didn’t lose the plot and break down crying like a big part of me wanted to do.

I love to make plans for everything but tonights experience has taught me that being adaptable and flexible as a traveller is important because over planing can actually be just as stressful when something happens to change your plans.

So for now, I have a temporary home It’s reminiscent of College back home in Australia which is nice in a small comforting way. But the hunt for my London home continues!

Image:  Sleepy Train Station Travelers, Budapest © Ahron de Leeuw    Photo taken from: http://www.vagabondish.com/travel-tips-sleeping-well-in-foreign-place/

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Cindy Eve (@3days_in_london)
    November 10, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Hi Nicole,

    I just read your post of the September 24th. So sorry you were in that position and if I had known, would have been happy to offer you a couch at our house. Glad you got sorted at the YMCA….good on Mum 🙂 Also check out the Universities, I stayed in one near Elephant & Castle for £10p.n. although that was some years ago.
    You are so right, as travellers we do have to be adaptable, but sometimes we are thrown a curved ball and that can be quite disconcerting.
    How are you getting on now? All settled I hope. If you ever need a bed for a night or two please do drop me a line on the email I left above. In fact drop me a line anyway & lets connect. 🙂
    Take care.
    Warm regards
    Cindy
    @3days_in_london

  • Reply
    Cindy Eve (@3days_in_london)
    November 10, 2012 at 12:08 am

    and…..I just noticed the date 🙂 2010!!! LOL sorry. I am rubbish at checking my emails and am working through over 350 unread mails at the moment. Saw your headline & replied immediately without checking the date! However, the sentiment remains…..if and when you are next in London and need a couch for a day or so, drop me a line 🙂
    Regards
    Cindy

    • Reply
      Nicole
      November 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Aw hi Cindy! Thank you so much for your kind offer and fantastic suggestions.
      Haha, yes, this post was from just a wee while ago and now I’m splitting my time 3-months in Oz/3-months in the crazy that is London.

      Hopefully we can meet up for a coffee when our baths cross again. Really love your site! =)

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