Nothing could have prepared me for London.
The tips I had read beforehand online seem ridiculous as I make my way down to the infamous London Tube. I laugh as I remember one tip which suggested to stand at least a couple feet away from other travelers to avoid being pick-pocketed.
Forget about a couple feet.
Forget about personal boundaries.
There are people practically breathing down my neck. I’ve never been so surrounded by so many other people. Growing up in a rural area, I’m used to having a decent amount of space between me and others. Not so in the Tube though.
Honestly, it feels like something out of a zombie apocalypse movie to me. There’s people running frantically all over the place. They’re coming from everywhere and going everywhere. They’re talking rapid fire into phones and throwing briefcases over their shoulders as they dash off. It’s absolute organized chaos.
I manage to get through the turnstiles, but one look at the brightly colored spaghetti like map of the Tube makes my jaw drop to the ground. I realize that it is going to be an absolute miracle if I get to Paddington.
After a couple minutes, I think I’ve figured it out. I hop on the tube with my incredibly large backpack and only slightly smaller roll on suitcase. The tube is packed. There’s about eight people touching me and I’m kind of trying to remember my yoga breathing.
It takes about three minutes before I realize that I want off this train. Someone could offered me a million quid to stay on and I still would have left. There’s a feeling of claustrophobia that is slowly taking hold. The sweat is dripping off me and my backpack straps are chafing my shoulder blades.
I practically fall through the door as the tube stops. I grab my stuff and go up the stairs. (Actually, I went the wrong way initially. My American self is on the wrong side and I received some sour glances. ) With one man’s help lugging my stupid suitcase up the stairs, I finally find myself in London.
I’m completely lost, but I am so happy to be out of the Tube and under the night sky that I’m surprisingly calm.
Stay tuned for my taxi cab trip into Paddington.