My Greatest Adventure
This month’s travel link-up is all about our Greatest Adventures, make sure you head over to hosts Angie, Jessi, Emma and Andrea’s blogs to have a read of theirs and many other tales of adventure from a whole host of lovely bloggers. My Greatest Adventure isn’t one that has taken me to far flung shores nor has it had me circumnavigating the globe. Instead it’s one that has seen me make many many trips up and down the M1 over that last 11 years.
At some point in 6th Form as many of you will know you have to apply to different universities through the dreaded UCAS form, I decided in my naive 17yr old wisdom that not only would I be applying for drama and acting courses that I would also make my Mum and Dad have near heart attacks by putting down 5 choices out of 6 that were over 200 miles away. I visited the different establishments and eventually set my heart upon on the Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage. I completed my application, went through the audition process and waited nervously for the letter to arrive that would decide my fate over the next 4 years (I made one wise decision and opted to have a Gap Year in order to save money for the big move down to London)
One completely unremarkable morning the post arrived as normal and there on the doormat was a letter from Central saying I had made it through with a conditional offer, so dependant on my grades my London dreams would be coming true! RESULT! I would be moving to the capital, a place I’d visited with parents over the years and dreamed I’d get the chance to live in one day! I started to imagine the amazing flat I’d live in with the awesome new friends I’d meet at University, I would visit the theatre every week and shop all weekend on Oxford Street. The truth wasn’t too far removed from this but it was a bit different!
Due to Central not having Halls of Residence it was up to students to make friends via chat-rooms linked to their website, this was how I met my very first flat-mates, Gemma, Lucie and Sophie. Before we had even met in real-life we had made the plan we would live together and met before the course started to look at flats. That first train to London on my own was terrifying, I had no idea what the girls would be like (this was before the days of Facebook so I couldn’t even cyber-stalk them) and had never experienced renting a property before so was thrown right in the deep end doing it in London. We secured our first flat quite easily, 118 Belsize Road, just a 5 minute walk from the University and my parents arrived a few days later with a van full of new student ‘essentials’ just as all parents do when their babies fly the nest. Not quite sure how we stored the 16 different pans we had between the 4 of us in our tiny kitchen but we made it work!
I quickly fell into the London life with visits to Camden (before the market became all polished and posh) and late nights out in the infamous clubs of that era; Mahiki, Embassy and China White. I even got my Oxford Street dream by cheekily winning myself a job at Selfridges by calling up and saying someone had left a message on my phone regarding an interview when in fact they hadn’t! I was bold and felt like I really had taken on the Greatest Adventure of my life in moving to the Capital.
I of course missed my folks and my little sister who were a 400 mile round trip away but that was nothing a Megabus (grim) journey couldn’t solve and they were regular visitors to see me too, in I like to think the fact me moving down here was the inspiration for my sister to do her degree in London as well.
I’ve now been in London almost 12 years and whilst I no longer live as close to the centre as I once did, I have a lot to thank that crazy decision I made when I was 17 for. I loved my degree course and met some of my closet friends through it. I lived with Gemma and Lucie (2 of the original flat-mates) for the entire time I was on my course and I consider them to still be my very best friends to this day, both were bridesmaids at my wedding and it’s amazing to think I met them through a chance chat-room encounter. Gemma and I became one half of our pretend girls group ‘The Bambinos’ alongside two other friends where we used this girl group to facade to get on the guest-list for the clubs I mentioned above.
My job at Selfridges enabled me to earn enough money to still be able to travel during my time at University and also funded those Megabus and slightly more expensive train journeys up to see my Mum and Dad. The course itself exposed me to styles of theatre and culture I’d never experienced before and although I didn’t get to the theatre every week I made a real good go of getting there as often as I could.
I met and lived with my first boyfriend (not for long though!) and have lived in a total of 9 different flats in the 12 years I have been here, it’s a shame they don’t look at how good a tenant you’ve been as part of a mortgage application as I would right up there at the top of the list.
London led me to start my second greatest adventure; teaching. I wasn’t really planning on becoming a teacher at that stage but a chance picking up of the Metro newspaper and seeing an advert for the Graduate Teacher Programme stirred something in me to apply. I got through and began at my first placement school, I liked the fact that I didn’t have to be sat in a lecture hall learning how to teach and instead I was in the class-room from Day 1 learning on the job. I owe a lot to that first school, it was a baptism of fire and again I met some of my closest friends in that intense training year.
Of course it’s also where I met my husband, he knew he was onto a winner when I agreed to ribs at Bodean’s, Soho for our first date!
As I look back at the last 12 years it really does make me realise that moving to London really has been my greatest adventure, so many things have happened due to this catalyst. I am sure my life would have been lovely and just as pleasant had I have stayed in Yorkshire but I love what I’ve created through my move here and whilst I may not stay forever it’s been one hell of a ride and one I am not ready to give up just yet.