Other posts from the On a visit to.. series:
- On a visit to… Katie aka The travelling light, Brisbane (Australia)
- On a visit to… Krystal Lynn, Albuquerque (NM, USA)
- On a visit to… Ali Kamenova LA (California, USA)
I still remember how I found her blog on WordPress a few years ago. Since then I am following her adventures on Instagram and I still truly enjoy this ride. I know that you will be also inspired by this bright soul, so let’s catch up with some local tips and tricks for the British capital. In this interview, we are talking with Emma (smiley, kind, and positive person, real explorer and adventurer!) who will be our local guide to London.
How do you imagine the ideal “om trip”?
My ideal “om trip” would be backpacking through South America. It is so rich in culture and life and natural beauty! It is also home to some significant political and conservational issues – I think it’s important both to learn and to teach while we travel, and where we can affect a positive change (however small), we should. It is also a wonderful place to travel solo as it’s so friendly and is well set up with hostels and tours where you can meet people. When I was there I kept very active outside but also had many quieter moments of peace and reflection.
Is it possible to take an “om trip” to London?
Yes, I think so. London is a very busy city and you can get lost in the crowds and the sheer volume of tourists, but it can also be a very beautiful and calm place if you know where to go. There are so many beautiful parks and galleries for om moments. I view London as a collection of smaller villages. Rather than head straight the main tourist attractions in Zone 1, I would explore a ‘village’ further out, e.g. Clapham or Hampstead Heath.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when we travel to the British capital.
An umbrella (whatever the season), a tube map (a must for navigating the city), a re-useable bottle and/or coffee cup (it’s important when we travel to any city to be responsible with our waste and reduce it where we can, no single-use plastic bottles please!)
How to look like the locals?
The great thing about London is that it is such a mixing pot, and really, ANYTHING goes! There is no ‘London uniform’, although sometimes there is a distinct style that can be associated to particular areas e.g. Kensington and Chelsea (neat and preppy), Camden (alternative, think Doc Martins/leather/tartan/vintage), and the City (suit and tie).
What should we absolutely try when we’re in London?
High tea. This is a traditional British affair and is a really fun thing to get dressed up for and do with friends.
Where would you take us for a cup of coffee?
I live in south London, so I tend to hang out south of the river. My favourite place for coffee (and breakfast) is Milk Café in Balham or The Dairy in Clapham Old Town. Both have a very cool, relaxed, local vibe.
The place you’d like to share with us.
This is a random one, but one of my favourite places in London is the Streatham Ice Rink. I grew up taking ice-skating lessons here. It is right by Streatham train station and is close to the high street, where there are local cafes and restaurants to hang out afterward.
We can’t travel around without stopping by some galleries and museums. Tell us which are your favorites?
I love the Tate Modern, both for the art, and it’s a location. You can have lunch in Borough Market (a 1000-year-old food market next to London Bridge station), wander along the river to the Tate Modern, peruse the gallery and then take a stroll along the Southbank towards Waterloo, which is one of my favourite things to do in London and covers some fabulous architecture (Oxo Tower, London Eye, etc), cool graffiti, views of the River, and often has pop-up markets and fairs along the bank.
Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to London?
Hmm, tough question, I think the Harry Potter books are great to read whilst in London, as they will bring to life the magic of the little alleyways and secret streets and old pubs, etc.
Do you practice yoga? How do you unwind?
I love yoga and meditation, I find it very healing and nourishing especially in London when life and work are so hectic. Exercise and reflection are two really important activities for me to re-balance my mind and feel content in my body.
Where would you take us for a yoga practice in London? Where can we practice yoga outdoors?
I attend a yoga studio in South Norwood, close to my home. London is a very green city with lots of green, open spaces where you can practice yoga to your heart’s content. My favourite parks are St James’ Park, Hyde Park, Clapham Common, and Streatham Common. In the summer many people use the parks for fitness, yoga, sunbathing, chilling with friends, etc.
Do you practice yoga while you travel? Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.
I do practice yoga but sometimes it can be hard to keep up a routine, depending on where I am and who I’m with. I like to stay active on the road by signing up for activities such as hiking, climbing, surfing, sandboarding, horse riding, etc. It depends on the location and what is available but there is always something interesting nearby and the best part is that it will be something that I don’t usually do at home. Trying new things and conquering fears is one of my biggest drivers for travel.
You travel a lot around the world. How do you catch up after every trip?
When I get home from a long trip the first thing I do is reconnect with family and friends. I am always overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude after a long trip. I think it can be easy to take friends and family for granted, but being away for long periods really makes me appreciate the people in my life.
What do you miss the most from London, when you are on the road?
I miss my London life in general. Picnics in the park with friends, going to the cinema, intimate dinners, and catch-ups, cooking in my own kitchen. Sometimes I even miss the routine of work and having a clear structure and objective for each day. I love the freedom and ‘unknown’ nature of travel but sometimes miss the familiarity and routine of London.
Can you describe your life here and now with just one photograph?
Do you have a recipe for happiness? Can you share it with us?
I think the key is that as long as you know who you are and what makes you happy, it doesn’t matter how others see you. When you understand yourself clearly, your sense of inner peace becomes unshakeable and is no longer subject to the influence or validation of others. It took me all of my twenties to understand who I am, what my most fundamentals beliefs and values are, and what makes me happy.
Where should we go after visiting London?
From London, I would jump on a train to Brighton (less than an hour by train from central London). It is my favourite place in the UK and has all the wonderful, sunny vibes of a typical British seaside town. You can explore the lanes, go swimming in the sea, eat doughnuts on the pier, visit the fairground, and have some incredible food for dinner (my favourite restaurant is Plateau).
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Who is Emma?
Entrepreneur, adventurer, thrill-seeker. Designing a life of freedom and exploration. Wild but kind.
P.S. All pictures are kindly provided by Emma.