It’s only when I am somewhere alone that I can really explore it. I can wander the streets, looking up to the top floor of the town houses, wondering who lives there. I can imagine the lives of the man and his son looking at travel books together in Daunt chatting together in French. When I’m alone I can spend 20 minutes deciding on the best wild swimming book.I someone’s had been there they might have got bored on comparing the benefits of books that recommended Kale Pot or Tongue Pot higher.
Sometimes I like to listen to music while wondering around, it puts you in your own world but it also isolates you. Normally I forget my headphones which leaves me free to hear the conversation in Emma Bridgewater about trying to start a singing career on Soundcloud. I can hear the elderly lady with neon pink hair say ‘nice hair girlfriend’ as she walks past me in South Ken. If I was wearing headphones I would have missed the conversations a family was having on the train about how many days it was until their father was 81. He was turning 28 the next day.
I would have still seen the same things with headphones and maybe the music would have given new meaning to the sights. A chauffeur driven Bentley emerging from a garage in Kensington might have seemed ironic if it was paired with country western or glitzy if I had been listening to boyband pop. However, with the normal background fuzz of a quite residential street in a large city if seemed grand and fitting. I always try to spot people who might be famous, a guy who looks like Chris Martin on the tube to Notting Hill or woman in a hat and glasses on Oxford Street who could have definitely have been Taylor Swift. It adds an air of glamour to your wonderings even though you know that the elderly woman getting out of the Range Rover outside the Dorchester was undoubtable the actual most well to do person you saw.
One of the best things about being in London alone is eating. You can eat anything, anywhere, anytime. Sausage baps from Marylebone Farmers Market, cupcakes from Crumbs and Doilies, elaborate ice creams in January (when the air temperature is below freezing they don’t melt as fast).
I would encourage everyone to go somewhere they often go with friends alone. Just wander and see what you find. I’m already planning my wild swimming outings to spots near me which I didn’t know existed all because of going to London alone.