Next time I return to the UK, I will… (or All the wrong choices I made)

2010
11.15
 
 

Photo by FlickRiver

  • Find more unique pubs. I wasn’t aware at that time that chain, generic pubs even existed and that they weren’t anywhere near authenticity. I’m on a quest to find waterside pubs and historic pubs. Suggestions?
  • Experience the afternoon tea. I know it’s expensive and terribly old-fashioned, but the afternoon tea is such a quaint trait of Britain and yet I haven’t been to one – the scones and cucumber sandwiches are calling me.
  • Take more photos. I took the city for granted and forgot to snap many things I now miss, especially insignificant sights in my neighborhood. Sure, I had a Camden Street plate custom made but I didn’t snap by backyard, Camden Town station, double deckers – it didn’t even occur to me because I had the feeling I would always be there.
  • Get out more. I was a bit reluctant to get out because I was usually by myself and thought it would be boring. I slowly realized it wasn’t the case but it was too late – time had gone by and I was on a race to tick every item off my ‘To-See’ list. Maybe I was just trying too hard, too.
  • Have lunch at Yo Sushi. Now that I finally entered the world of sushi-lovers (I know I’m 10 years late), I would love to go there, with the rotating plates and everything. Looks like something out of the Jetsons.
  • Spend less time shopping. How many hours have I wasted in Primark queuing for the fitting rooms and the cashier? Or counting how many Canadian bucks this sweater was? It was a lousy investment of money and time, two things I will never get back.
  • Buy more souvenirs. I know it’s a bit contradictory with the previous goal but really, I wish I could have tangible souvenirs of my time in London, because my current collection of souvenirs consists of a mini phone box and museum tickets. My boyfriend even forgot to buy a UCL T-Shirt, where he was part of an exchange, although our home is pretty much sponsored by McGill University.
  • Take advantage of the great railway system. I’m sure many Brits would beg to differ but as opposed to what we have in Canada, the railway system in Britain is actually pretty extensive (that’s a t, not a p) and efficient. Aside from an Edinburgh-London roundtrip, the few times I used the trains were to get to Marlow for work - that’s hardly called an experience. I wish I would’ve done something like Lauren and just hopped on the next train to somewhere, anywhere.

And last, but not least:

  • Socialize. My biggest disappointment is undoubtedly that I didn’t make any friends. I haven’t met anyone. The closest contacts I had were my curry dealer at Curry 4U and the cashier at Sainsbury’s. That’s just how social my life was. I wish I would’ve worked, hung out, laughed, drank, lived with Londoners, people I would be in touch with for the years to come, people I would keep track of on Facebook and pollute their walls with ‘Hey, we should meet up soon, it’s been too long!’ messages. I don’t have any souvenirs of crazy late nights and laughs with the locals and every time I think about it, it makes me really sad. Maybe it was because I already had a partner and didn’t feel so lonely? Maybe it was because of the English reputation? I’m not sure. All I know is that next time, I will make the effort – and I’m sure I will be rewarded.

Do you have any travel regrets? is it possible not to have any? Are there things you would do differently?

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10 Responses to “Next time I return to the UK, I will… (or All the wrong choices I made)”

  1. Lauren says:

    Nice post! Especially relevant to me because I don’t want to leave England with regrets. First off, I have a love-hate relationship with Primark. That store is so appealing, yet so revolting at the same time. I’m not sure how their clothes are so cheap and I’m not sure I want to know. Second, I actually went to Yo Sushi the last time I was in London. I’m sorry to say that it was pretty awful. Would NOT return :( Third, I LOVE the tube. I think it’s fantastic (although expensive) but it’s incredibly clean and efficient. And lastly, I was debating getting a sweatshirt from the University of Southampton today-I think I definitely will after this post. This post made me so happy, thanks for a great read :)

    And P.S. did you study abroad in London or spend an extended period living there?

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  3. Marie says:

    Well that was prompt! ;)

    1) I know. In addition to my money-regret, I have this social-regret going on. I’m never going back there again. I think.
    2) Now that makes me feel better!
    3) I love the tube too, but I prefer buses. The view, the feeling of sitting upstairs, the icon… something about it I can’t resist.
    4) You should get it. It’s not a random sweatshirt if you put it in your drawer, take it out in a few years and smile at the thought of your time in the UK ;)

    I’m glad you had fun reading it! I hope you won’t have as many regrets as I have.

    P.S. I didn’t study, my boyfriend did. I worked full time from home. In total, I lived in London for 10 months.

  4. [...] Next time I return to the UK, I will… (or All the wrong choices I made) « Eurotrip Tips [...]

  5. Steve says:

    When it comes to a place like the UK, you’re going to end up wanting to do more than you have time for. It’s only natural since there’s so much to see there.

    I don’t really have any travel regrets since I consider all traveling to be worthwhile. Although on some trips I wish I had taken a few more photos. I’ve learned take tons now though and sift through them afterwards. You’re right about socializing too. Socializing with locals while traveling has given me some great experiences, plus some cool facebook friends too. Great post.

  6. Marie says:

    Thanks Steve for your input.
    I know the UK has much to offer - I thought a whole year would be sufficient to cover it! Apparently, not in my case. I admire your way of seeing travels and being so sereine about it. Good for you (and your pictures!) :)

  7. Ant Stone says:

    London is hard for most English people. I’m sorry to hear you feel sad, but glad you have some goals to achieve next time you’re over here. Perhaps consider CouchSurfing (it’s not just for couches) or joining an interest group.

    I won’t lie to you — I tell people to go to authentic English pubs all the time (“chain, generic pubs” are unfortunately the majority these days), but if you’re there alone, it could be a real let down. Same goes for bars in Canada though, right?

    I accept that England can be a hard place to be alone — with 60 million people in the UK, it can seem like everyone’s a couple, in a crew, or has their iPod headphones in.

    Great summary.

  8. Marie says:

    Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you liked this!
    I thought of interest group once I was back home - there are so many I could have registered to, like photography. I was just so scared of not fitting in.

    I don’t feel the same way about bars in Canada, as over here bars are just bars - there’s only a handful you want to avoid. Nothing to do with the legendary quaintness of English pubs anyway. ;)

    I’m glad to hear things in London are not easy for English either. Although your statistics makes me pretty sad - 60 million people and yet I couldn’t even make one friend? How lame is that? :P

  9. Cailin says:

    I was just in London last week! I know what you mean when you say it seems hard to find non-chain pubs sometimes. Fortunately I hung out with some Londoner friends and some wannabes and one of the places they took me too I highly recommend! :) Find more information about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ye_Olde_Cheshire_Cheese

    I always have regrets after travels, mostly because I ran out of time, but then I just make sure to go back to those places again! :)

  10. Marie says:

    Well I think I might just start to like you even more since you have actual Londoner friends ;)

    Thanks for the tip. I already have a to-do list, I just added the pub to it.

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