For the next two weeks, I will be dedicating a blog post every day towards my promotion of an up-and-coming hospitality and travel website called Tripping.com. This may ring a bell from my previous post about the Around-the-World Contest. Well, unfortunately I was not crowned the winner; however, I would like to thank those who did reference me and let you know that you still helped me out tremendously. Soon after the contest was completed, the CEO contacted me inviting me to try out for their Social Media Board. This is a company and a cause I am very passionate about so for those of you who didn't get a chance to help me out in the contest, you can still make a profile and help me in promoting Tripping and getting a seat on the board! And really, it will benefit you more than anyone in the end.
So every day until May 23rd, I will be posting up facts about Tripping.com in addition to travel quotes and anecdotes from my own travel experiences. One of my biggest regrets is not documenting my trips in writing. But I figure, why not do it now? Luckily, I have always been good at capturing my travels on "film" so I have plenty of photos to help me tell these stories...
quote of the day (from one of my favorite authors): "To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." - Bill Bryson
today's destination: London, England
Almost four years ago, a new friend and I decided to travel together for a couple weeks before our respective study abroad programs. Our first stop was London, a first for both of us. This was also the first time either of us had traveled by ourselves and landing in a foreign country gave us an overpowering sense of freedom and courage. After a nine-hour flight (side note: happened to be the day of the liquid bomb scare at Heathrow airport- luckily we were in the air when all this was going on) and figuring out the "tube" system, we dropped our bags and hit the town.
We cheers-ed at Cheers (a touristy bar in Picadilly Circus) and toasted to a new adventure, one where we could do anything and be anyone. With all the new-found courage (with a push from my shot of tequila no doubt) I decided to be daring and go up to an attractive young chap on the other side of the bar. He turned out to be a lovely Londoner having a boys' night with his brother and friends. We ended up having a few drinks and dancing the night away. Their friend picked us up from the bar and they all decided to give me and Lindsey a tour of their beautiful city. They showed us all the famous spots- Big Ben/ Parliament, the Eye, etc.
In the midst of our tour, we had an encounter with the London police. We were pulled over for having too many people in the backseat. Really? We're gonna get a ticket our first night in a new country? It was really difficult to take these guys seriously- not only were they wearing these ridiculous hats, but they were SO cheerful and friendly. We made friends with them, took photos with them, and were let off with a "warning." So far, London rocks.
We continued to drink and dance the night away at one of our new friends' flats. He had a beautiful view of Ben and we danced on the balcony until the sun came up. Perfect first night of our trip.
Since that night... I traveled around Western Europe for six weeks and had an overnight layover in London on my way home. I had gotten in touch with the brothers and they invited me to stay with them for the ten hours or so until my flight. When arriving at the flat, I was greeted like an old friend. They had friends and family over, bought me a bottle of tequila remembering that's what I was drinking that first night, and we celebrated in our old fashion until I got back on the plane. Full circle.
The following summer, Lindsey and I (now the best of friends from our traveling) found ourselves in Europe again and were going to stop in London for a few days on our way home. We hadn't spoken to our London friends much since we last saw them, but thanks to facebook, we got in touch and they were more than happy to host us for the weekend. Being at the end of our trip and seeing as how expensive this city is, we were more than grateful. And we ended up having the best time not doing anything touristy and just hanging out with our local friends for three days.
This past week, that attractive chap I approached all those years ago happened to be in Los Angeles on a business trip. It was his first time in the states and he asked if I could be his host this time. It was so fun being a tourist with him. I hadn't looked at LA in the eyes of a foreigner before. So not only was I able to return the favor and catch up with an old friend, I was able to enjoy LA in a new way.
This is what Tripping is all about. Making friends and contacts all over the world. Gaining new perspectives. Saving money!
Tripping.com was created in January of this year and already has thousands of members from over 80 countries! Join the party.