And just like that I’m on holiday in London. I’ll be honest, I am glad to be back in London. It’s somewhere I’ve been many times but somehow this time feels different. Travelling can be stressful at times no matter where you are going, but travelling during a pandemic has added a bit more stress for me. Coming from Edinburgh where the regulations are slightly different, it felt odd coming down here. I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop just down from the British Museum, watching the people in the rain. It seems odd seeing people walking about without face masks on. Despite knowing that the restrictions are slightly different down here, it has still left me feeling a bit anxious about going anywhere, and I could feel a tightness in my chest from all this extra worry. My mind asking questions like "Will I be ok going inside places?" "Will I feel comfortable?". All questions that seem perfectly reasonable to me, but ones that can easily get me worked up. So to help lessen the stress, I have been focussing on my breath. Taking a deep inhale and slowly exhaling, whilst counting to eight.
One thing that I have felt comfortable doing is exploring the city on foot. I have spent a lot of today wandering round the streets of London and simply exploring. I find walking one of the best ways to explore somewhere. I quite happily spend many an hour wandering round Edinburgh, or anywhere new that I may be, and with my nerves on edge with the difference in restrictions, it's an excellent way to see the many sights.
Despite restrictions still being around here in London, a lot of the exciting attractions are still open. Thankfully for me that means time to hit the museums. I love nothing more than spending time slowly meandering my way through a museum. Despite the fact that as a child I would rush through museums to get to the gift shop, but today that was not the case. Spending time surrounded by the relics of ancient civilisations was exactly what my mind needed, and thankfully with the difference in regulations I felt perfectly at ease doing so.
Although the weather hasn't been that great today, I have still enjoyed just wandering around London and just being with my own company. Sometimes being with your own company is exactly what we need, and where better to do this than somewhere that you don’t really know. With COVID-19 restrictions varying around the world, this is the perfect time to explore places on foot. If you are like me and feeling a bit hesitant about travelling whilst we are still in a pandemic, I cannot recommend exploring somewhere by foot more. It is the perfect way to visit somewhere and feel safe at the same time. Although I have been to London many times, there are still many places I haven’t seen. From small side streets to well known places from a different perspective. For me there is no better mode of transport in a city than by foot.
Another thing that was slightly odd to me was the difference in Autumn. Back in Edinburgh, I would be walking around in a thick scarf and jacket, but in London it’s just a jumper. Despite the colours of the leaves being autumnal, it is definitely only jumper weather. This does make things a bit more enjoyable though. Being able to explore the wonders of autumn in a different city, with no jacket on makes all the difference. I have often found myself today drifting off into a trance with the wonders that Autumn brings to London. Walking through Hyde Park, I was surrounded by the soft crunch of the fallen leaves under my feet and the glorious colours of the autumnal natural world.
Usually surrounding myself in nature in Autumn can immediately calm my mind down, however this time felt different. There was still a part of me that was concerned about the difference in restrictions. The restrictions in London are slightly lighter than they are back in Edinburgh, which naturally made me feel slightly on edge. However, I decided to keep focussed and in a calm state. By simply extending your exhale you can immediately feel the impact it can have. So, when you start to travel during the pandemic, fear not. It’s not as bad as you think it will be and your breath will help you to stay calm.