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/