If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.’ – J.R.R. Tolkien

My skin is crawling with the feel of the city. I’m in London, a city that just a few days ago I would have described as one of my favorites in the world, and I can’t bear it. It’s too loud, too crowded, too full when all I want is green space and open skies and some bloody peace and quiet. The hostel hasn’t helped; it’s obnoxiously noisy and evidently none of my roommates understand basic hostel etiquette. I think I liked Edinburgh better, but it’s too late – I’m stuck here.

I’m used to feeling dissatisfied with places. I want to be elsewhere all the time, which I think is the definition of the metaphor “itchy feet.” But it’s different when you are elsewhere, when you’re on what’s supposed to be a grand, albeit short, adventure and you’re not happy with where you are, or the choice you made to be there. I hate feeling stuck, but I’m having dinner with my dad’s friend tomorrow night and I fly to Estonia early Monday morning, so I don’t have much wiggle room and I hate that. Not to mention, the friends I’d hoped to see here in London haven’t been too keen on nailing down a plan and the Warner Bros studio tour I’ve wanted to do for years is booked until February (sometimes you really shouldn’t wing it).

I’ve prioritized written journaling so far on this trip, but I guess I’m writing here because I need someone to tell me, “I’ve been there.” Why I don’t just reach out to my travel friends, I don’t know; perhaps because it feels a bit less whiny to complain in my own forum rather than to someone else. The last time I felt this way was in Vienna, but at least there I had an entire modern flat to myself and it didn’t get dark at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s hard because my favorite thing to do is wander and end up in a park with a book in my hands, but it’s just too fecking cold for that. I need to get more into coffee culture, but sitting in a cafe isn’t the same as feeling the sun on your face and fresh air in your lungs.


It amazes me, how kind people can be. Today I was so sick. I stayed in bed for 19 hours straight, only getting up to hydrate. A Lithuanian guy arrived late in the afternoon and we chatted a bit before falling asleep. I was going to go to the city center with him tonight but didn’t feel up to it, and instead of being disappointed or just leaving, he went and got me a cup of tea. Then the guy sleeping next to me gave me some decongestant medicine. It’s small but significant acts of kindness like these that overwhelm my heart. The compassion people go out of their way to show is incredible and reminds me that, at their core, most people are really good.

happy list

Christmas sweaters
Disney World
goose down coats
thrift store finds
my sister’s cuddles
the way my dog sleeps all curled up
warm feet
cold fronts
two days till takeoff
my timbs
classical music
fjallraven backpacks
time to read
old sweatshirts
a weekend away
wanting to teach
four weeks since a cigarette
my travel friends
and all the people who help keep me sane.