I wanted to bring you a slightly different view of London than the well know touristy path which of course is still fun and for a first time traveler an absolute must to experience. But what surprised me about this city and exceeded my expectations was the superb kindness and depth of its citizens. I’d like to tell you a bit more about the people of London and how I met a few of them…
THE HUMANS OF LONDON
I’ve stayed in an airbnb flat near London Bridge with the loveliest host one can ask for. Lydia is a very well traveled and worldly lady whose kindness, friendship and hospitality I will definitely remember. We had some great chats about life, love and friendship and it became very apparent to me that no matter where one lives or what one does we are all fundamentally on a journey of finding an authentic voice and passion that translates not only into our lifestyles but also our work.
Lydia introduced me to a few of her friends who were just as lovely as her and with my ‘no plans whatsoever’ default position on this trip I’ve got to spend some time hanging out with them. And what fun it’s been. On my farewell night a friend of mine who I know from Sydney ended up joining us for dinner and drinks only to realise that Lydia and him have friends in common and attended the same parties in the past. It again affirms what I found to be true: our values and interests will attract similar spirited people into our lives and we are all bound to meet one day and instantly feel like we’ve known eachother forever or know the same people…
CONNECT WITH NATURE EVEN IF YOU ARE VISITING A CITY
As I was sunning myself in Hyde Park one day a lovely family of 3 girls with their Mum sat near me. They looked like they were taking a break from walking around town and enjoying the beautiful sunny London day.
About 15 minutes later a very elegant gentleman in a suit and tie rocked up with bags of food and a lovely happy attitude. Clearly it was a lunch meet up all along but of course I was oblivious to it at first. What followed was an absolute pleasure to watch and witness: the father kissed every single one of them, gave out lunch with the most beautiful explanation of the foods, made himself comfortable on the grass and spent over an hour with his family interacting, talking, chasing the girls around the park and being the most beautiful father I’ve seen in a long time…
I don’t know whether I’ve been just rushing through life so much lately that I failed to notice these sort of families around me or a simple fact that these sort of things just don’t happen that often anymore, especially not in large cities like London or Sydney. It’s not often you see such genuine and loving exchange of words, affection and fun. I would feel absolutely blessed if I ever created a family like that…
As a photographer I try challenging myself when composing my frames but also pushing my fear aside when photographing people. It is by far the hardest to do as I don’t want to be intrusive but at the same time I am always eager to capture what I see especially if it intrigues me. As such, an opportunity presented itself at Camden markets as I’ve noticed this gorgeous girl with some extreme body art. There is a sense of admiration, wonder, intrigue, curiosity and an enormous amount of respect I’ve got for individuals that are not afraid from expressing themselves and owning it with pride.
I’ve noticed Ivonne Kathrin on the tube to Camden markets and was very tempted to ask her for permission to photograph her then and there. But I didn’t… So when she got off at the same train station as me I knew I had to approach her for a photo. With the kindest most soft spoken voice and approach she happily posed for me and I snapped away… I’d love her to model for me properly one day if our paths cross again…
From the experience of more than a decade of travel, I know that one can never get a true sense of a place if only spending 2-3 days at each location. I know it can be tempting to cover a lot of ground especially when you go to places like Europe and the US but I would advise against it. Why? You will end up exhausted, rushed and stressed worrying about the next plane, train or bus to catch and jamming way too much into your every day.
I had no plans and no agenda and as I am writing this post to you from my home town, I still don’t and loving every moment of it. My body, mind, soul, and pretty much my life in the upcoming weeks to this trip have been somehow protesting to the idea of me putting down a list or a plan to pursue. It has resulted in this state of absolute ‘spontaneity’ and boy, do I think it’s been the best thing ever.
It allowed me to have an open mind for things like attending a local meditation group I’ve mentioned in my previous post. Jamie, the yoga and meditation teacher I met was someone who inspired this action on that particular day as if he knew I was seeking some information about meditation in general. I guarantee you if I had an action packed pre-planned itinerary this sort of thing wouldn’t have happened…
THE ACCIDENTAL STORIES AND PEOPLE
…and then there are the people you meet by being at the right time, at the right place doing the right thing. For me it was being at Southbank, London watching the sun setting behind the Palace of Westminster when a group of 4 gentlemen with no shoes rocked up for a photo shoot exactly where I was standing. They were there to be photographed for a campaign against the current British government holding up a sign saying ‘Why all the problems…’ clearly wanting the building in the background.
They looked very ‘hippie’, cool, and somehow understated ‘scruffy’ happily posing for a Canadian photographer. Young rebellious spirits they were; really getting into the groove by yelling a few things out, making some very serious and angry faces and clearly proud of the attention they were receiving.
I’ve overheard the photographer saying that she didn’t quite know how to disable her flash that kept firing automatically. So I offered to help out with some settings on her camera and by default got involved in the shoot itself. Without any hesitation I started taking photos from different angles and really enjoyed the interaction… They were a lot of fun!
I truly believe that our days are purposefully filled with experiences that we were meant to go through and people come into our lives to deliver a message, feeling, thought or idea that will propel us on our journeys towards a more fulfilled life… And what do I think of people of London? They are pretty damn cool… I can’t wait to be back!
Lots of love,
SIDE HUSTLE TO FREEDOM
and find out how I turned my side hustle
into my main business.